A New Design for BBP Build to Prevent Flooding


In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the Toll Brothers and Starwood developers want to design the hotel and residential building at Pier One a little differently. The New York Post reports they want to raise both buildings up at least three feet to avoid the flood damage seen in the surrounding neighborhood. That means additional steps and ramps up to the lobby, mechanical systems on the roof, and a basement used for parking. The developers are still working on the plan and it has delayed the groundbreaking, previously scheduled for this month. Of course, the Post finds a resident NIMBY who doesn’t want the development coming to Brooklyn Heights in the first place — she tells them, “the lesson of Sandy is it will happen again, and when it happens, it will be really bad for those residents who wind up buying condos there.”
Developers Want to Raise Proposed Brooklyn Bridge Park Complex [NY Post]

23 Comment

  • This is in a flood zone, did we not learn anything from this?

    A hotel and residential building, in a flood zone.????

  • I’m not sure that’s so NIMBY-ish. When we’re about to spend 400 million to buy and tear down houses in the floodplains of this state, I’m not sure this isn’t common sense. I’m okay if Starwood and Toll Brothers want to risk this — they can afford it, but I’d like to see developers and residents who choose to build and live in areas like this to sign a paper saying they will not be eligible for state or federal monies when they get flooded out.

    This Park was built using hundred-year flood numbers. That seems to me to be very a outdated and frankly dumb thing to do when we’re having hundred-year floods every couple of decades (BBP had flood damage from both Irene and Sandy). So now we know better. Your build, your risk.

    Also, they’ll need to reduce a floor to maintain view of bridge from the Promenade as originally planned. Hope they make the adjustment.

  • We should get out of areas where floods are going to happen and designate them as no build zones. The water will come. No such a thing as you build- your risk. That will all be forgotten and people will cry for help and funds. Better to develop in other areas. The Dutch are doing this now large scale, seems like a lot of common sense…
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/17/arts/design/flood-control-in-the-netherlands-now-allows-sea-water-in.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

    • The Dutch are doing it for places that are dozens of feet below sea level. Is this dozens of feet below sea level? (Hint: no.) Rare flooding is only a problem here to the extent it floods basements–where people were stupidly putting electrical equipment, etc., but they know better now. No reason to give up on constructing buildings where the apartments are all well above even Sandy flood levels.

      But, hey, feel free to keep using this as an excuse for knee-jerk opposition to development.

    • The Dutch also built flood resistent houses for centuries, which are of course, all over Brooklyn. You can build for flood resistance.

  • minard

    Listen guys and gals, the buildings are going to be built here so stop whining.
    The interesting thing here is that they will be built with flooding in mind. So they will be raised up a couple of feet and the mechanicals will not be placed in the basement or first floor. Floods per se do not damage large well-built buildings. the problem is that the water fries the electrical wiring and mechanical systems in the basement. It would be very dumb to build a new building here with the mechanicals anywhere near ground level. Parking in the basement is the best use of that space provided that every car is moved out when there is a flood warning. If properly built, the water will slosh in, it will slosh out and apart from cleaning, the building will be good to go.
    Human being are not going to stop building near the waterfront same as they are not going to stop building in earthquake prone areas. The response to flooding is like that of earthquakes: build to withstand it. It can be done very well.

    • I don’t agree. What is dumb, is to build in a flood zone. mother Nature has proven what she can and will do to our shore front.
      Who is to say this cannot happen again next week?

      It makes zero sens to build in a flood zone, let alone any idiot thinking about or buying an apartment in a building that is built in a flood zone.

      have we not learned anything??????

    • Remember the kvetching about parking in the basements in the Fourth Avenue new construction in Park Slope. The developers knew they were building in a flood zone and built wisely. I don’t hear any more kvetching.

      Sandy destroyed 243,000 privately-owned vehicles. That’s 243,000 poorer but wiser owners.

  • Not only will there be floods, the water level is rising besides that. Of course you can built on stilts. Question is, is that reasonable.

  • So we should tell LA to stop building, period? It’s prone to earthquakes after all. Or we should tell the residents of Oklahoma to move out? Lots of tornados. I do agree that some areas are less habitable than others and precautions should be taken to keep the construction in these areas safe. Im not sure why everyone is so concerned about flooding for a condo building. As @Minard said, the danger comes from electrical fires after the basement is flooded. Moving that equipment to the roof and raising the elevation of the lobby will protect all the most valuable assets. If they were building basement level apartments, that would be cause for concern. But they aren’t. They are building a structure which they expect will experience flooding in the future and taking the precautions to make that a relative non event.

  • ok, so the question is, would you buy an apartment there?, I know I wouldn’t. I also would not buy a house in Midland beach in Staten Island.

    anyone that would buy any type of real estate on land that have been proven to be flooded, needs a smack.

    • minard

      so much of the world is a flood zone. Most older cities are situated on bodies of water that are prone to flooding. Saying you can’t build in flood zones is unrealistic. It is like saying deport all undocumented aliens. What is realistic is to build or renovate intelligently in a flood zone. Building professionals and owners are in a steep learning curve right now.

  • This is good news people. I look forward to these buildings going up, and having dinner in a nice restaurant at the top overlooking the Manhattan skyline. There are may things that the developers can do to make the buildings more flood resistent. One of the new towers in Williamsburg on the shore (The Edge?) was built with flooding in mind, and they had zero damage from the storm. it can be done.

  • I love my flood zone. We live on islands and flood plains here in the city- we live near and around water… we should design and build to work with it. If you’d like to get far far away, please go move to Washington heights. No one here will mind.

  • minard

    one of the most important changes must be to include emergency generators in tall apartment buildings like the Red Hook houses. people stuck on high floors, especially the elderly, with no way out and no water because the pumps were out. A generator can at least provide water and emergency lighting in the halls and stairs for a couple of days.

  • I guess they know what they are doing, but will three feet higher be enough? Enough for this past storm, but enough for future ones?

  • Not saying that all our technology cant do it, but why do it, if you already know the area floods terribly.

    Build in a better location…..just leave the open space as greenlands.

    BTW, isnt the area anyway really too small to build a hotel and residential buildings on it anyway? I cant imagine it there, the space to me doesnt look all that much. maybe i am looking in the wrond direction???

  • I don’t care if they build, I just don’t want to bail them out financially when it floods. You can’t get commercial flood insurance, fine, not my problem. Either buy yourself some special, expensive coverage or not.

    This isn’t the same as building in LA. Not until earthquakes are damaging areas in an earthquake zone every other year. I’ve owned in SF before — in house that hadn’t been harmed by an earthquake in 80 years (since it was built) and I had commercial earthquake coverage. I didn’t get it til I jacked up my house and redid the foundation. If Toll can get commercial coverage for a place that will surely flood in this decade, god bless them.

  • If we don’t get control of climate change, we could have a total sea-level rise of … 180 feet, maybe up to 240 feet. That places everywhere in NYC except Grimes Hill on Staten Island, and parts of Washington Heights, under water. Jacques Torres has already seen the light, has moved chocolate manufacturing from their Water Street location.

    If the buildings here are higher, will they impact the view plane restrictions on buildings visible from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade? Or will NYC ride roughshod over those? Restricting views from the Promenade would adversely affect tourism.