For Fifth Ave BID Leader, Parking’s the Whole Point of New South Slope Hotel

The owners of the Grand Prospect Hall want to turn the next door parking lot into a 400-space garage and hotel. Photo: Bess Adler/Brooklyn Paper.
The owners of the Grand Prospect Hall want to turn the next door parking lot into a 400-space garage and hotel. Photo: ##http://brooklynpaper.com/stories/34/3/dtg_grandprospecthotel_2011_1_21_bk.html##Bess Adler/Brooklyn Paper.##

There’s a lot not to like about parking in New York City. It deadens urban space. It drives up the cost of housing and doing business. And it’s a powerful generator of traffic and congestion.

So why does it keep getting built everywhere? A brewing fight over a proposed hotel at the south end of Park Slope helps explain why. Parking is an obvious sweetener to overcome local opposition to new construction.

Michael Halkias, the owner of the Grand Prospect Hall on Prospect Avenue, wants to build a new 11-story hotel next door to his banquet hall, the Brooklyn Paper reported earlier this month. The area, though, is a mid-rise residential district. Under current zoning, Halkias can’t build a hotel and can’t build a structure taller than 50 feet, according to the Department of City Planning. In other words, he needs city approvals twice over to build his hotel.

Halkias’ strategy to win local support? Build a 400-space garage. At a public meeting about the project, he described the garage as a “magnificent cake” for the neighborhood, with the hotel merely “the cherry on top.”

The strategy seems to have won over Irene Lo Re, proprietor of Aunt Suzie’s restaurant and the head of the Fifth Avenue BID, who has a history of supporting additional off-street parking in the belief that it will help businesses in walkable Park Slope. The Brooklyn Paper reports that Lo Re gave the garage glowing remarks at the hotel hearing. “We can’t turn our back on 400 spaces,” she said. Lo Re did not return Streetsblog’s request for comment.

Of course, not all the Grand Prospect Hall’s neighbors see that much parking as a boon to the neighborhood. “This is a neighborhood that has massive overdevelopment, much of which has lots of off-street parking,” said Aaron Brashear of Concerned Citizens of Greenwood Heights. “For every person that has a car in a parking lot, that’s another car on the street.”

Eric McClure of Park Slope Neighbors agreed. “The idea of a 400-car parking garage on Prospect Avenue, entering and exiting on 16th street seems a little crazy,” he said. Park Slope Neighbors just concluded a fight to scale down a similarly sized garage proposed for a new Whole Foods supermarket on Brooklyn’s Third Avenue.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

DOT’s Grand Army Plaza Plan: Bold, Exciting, Crowd-Pleasing

|
At last night’s presentation to a joint meeting of three Brooklyn community boards, DOT assistant commissioner Ryan Russo unveiled what he called "a pretty dramatic and bold, exciting plan" for Grand Army Plaza. The proposal lived up to the billing. Lots of asphalt will be reclaimed for walking and biking. Getting to the central plaza […]

Tell CB 6 and Mayor de Blasio That Bike-Share Belongs on Brooklyn Streets

|
Citibike is really cramping the parking spaces of the Park Slope working classes #bikenyc pic.twitter.com/0VJmE9KFK9 — Michael Pick (@mikepick) September 18, 2016 Last week a bunch of people showed up at a Brooklyn Community Board 6 meeting to complain about Citi Bike, which has recently expanded into Park Slope, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Gowanus, and Red Hook. […]

Two-Way Protected Bike Path Sails Through CB6 Committee

|
Image: NYCDOT Eric McClure of Park Slope Neighbors files this report. Last night, the transportation committee of Brooklyn Community Board 6 unanimously endorsed a plan by the Department of Transportation to calm traffic on Prospect Park West through a major street redesign. The plan features the implementation of New York City’s first on-street, two-way, physically […]

The 2011 NYC Streetsies, Part 1

|
The presentation of the 2011 New York City Streetsies kicks off with highlights from the past year. To catch up on the nominees and winners in the people’s choice categories, have a look at the voting results. Best Moment Streetsblog spent the better part of 2011 covering a half-baked lawsuit. Merit-less though it was, the […]

Making NYC’s Streets Safe for Hydrants & Pay Phones

|
Bollards are hardened steel, concrete or stone posts buried into the pavement of city streets and sidewalks. In Northern European cities you see bollards all over the place. They are used to make sure that if a motor vehicle accidentally jumps up on to a sidewalk, pedestrians are protected. Bollards are a kind of urban […]