City Takes Over Long-Delayed Willoughby Square Park Project, Plans to Finish by 2022

Photo by Susan De Vries

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A major development in the long saga of the long-overdue Willoughby Square Park project: The city is taking over the project and will deliver the park by 2022, Crain’s reported Thursday.

It’s reduced the cost of the project from $80 million to $10 million by dropping the plans for parking underneath the green space, the story said. As planned, the park will still have a memorial commemorating the area’s abolitionist past.

brooklyn downtown willoughby

Rendering via Hargreaves Associates

To build the park, promised to attract development in Downtown Brooklyn as part of a 2004 rezoning, the city took over by eminent domain properties thought to have been stops on the underground railroad and a group of tenement buildings at 402-406 Albee Square, then evicted dozens of rent-regulated families who had lived there for decades.

downtown brooklyn

The site in 2015, with 206 Albee Square still standing. Photo by Cate Corcoran

The revenue from the 700-car automated parking garage was to pay for the park, located directly across the street from the new City Point mall and apartment towers, which replaced the Albee Square Mall. The city tapped private developer American Development Group, which ultimately could not get funding to proceed with the project.

Thanks to the 2004 rezoning, the historic area, once home to churches and small houses, is booming with construction of residential skyscrapers.

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