Around 50 residents gathered outside Community Board 1’s office in Williamsburg Monday night. They had arrived hoping to attend a presentation about a proposed waterfront development—complete with a public beach, massive rental towers, affordable housing and a starchitect designer—on a property in Williamsburg formerly owned by Con Ed.
Unfortunately, they could not get in the doors. Members of the community board who had gone outside once the crowd began amassing said it was a “huge shock” that so many people had shown up. They had not been expecting such a large crowd.
“How is it a shock?” one resident loudly asked. Even though it was just supposed to be an informational meeting for the subcommittee of the community board, she said, “they are going to make recommendations that are important for all of us.”
The project, as we previously reported, is slated to be massive. Bjarke Ingels Group and James Corner Field Operations have been tapped for the development, which, in addition to the beach and rental towers also includes a 47,000-square-foot YMCA with an Olympic-sized swimming pool, 30,000 square feet of retail space and 57,000 square feet of office space.
A combined six acres will be dedicated to publicly accessible space, with three of that designated for aquatic uses, including boating, fishing, tide pool exploration and, potentially, swimming in the future.
As people waited outside, some suggested residents just barge their way in through the doors. One local proposed the presentation be given on the sidewalk, so everybody could hear what the developer, Two Trees, had to say about the project.
In the end, after lots of complaints, a compromise was made. An email list was passed around for people wanting to look at the presentation materials, and the meeting will be rescheduled for next Thursday at a larger venue. Where that will be, the organizers did not know.
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