Toll Brothers’ Pierhouse Condo Development in Brooklyn Bridge Park Too Successful?


Sales of Tolls Brothers’ ultra-luxury Pierhouse condos in Brooklyn Bridge Park have been insanely successful, so much so that the developer has raised prices six times since the February launch. They’re now going for an average of $1,800 a square foot, reported the Wall Street Journal. Needless to say, those are record-breaking per-square-foot prices in Brooklyn.

They’ve also been selling very quickly. More than 40 of 108 units are in contract.

This has given opponents of housing in the park, somewhat counterintuitively, grist for claiming further development should be halted. They say the success of the condos shows the park land was undervalued. State Senator Daniel Squadron is one of those calling for an end to housing in the park.

One of the units will set a record for a condo price in Brooklyn if the sale goes through. “Over the weekend, a buyer signed a contract to pay $11,180,000 for a four-bedroom penthouse with more than 5,000 square feet of space, plus a 3,400-square-foot garden and patio,” said the story.

Meanwhile, Mayor de Blasio has no plans to halt development of two more residential towers in the park, said the story. There was no mention of whether the mayor might require affordable housing in the new developments.

The Pierhouse condos are bringing in more revenue for the park than was expected. Do you think the last two buildings should go up, or should the park call it quits?

Brooklyn Park Condos Sizzle [WSJ]
Rendering by Marvel Architects

30 Comment

  • The buildings should not be built for a range of reasons. For history, it is worth reading “The Accidental Playground” (link below) by former City Planner Dan Campo. The waterfront is a treasure and should be kept at least moderately undeveloped in areas rather than crammed with skyscrapers. The city transcends all of us. Think of the wisdom displayed by carving out Central Park. Had de Blasio been mayor then, he would have put housing INSIDE the park. That approach is neither enlightened for the long run nor wise. We should keep as much open and green space in the park as possible. In addition, this park is one of the few parks for South Brooklyn folks — why effectively block off the main entrance with skyscrapers?

    • I agree that we need to preserve access to the waterfront. That is exactly what Brooklyn Bridge Park accomplished. It is an amazing park that took disused industrial land and made it into a public amenity. Developing a small amount of property around the periphery of the park is a great way to generate the funds necessary to maintain the park for everyone.
      You might not realize it, but Central Park is surrounded on all four sides by high-rise buildings. And many of the residents of these buildings are very wealthy and support the private maintenance of the park. I think most people would agree that this does not diminish their enjoyment of the park one bit.

  • Please clarify in your write up — the two remaining buildings are the Pier 6 development, yes?
    And while the Toll Brothers lux condos are going to be 10 and 5 stories, the proposed Pier 6 development, will be 30 stories, yes? why is the southern part of the park, getting a different treatment than the northern part? is there a fairness issue here?

  • Given what climate change has in store for NYC, building more housing near the waterfront seems like a bad idea.

  • This is just more nonsense by the NIMBY folks. The land was sold at the valuation at the time (2012) – The fact that we are in a ridiculously inflated bubble right now cannot be used to judge prices 2 years ago.

    As for the placement of the buildings in/near park. Its a very easy calculation. No housing no park.

    • easy calculation? “no housing no park”?

      What about Prospect Park? how did the Park Slopers get a beautiful park without skyscrapers inside it?

      That’s absurd. Nothing in the public space by definition is an easy “calculation” — not everything is quantitative. Somethings are “qualitative” like “quality of life.”

      Sorry, I get excited about these things!
      Much love, everyone

      • Wow – what a relevant example – Prospect Park, built 150 yrs ago, a year after slavery was abolished, when Brooklyn was an independent city, when the city provided virtually zero social welfare, when labor had no protection, when public exclusion based on race and class was the norm. Yes brilliant example. Oh and BTW Prospect Parks maintenance is over 50% covered by PRIVATE monies.

        Back in the real world, where labor is protected and expensive, where the land alone is now worth billions, where the city provides an enormous social safety net which takes huge parts of the budget , where every last inch of a park must be evaluated and designed for environmental and safety/litigation concerns, where the upkeep of the facility must be planned ahead of time – the City or State was not going to build any park here unless it could be self-sustaining.

        So yes – no apartments, no park.

  • Like Save Pier 6 if you don’t want private towers in public parks.

  • affordable housing in this location? Um……no. If housing gets built here make it as expensive as possible and charge common fees up the wazooo to pay for park maintenance. If housing gets built – let the rich live here and pay for the privilege.

  • how transparent are Brooklyn Bridge Park’s finances? Does anybody know how well funded the park actually is?

  • No Housing, No Park! What a true statement. And for those who don’t see this as the obvious, where do you believe the money to maintain the park will come from? In fact, its a genius plan. Maintenance and upkeep will be key over time.The wind and proximity to water will play havoc as time goes by. If there isn’t plenty of $ available, the park will deteriorate..then what?

    The 2 discussed buildings near Pier 6 should absolutely be built, and quickly.

  • No Housing, No Park! What a true statement. And for those who don’t see this as the obvious, where do you believe the money to maintain the park will come from? In fact, its a genius plan. Maintenance and upkeep will be key over time.The wind and proximity to water will play havoc as time goes by. If there isn’t plenty of $ available, the park will deteriorate..then what?

    The 2 discussed buildings near Pier 6 should absolutely be built, and quickly.

  • I remember looking down at the piers years ago. It was desolate and a complete waste of space. I think that any type of development along this stretch of water front is a huge plus. Took my kids to the soccer fields the other day it really is a great idea. that stretch is staring to remind me of the West side highway to be honest. whatever it takes to keep it looking good and maintaing should be done.

  • Obvious financial benefits aside, you also need housing on the park from an urban planning standpoint to make it a safe and active park space. Would you walk down Furman St. well after dark, in the shadow of the BQE and along abandoned docks, before the park was built? Would you feel more comfortable there at night with the park in place, along with condos and retail? Of course! Cities are mixed use and rely on these different uses to stay active, vibrant and safe. Build! Build! Build!

  • Architrance is an architect – so of course he / she wants to build. And great architecture would be a huge plus. However, it should be contextual. Haven’t we learned from the horrors of urban redevelopment? A 31 story tower would be way out of context when the next highest buildings are 15% of that height. It would be a scar that would not heal. If there is to be development, which is likely not needed financially for the park given the mammoth sales at Pierhouse, it must be contextual. Additionally, the tower would block morning sunlight from the park and cast a shadow at sunset. Generations from now, if these towers get built, we will wonder who made the poor decision to remove more greenspace from our ever expanding city, especially if the building is a mega tower crouching over a postage stamp of green space. Activists of all types — environmental, civic, and historical should protest — unless they like de Blasio and architrance, are in the pockets of the moneyed developers.

    • As an architect & urban designer I totally agree with you that those buildings would be out of context. If the mayor had gone with the winning proposal for the LICH – the one that actually kept a hospital on site, along with high density residential – there would be even more towers down there.

      But is out of context the worst thing here? This is significantly separated from BK Heights by the BQE and the awful intersection at Atlantic. The worst thing it does is block a little sunset from a small portion of Brooklyn Heights. The park is huge enough that I don’t think it will have a tremendous shade impact. At 30 stories, it would be roughly twice the height of ONE BBP. And it’s not taking away park land because park land doesn’t exist there now.

      I’m generally a proponent of low scale development in Brooklyn, but sometimes tall buildings make sense -ie, urban waterfronts. In the end, I think I would rather have a perpetually well funded park with a few tall buildings. Unless BBP decides they can generate sufficient funding without the high scale development. All cities need the right mix of uses to remain vital places to live and I think the park level does need housing down there, be it tall or something more contextual.