An ambitious plan to build a $50 million velodrome in Brooklyn Bridge Park has been scrapped due to budget problems. Philanthropist Joshua Rechnitz had committed funds for the project to be built inside the footprint of an old one-story industrial building sitting within the park boundaries but, despite scaling the project back, site requirements like an aesthetic roof and the risk of flooding at its waterfront site made the proposed building too expensive.
Site of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Fieldhouse. (Courtesy Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation)
Original plans called for a 650-foot-long inclined bike-racing track with nearly 2,500 fixed seats inside a 115,000-square-foot LEED certified structure, which could could be reconfigured to also accommodate basketball, tennis, volleyball, and gymnastics. The roof, visible from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade atop the BQE expressway, was to be a focal point of the building’s design. Thomas Phifer and Partners had been tapped to design the velodrome but no design has been released.
Greg Brooks, executive director of the nonprofit NYC Fieldhouse overseeing the project told the New York Times that the project will move forward at another site. “We’re very excited and eager to find a new home for this recreation center and velodrome. The funding remains intact,” he explained to the Times. Other previously-considered sites in New York and New Jersey will be looked at again.
Brooks told the Times that the group reduced the size of the project to 95,000 square feet and only 500 seats, and elevated the building two feet to avoid flooding, but in the end the numbers wouldn’t work. Some in the surrounding Brooklyn Heights neighborhood had opposed the project citing concerns over parking and the size of the new building. Park officials said they will return to their original plans to use the building as a maintenance warehouse.