DOWNTOWN – The long overdue plans to create a community green space above an automated underground parking garage at Willoughby Square have officially been scrapped by the city.
The NYC Economic Development Corporation (EDC) announced this week that the developer, American Development Group, failed to close on the deal and secure financing for Willoughby Square Park, Brooklyn Paper reported. “Following several years of working in good faith, we are disappointed that the developer did not meet critical closing conditions on the Willoughby Square project,” a spokesperson for EDC, the city agency overseeing the development, said in a statement.
As part of NYC’s 2004 Downtown Brooklyn Redevelopment Plan, Willoughby Square Park was promised to the community when the Downtown neighborhood was rezoned. The city awarded American Development Group the project in 2013. Residents—including some rent-stabilized tenants—of buildings located on the project site bounded by Willoughby Street, Albee Square West, and Duffield Street, were evicted so that their homes could be demolished to make way for the development according to 6sqft.
The garage and public park were planned for the northern edge of Willoughby Square across from City Point. The garage was scaled down from 700 spots to 467 in March 2018, after the developer lacked the funding to proceed with the original plans, according to Brooklyn Paper. American Development Group hoped to close on the deal at the end of January and begin construction soon.
“The entire process has been unacceptable to myself and the greater Downtown community, this is a clear example of how not to do public planning,” said Council Member Stephen Levin, whose District 33 covers Downtown Brooklyn. “I realize it’s complicated because of the underground parking, but it shouldn’t be that complicated to build a park on city-owned land. It’s totally unacceptable, there’s no excuse.”
Levin told Brooklyn Paper since the project will go back to the drawing board, he would like to see the parking facility scaled down even further since it is located in a “public-transit-rich neighborhood.”