Brooklyn Marine Terminal to undergo major transformation

From Brooklyn Eagle

The city, the Governor’s Office, the city’s Economic Development Corp. and the Port Authority on Tuesday announced an agreement to revitalize the Brooklyn Marine Terminal, which takes up 122 acres on the Red Hook and Columbia Street Area waterfronts — a revitalization that includes improvements to piers, the port and traffic infrastructure.

Under the agreement, the city will assume control of the entire Marine Terminal (not to be confused with the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal in Sunset Park), which is currently described online as “a facility of the Port Authority of NY and NJ.”

Part of the area in question is taken up by the well-known Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, used by Cunard and Princess cruise ships. NYCEDC already leases the cruise terminal’s land from the Port Authority. Over the years, as part of the city’s lease and operation of the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, NYCEDC has invested more than $162 mil- lion into Piers 11 and 12.

In addition, Mayor Eric Adams on Tuesday announced an initial $80 million investment in the terminal to stabilize repair Piers 7, 8 and 10, as well as an initial investment of up to $15 million to fund a new, modern and elec- trified container crane for operations at the Red Hook Container Terminal.

NYCEDC has already announced its intention of supporting existing tenants — including the recent five-year extension of the aforementioned Container Terminal’s operating agreement. This should be welcome news for supporters of the container port, since in the past, a variety of influential people, including former Gov. Andrew Cuomo, called on the container port to move.

As part of the effort to revitalize the Brooklyn Marine Terminal into what the city calls “the world’s first model for a modern maritime facility optimized for international cargo handling, as well as low-carbon, last-mile freight movement,” Mayor Adams has submitted grant applications for more than $350 million in federal funds from the federal government.

These funds would go toward replacing the defunct Piers 9a and 9b with a new pier for greater capacity to handle international containers and micro-freight, and traffic improvements to improve traffic flow around the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal and in the Red Hook community. Red Hook residents, officials and community leaders often complain about backed-up traffic on narrow local streets whenever a cruise ship comes to town.

Last but not least, Gov. Hochul also announced a $15 million commitment for a future cold storage facility on site. The lack of cold storage in Red Hook has contributed to traffic, pollution, and other quality-of-life concerns. When produce is shipped into the Marine Terminal, it immediately has be transported to locations outside the city that have refrigeration facilities — and when the produce is ready for distribution, it’s transported right back to Brooklyn. This means more miles on trucks and more wear and tear on the streets.

Tuesday’s agreement also allows the Port Authority to drive long-term expansion of Howland Hook Marine Termi- nal, which the PA operates on Staten Island. In the next few weeks, NYCEDC and the Port Authority will execute a lease and related agreements for both terminals.

Brooklyn officials and public figures were quick to praise the agreement.

“After decades of inertia and deterioration at the Brooklyn Marine Terminal, today’s announcement finally offers us a clear path forward to a much-needed and long overdue revitalization of the Brooklyn waterfront,” said U.S. Rep. Dan Goldman (D-Western Brooklyn-Lower Manhattan), who has been named chair of the Brooklyn Marine Terminal Task Force.

State Sen. Andrew Gounardes (D-Western Brooklyn), one of two vice chairs of the task force, said, “Transferring the property to EDC will give us the opportunity to do finally work towards creating a truly 21st century marine terminal. I look forward to working with EDC, the city, the state, and my colleagues in government.”

The other vice chair, Councilmember Alexa Aviles (D-Western Brooklyn) added, “Like all of my neighbors, I’m fully aware of the many missed opportunities we’ve had to build a greener and cleaner future here. After relentless advocacy from the community I represent, state and city officials now seem aligned with what we have all recognized for years.”

“As a neighboring waterfront public space, we are thrilled about the incredible possibilities that transforming the Brooklyn Marine Terminal will create for our borough and our city,” said Eric Landau, president, Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Speaking for the NYCEDC itself, Andrew Kimball, the agency’s president, said, “This deal provides a generational opportunity to work with the community and stakeholders on an extensive visioning process to ensure a transformational master plan that unlocks the full potential of over 100 acres on the Brooklyn waterfront.”

The business community is also on board with the new plan. Randy Peers, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, said, “Throughout its history, New York City has always been an important port city and a maritime powerhouse. Today’s announcement by the Port Authority and NYCEDC builds upon our the importance of maritime uses at the Brooklyn Marine Terminal, and positions this important part of our water- front for strategic growth.”

And closer to home, Michael Stamatis, president and CEO of the Red Hook Container Terminal itself, said:.

“We applaud New York City Mayor Adams and Governor Hochul for making this long-term commitment and investment in the future of the working waterfront, ensuring a stable and resilient supply chain for the millions of people who live, work and visit New York City every day, while also demonstrating to the men and women who sacrificed their own personal safety as essential workers at the Port during the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring our vital supply chain remained open, that their sacrifice did not go unnoticed.”

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