Nearly 10 years after shining as the “crown jewel” in the Downtown Brooklyn Redevelopment Plan, Willoughby Square Park has a clear path to construction. The one-acre park, designed by Hargreaves Associates, will be a passive space offering a moment of calm just half a block from the bustling Fulton Street Mall, but there will be plenty of action beneath the surface, where a robotically controlled parking garage will arrange 700 cars in a very compact space.
The fully-automated, underground parking garage replete with plasma screens, cameras, and lasers will be located under the park and will help defray some of the costs of the its development. Automotion Parking Systems’ space-saving technology also means that the garage can fit more cars than a traditional garage, cutting down on the cost of excavation.
As a result, the Willoughby Operating Company will be able to cover the construction of the park and the garage with $6 million it has raised from city funding, the Economic Development Corporation, and private donors. The company has also promised to cover any additional expenses.
That comes as good news, as the costs of relocating tenants, acquiring land, and funding cuts have hampered the park’s progress over the years. A ceremonial groundbreaking is planned next week on August 1 and the park is scheduled to open in 2016.