$48M First Phase of Brooklyn Bridge Park Project Breaks Ground

Reusing and revitalizing Brooklyn’s deteriorated East River waterfront began with a groundbreaking in February on the piers area and now a $48 million contract was awarded to Skanska for Phase I of the Brooklyn Bridge Park project in New York City. The Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corp. is overseeing the approximately 85-acre project, which consists of piers, upland and water area, stretching along 1.3 miles of Brooklyn waterfront.The purpose of this project is to allow reuse of the East River waterfront for public benefit, and to once again make the waterfront an asset for the city and the region. The BBPDC cited the need for the project for increased public access to the waterfront and for greater availability of publicly accessible recreational open space for residents, visitors and workers in Brooklyn. The first phase of park construction will include about 1,300 feet of promenade along theEast River and 2.5 acres of lawn with views of the New York Harbor and the Brooklyn Bridge (pictured), according to city information. Also included on the site will be the creation of the first portion of the Brooklyn Greenway, which will ultimately link to a future borough-wide bikeway network. Pier 1 will include lush planted areas with approximately 700 new trees, water gardens and a playground at the northwestern edge of the pier.Skanska has begun preliminary work at the site. The construction of Brooklyn Bridge Park’s phase 1, which includes Pier 1 and the park entrance at Old Fulton Street, is designed by the landscape architecture firm Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates.The landscape design of Pier 1 incorporates a number of sustainable initiatives, such as underground water storage tanks for irrigation to capture water from the water gardens and park buildings, as well as a series of “river steps” overlooking the harbor. These steps will be constructed from salvaged granite sourced from the Roosevelt Island Bridge. Once completed, Pier 1 will add 9.5 new acres of park to the already existing Empire Fulton Ferry State Park and the Main Street City Park, and is expected to be open to the public by the end of 2009.The BBPDC broke ground on the piers area of Brooklyn Bridge Park on Feb. 13 with 12 acres of the park, between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges, currently open. The last time a major park was built in the borough was in the 1860s when Prospect Park was made.Brooklyn Bridge Park Development is a subsidiary of Empire State Development, which is New York’s chief economic development agency, encompassing business, workforce and community development projects. Skanska is one of the world’s leading project development and construction groups with expertise in construction, development of commercial and residential projects and public-private partnerships. The group currently has 60,000 employees in selected home markets in Europe, in the US and Latin America. Headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, and listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange, Skanska’s sales in 2007 totaled SEK 139 billion.