The Real Deal New York

Brooklyn Heights tenants say Pinnacle Group project would destabilize the BQE

May 06, 2017 04:00PM

Riverside Houses and the BQE

Riverside Houses and the BQE

Joel Wiener’s Pinnacle Group has met community resistance in Brooklyn Heights, where he hopes to build a 97-car subterranean garage beneath a courtyard beneath the Brooklyn Queens Expressway.

But tenants of the Riverside Houses, five red-brick, rent-stabilized apartment buildings owned by Pinnacle, say that the massive dig would destabilize their buildings and the structural integrity of the BQE, according to Gothamist.

For years, Wiener has fought for the garage as way to increase the value of His Property On Joralemon Street and Columbia Place. He hopes that the construction will be able to lift the rent freeze on 60 of the 155 apartments. To fight the construction, tenants have enlisted a nonprofit environmental justice group.

“The BQE could shift,” said Bill Kallman, a retired structural engineer for the state Department of Transportation. “If it shifts a little tiny bit, it’s enough to cause failure of the piling and support for the retaining wall, and you lose the highway. It would be less dramatic than crashing down, but it would be inexorable movement. And it would require a good deal of effort and some luck to stop it.”

That triple cantilevered section of the BQE has surpassed its intended 50-year lifespan by more than 10 years. It has been marked as a priority for extensive multi-billion renovations beginning in 2021.

“I’ve been against this project since I first heard about it,” Councilman Steve Levin, who repreents Brooklyn Heights, told Gothamist recently. “The whole thing makes me uneasy.” [Gothamist]Christopher Cameron