Brooklyn Bridge Park board rankles unions with choice
by Andrew Pavia
Aug 07, 2013 | 1891 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Members of Build Up NYC demand that union workers be hired for a project on John Street.
Members of Build Up NYC demand that union workers be hired for a project on John Street.
The Brooklyn Bridge Park board of trustees.
The Brooklyn Bridge Park board of trustees.
The Brooklyn Bridge Park Board of Directors met last week to select a developer for a new 47-unit apartment complex on John Street in DUMBO.

The board chose a joint partnership between Alloy Development and Monadnock Development to design and construct the project, which will include a 13,000-square-foot lawn, pedestrian bridge and ground-floor retail to be occupied by the Brooklyn Children's Museum.

Construction on the project is expected to begin in 2014, and be completed by winter of 2015.

Before the decision, Build Up NYC, a group consisting of various labor unions, rallied in front of Borough Hall demanding the contract be awarded to a developer who will use union labor.

“The Brooklyn Bridge Park Board has once again taken the low road,” read a statement from Build Up NYC. “They did not include in the requirements of the John Street Development that the construction, operations and maintenance workers receive the same wages, benefits or safety training that more than 150,000 other construction operations and maintenance works get who work in New York City.”

While the Alloy/Monadnock team did not specifically state whether union labor would be used on the job, Councilman Stephen Levin, who sits on the board, voted against the plan.

“My disappointment is that we did not act proactively to address this issue on the front end,” Levin said.

Of the 11 proposals, only one specifically stated that union workers would be used. The proposal put forth by Alloy and Monadnock was $9 million cheaper than that proposal.

“We were faced with a more economically challenged site,” said Seth Pinsky, board member and president of the city's Economic Development Corporation. “If there were no price difference it would be clearly in our interest to be able to move this project forward with the partnership of union labor. I personally think that we have a fiduciary obligation.”

In an interesting twist, the board was forced to purchase the 3.4-acre piece of property for $9.2 million, despite a Con Ed promise to donate the land to the park in 2001, when the property was not so valuable.

“Con Ed was donating this land free and clear to Brooklyn Bridge Park,” said board member and State Senator Martin Connor. “I don’t care how many years goes by, they are reneging on a commitment that they bragged about in their own publications.

Connor said that price tag was taken into consideration when choosing the cheaper proposal.

“Nine million dollars is a magic number for a lot of reasons now,” he said.

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