red hook waterfront Photo: Sunghwan Yoon/Flickr

AECOM, one of New York City’s largest construction and design firms, presented three plans of varying size and scale on Tuesday night to redevelop Brooklyn’s Red Hook waterfront into a new residential neighborhood nearly twice as large as Battery Park City and several times as large as Hudson Yards.

Although only one of the three proposed plans could be selected for development, if given the greenlight, it could be bigger than any other development project currently underway in the city, according to Crain’s. The development project would create as many as 45,000 units of housing along the Red Hook waterfront on underutilized land owned by the Port Authority and the city.

The proposed project would also create a new subway station in Red Hook, connecting it to Lower Manhattan and Park Slope, Brooklyn.

The smallest of the three proposals unveiled Tuesday creates 25 million square feet of development and would have 6,250 affordable housing units. This plan would also generate $50 million in annual tax revenue for the city.

The mid-sized plan creates 35 million square feet of development, 50 acres of park space and could create as many as 8,750 affordable housing units. This plan could generate as much as $90 million annually in tax revenue.

The largest of the three plans — 45 million square feet of development — creates 100 acres of public park space, added street improvements on nearly 6 miles of neighborhood streets, and adds as many as 11,250 affordable housing units to Red Hook. Tax revenue generated by this plan could net the city $130 million annually.

But the project is not without its hurdles, or opposition.

The Red Hook waterfront currently is not easily accessible by public transportation like many of its neighboring areas — the closest subway station is a 30 minute walk away, or requires a transfer to the B61 bus line.

None of AECOM’s three plans generate enough revenue to fully fund the subway extension. Under the 25 million square foot proposal, the subway extension would need to be fully funded by outside sources. The 35 and 45 million square foot proposals would both generate enough revenue to partially fund the extension.

The low-lying coastline, which was severely damaged by Superstorm Sandy, could also provide some difficulties for developers. It is vulnerable to rising sea-levels and flooding from future storms.

Two of the three AECOM plans — the 45 and 35 million square footage plans — include coastal protection along the entire Red Hook waterfront, but the 25 million square feet proposal only includes protection for 2.5 miles of the Red Hook waterfront.

The city was critical of AECOM’s plan to raze the public housing developments currently in Red Hook. AECOM called the developments “dilapidated” and “old” at the unveiling, according to the New York Post.

New York City Hall voiced its concern as to where the displaced public housing residents would live during the construction of a new housing complex.

“While we continue to look at innovative ways to develop more affordable housing and expand public transit to underserved areas, we have real concerns about the plans proposed here,” said Melissa Grace, a spokesperson for Mayor de Blasio, told the New York Post.

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