A lot of development is in process in the Dumbo area – many feel it’s much too much too fast. Below is a summary by our ghost writer Michael T. of what was discussed at last nights community meeting organized by the DUMBO BID:
– Work on the new St. Ann’s theater has begun and is scheduled to be completed by 2015
– John St Parcell – the goal is for the plans for the new John St. parcel of the park to be finalized by the end of the year and for the work to be complete by the summer of 2015.  The work on the park will start and finish much sooner than the building itself.  There are plans for a tidal slip as well as an expansive green lawn
– Reconstruction of Main St. Park – as previously announced there will will be a new dog run as well as a new entrance on Plymouth.
– Empire Stores – The architect of the project gave an extended presentation on exactly what Midtown Equities – the developer of the project – was going to build.  There is going to be a marketplace feature as well as commercial space aimed at start ups as well as a green roof and a public space on the roof.  There will also be an event space on the roof that depending on various factors seems like it will add at least 16 feet to the height of the building and even more for certain areas required by building codes.
Most of the question and answer session focused on the Empire Stores.  There is a great deal of fear about the loss of views from neighboring buildings as well as the noise and traffic congestion that is expected.  For example truck and garbage loading and unloading is a major concern as well given that there will be approx. 385 thousand square feet space for lease.  Also mentioned is the concern that DUMBO will end up like the South Street Seaport which started out well but then gradually deteriorated significantly as over time it attracted a rowdier and rowdier audience.
The feeling is that no matter how much the developer and architect say they are going to preserve the historical integrity and look and feel of the building, the mere fact of adding a 16 foot event space makes it clear that there is a chance the underlying character and specialness of DUMBO will be irrevocably lost given the combination of the Dock St building, Empire Stores, Toll Brothers Pierhouse, and John Street building all coming at the same time.