Today, at the board of directors meeting of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation, Regina Myer, president of the park, announced that Joshua Rechnitz, founder and Chairman of the New York City Fieldhouse Inc. (Fieldhouse), a not-for-profit corporation, offered to underwrite the design and construction costs of a year-round, multi-use recreation facility near Pier 5. The facility is estimated to cost $40 million and represents one of the largest donations ever made to a New York City park.
Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Brooklyn Bridge Park Chairman Robert K. Steel said “This generous offer represents an exciting and dynamic opportunity for Brooklyn Bridge Park and for all of the New Yorkers who have quickly come to love this community resource.”
“Brooklyn Bridge Park is rapidly taking shape as one of the great new parks of New York City,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe. “This new field house will complement the romantic landscape and stunning vistas of the city’s harbor and skyline with striking new facility for indoor sports and fitness, including track cycling and court sports, thanks to a remarkable private gift.”
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz said “A year-round recreational facility would benefit not only our spectacular Brooklyn Bridge Park, but all of Brooklyn. This is a very generous offer from New York City Fieldhouse Inc. and Joshua Rechnitz, and I look forward to reviewing the proposal and hearing input from the Brooklyn Bridge Park Community Advisory Council, Community Boards 2 and 6, the general public and other stakeholders as the process moves forward.”
“This is a very exciting project and presenting our vision to the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation is an important milestone,” said New York City Fieldhouse founder and chairman, Joshua Rechnitz. “We want this to truly be a community endeavor that will add amenities for park users and provide a much needed all-weather sports facility.”
Regina Myer said “I am thrilled at the magnitude and generosity of this gift, which could invigorate the park in the winter months and provide much needed active recreation space for youth all over the borough on a year round basis. I look forward to working with community and recreation stakeholders to examine this proposal in full and evaluate how it can enhance Brooklyn Bridge Park’s legacy as an extraordinary civic destination.”
The proposed facility would be located primarily on Furman Street on a site now partially occupied by a cinderblock building used for storage and construction by BBPC and currently programmed for future operations and maintenance needs. The state-of-the-art indoor recreation, cycling, and community facility will be open for public use.
The Fieldhouse is envisioned to include a 115,000 sq. ft. indoor recreation center with a 200-meter inclined track for cycling and a 22,000 sq. ft. infield for high school, collegiate, club-level and professional sporting events, such as basketball, tennis, track cycling, volleyball, and gymnastics. It also includes key amenities for the park such as a public boathouse, public restrooms, and maintenance and operations space for BBPC.
NYC Fieldhouse, Inc. has selected Thomas Phifer and Partners to design the Fieldhouse. This established and highly regarded New York City-based firm has a portfolio of work that includes civic institutions, museums, academic campuses, private residences and corporate offices. Their work is distinguished by its clean lines, rich textures and responsiveness to site conditions. Thomas Phifer, the founding principal, has received the AIA NY’s 2004 Medal of Honor and is a member of the National Academy of Design, among other honors.
The proposal will undergo extensive community consultation by staff and representatives of the not-for-profit starting with a briefing to the Brooklyn Bridge Park Community Advisory Council. Additionally, the proposal will be presented to neighborhood, educational, and athletic organizations for their input, as well as upcoming meetings of Brooklyn Community Boards 2 and 6.
Four public meetings in Cobble Hill/Carroll Gardens, Sunset Park, Brooklyn Heights/Dumbo, and Red Hook, will be scheduled in order to further gather feedback and better assess community programming needs. Once concluded, the Fieldhouse will refine its proposal and the Board of the BBPC will determine whether to accept the offer and commence requisite land use and environmental reviews that will include public comment periods.