Time for Developers to Contribute to the City’s Infrastructure Needs
"It's just simply too big. Too big, too high, too many people."
This is how the New York Daily News summed up the opposition of City Councilman Steve Levin to the New Domino development on the Brooklyn waterfront. The development is indeed big: 2,200 apartments and an estimated 6,700 residents by 2020.
But our city officials shouldn't oppose projects based solely on their size. Last week, I argued that the failing of Atlantic Yards was in its design, not in its size. The New Domino development, on the other hand, does incorporate good urban design, except for the vast amount of parking that the developer intends on building.
The problem with the New Domino development is that city officials--specifically the Bloomberg Administration, who approved the massive rezoning of the Brooklyn waterfront--have failed to plan for an influx of new residents and failed to come up with a plan to build more infrastructure to support those residents. Levin explains the impact that the development will have on the area's transit infrastructure:
"How does everyone get to work?" he said, noting the nearest train stop is the Bedford Ave. L and "that train is over capacity during morning rush hour as it is."
As New York City emerges from this recession, and construction cranes once again begin to fill the sky, city officials must find a way for developers to contribute to financing new infrastructure. Some cities use development fees to fund transit improvements. Perhaps New York City should consider some way of capturing the value of new development to pay for needed infrastructure.
Developers will obviously be against this idea. But once enough developments like the New Domino are stopped because of their impact on a neighborhood's infrastructure, developers may find that they really have no choice but to contribute. Otherwise, they will have no opportunity to profit from New York's valuable real estate.