In January 2018, Mayor de Blasio announced a 10-year plan to close the Rikers Island Jail Complex and transfer its reduced jail population to new jails close to courthouses within the boroughs and nearer to the detainees’ families and attorneys. The plan followed upon the well-respected findings of the Independent Commission on Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform, known as the Lippman Commission, whose 2017 report, “A More Just New York City,” condemned the conditions under which New Yorkers are held at Rikers Island. It advocated for reducing the city’s jail population through criminal justice reforms and creating safer and more humane jails, recognizing as well that 80% of those held in city jails have yet to be convicted of a crime.

The new Brooklyn jail would replace the existing Brooklyn Detention Center (275 Atlantic Avenue) at the juncture of Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill and Brooklyn Heights. Built in 1957, the BDC has a capacity for 800 detainees and is outmoded by modern prison standards.

Following the Mayor’s January announcement, Brooklyn’s local stakeholders, among which are the Brooklyn Heights Association, the Boerum Hill Association, the Cobble Hill Association, and the Atlantic Avenue Betterment Association, fully expected the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice (MOCJ) to meet with the local communities and constructively engage with them in planning the new system. In March, the stakeholder coalition sponsored a Town Hall Meeting at which elected officials and representatives of the Lippman Commission addressed the Commission’s report. No City officials came to the meeting.

It was not until August 9th that MOCJ officials invited the local stakeholders to a stakeholder presentation, only for us to hear that the City was releasing on August 15th the Draft Scope of Work for a borough-based jail system to initiate the plan’s mandated environmental impact assessment. Given the short notice, it meant there would be no opportunity for the affected communities to help shape the plan to create four new jails, one in each borough except Staten Island, and each housing up to 1,510 detainees.

The Concerned Neighbors of the Brooklyn Detention Center, the name under which the coalition operates, objects to the utter lack of community engagement in the formulation of the plan. Furthermore, we have deep concerns about the gargantuan scale of the new jail, which at 1.4 million gross square foot on a 60,000 SF site, is the equivalent of a Floor Area Ratio of at least 20. This makes it larger than the 18 FAR proposed for the 80 Flatbush Avenue Project that has been the subject of intense community opposition in recent months.

The enormous size of the facility reflects not only a doubling of jail capacity at the site, but the space needed for a large number of civilian employees to provide medical and mental health services, education and re-entry counseling programs, and other supportive services, as well as reception areas for families, attorneys and other visitors.

It is important to emphasize that the coalition is fully supportive of the need to close Rikers Island and to have safer, state-of-the-art jails, with supportive services. We accept placing a new jail at 275 Atlantic Avenue. However, the proposed jail is simply too large for the site, and will impose considerable adverse impacts on the local communities with respect to traffic congestion, parking issues, shadows, and air pollution, among others. The plan is also silent with regard to the need for a training facility for correction officers to ensure that the culture of brutality within the jail system is also reformed, and that the problems that beset Rikers Island are not transferred to the new jails.

More importantly, we have a fundamental objection to being ignored by the planning process. As the position statement we have crafted indicates, we call for a halt to the planning process to afford communities in each of the boroughs the opportunity to engage in a meaningful way in the planning process and for the de Blasio Administration to respond to their concerns in good faith. We specifically call upon the City to consider having two new jails in each of the four boroughs, reducing the size of the current planned jail, and having one new jail on Staten Island.

 

Update

Fortis announced in November 2016 that it would build as-of-right (AOR) rather than the much larger ULURP Plan that would have included affordable housing and other community facilities. Their decision was due to the extensive opposition by the Cobble Hill community and elected officials to the overwhelming scale and density of the ULURP Plan. Since the AOR Plan complies with existing zoning, no land use approvals are needed to proceed with its development, nor is there an opportunity for community input.

Since renamed River Park, the megaproject will consist of a renovated Polhemus Building, eight new townhouses on Amity Street, and five new residential towers. The townhouses and the Polhemus Condominiums will be completed in late 2018. Demolition on all parcels slated for new buildings is substantially complete as of Spring 2018. The second phase of development will entail three condominium towers: 1 River Park at 350 Hicks Street will be 15 stories; 2 River Park at 95 Pacific Street will be 36 stories; and 5 River Park will 15 stories. The final development phase will involve the construction of 3 and 4 River Park.

As part of the former Long Island College Hospital (LICH) site, NYU Langone Medical Center will construct an ambulatory care center at Atlantic Avenue and Hicks Street that will occupy about 160,000 square feet. It will be served by a 400-person staff, including more than 70 doctors, and have surgical suites for outpatient procedures.

About This Issue

LICH served residents of downtown Brooklyn neighborhoods for over 150 years. The State University of New York (SUNY) Downstate Medical Center operated LICH after buying it from Continuum Health Partners on May 27, 2011. Citing ongoing operating deficits, SUNY closed LICH on May 22, 2014, despite intensive local opposition and lengthy litigation.

Following a contentious bidding process, SUNY then sold the 4.8-acre LICH site for $240 million to the Fortis Property Group. Fortis selected NYU Langone to operate a medical center and freestanding emergency facility, but not a full-service hospital, and proposed a massive redevelopment of the remaining LICH site.

In seeking bids for the LICH site, SUNY and the State of New York set no restrictions on the scale of its redevelopment. By ignoring the 50-foot height limitation of the adjacent Brooklyn Heights’ and Cobble Hills’ historic districts, the State sought to maximize revenue from the sale at the expense of the communities. In May 2015, Fortis shocked neighborhood residents when it released two alternate development schemes: an As-of-Right Plan (AOR) and ULURP Plan.

“As-of-Right” Plan Does NOT Require Approval

As-of-Right Plan (AOR)

The AOR plan would not be subject to the City’s approval process since it complies with existing zoning requirements. Within its 896,490 total square feet (SF), there would be 528,935 SF of market-rate housing, a 262,555 SF community facility, for which Fortis proposed a college dormitory, and a 105,000 SF NYU Medical Center. At the time the AOR Plan was first announced, it would consist of four towers of 35, 28, 16 and 14 floors being built alongside 4-story rowhouses. The AOR plan would have no affordable housing.

ULURP Plan Significantly Larger

2.1.3_FORTIS_LICH_ULURP

ULURP Plan

In exchange for a mix of “community benefits,” Fortis’ ULURP Plan, so-called because it would require City approval through the Uniform Land Use Review Process, would be significantly larger at 1.28 million SF. In addition to about 900 market-rate housing units in 900,000 SF, it would also include 225,000 SF of affordable housing, a 40,000 SF public school, and 10,000 SF of retail, as well as the NYU Medical Center.

The ULURP Plan would include 120-180 units of senior housing above the school, and convert the popular “tot lot” on Hicks Street into a public school playground. The ULURP Plan would be subject to a 6-month public review with final approval by the City Council.

Broad Opposition by Elected Officials and Coalition of Community Group

Fortis claimed that the ULURP Plan would be more sensitive to Cobble Hill because the bulk of the development is located in the northwest corner of Cobble Hill, away from the heart of its historic district, closer to Brooklyn Heights. However, Fortis was unwilling to engage in meaningful discussion with the community and its elected officials to devise a smaller ULURP plan that might gain local support. For that reason, Councilman Brad Lander, then Senator Daniel Squadron, and Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon publicly announced their opposition to the Fortis ULURP Plan at the Cobble Hill Association’s (CHA) November 18, 2015 Annual Meeting. Their positions reflected input from 20 block association meetings sponsored by CHA, Lander’s online survey, and public meetings. In December 2015, the community presented the Mayor’s Office with 2,400 signatures on a petition opposing the ULURP Plan.

NYU Langone Ambulatory Care

NYU Langone’s medical facility will have its main entrance on Atlantic Avenue with an ambulance entrance off Hicks Street. In its 160,000 SF building, outpatients can access such services as multispecialty ambulatory surgery, a cancer center, a diagnostic imaging center, a laboratory, clinical pharmacy, and physicians’ offices. The freestanding emergency department will have 10 patient bays, 12 private flex-patient spaces and two inpatient beds. Patients requiring more advanced care will be transported to the NYU Medical Center in Manhattan or to NYU Lutheran Medical Center in Sunset Park.

Learn More

The BHA and the Cobble Hill Association jointly submitted this letter to NYU articulating our concerns regarding traffic, parking and accessibility issues arising from the Medical Center, and seeking to be more directly involved in the planning study being performed by NYU’s traffic consultant, Sam Schwartz, the former NYC Commissioner of Transportation. NYU’s response can be found here.

For more detail on the Fortis/LICH project, view the developer’s website here.

Update

2.1.2_PIER_6_AERIAL-FINAL-03

In June 2016, the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation (the “Park Corporation”) announced that it would proceed with the two planned Pier 6 towers even though the Empire State Development Corporation had declined to approve the requested modification to the General Project Plan. As a consequence, the BHA filed an Article 78 Petition with the New York State Supreme Court in July that: 1) seeks to enforce the commitment in the Park’s governing General Project Plan to limit housing on Pier 6 to only that necessary to support the Park, 2) calls for a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement in light of the significant changes in our community since 2006, and 3) challenges several of the procedures followed in the development of the Pier 6 project. A court hearing has been scheduled for March 6, 2017. The BHA is represented by Jenner & Block acting as pro bono counsel.

About This Issue

The BHA continues to work with neighborhood groups, primarily People for Green Space Foundation (PFGSF) and the Brooklyn Bridge Park Defense Fund, to ensure that the Park Corporation lives up to the commitments it made in 2005-2006 to build only that amount of housing in the park which is required to maintain the park.  We take this commitment very seriously. We were among the groups that acquiesced to the reality that the Park had to be self-supporting and that some level of revenue-generating development on Pier 6 might become necessary. But our agreement was predicated on a firm commitment, memorialized in the Final Environmental Impact Statement and the General Project Plan, that housing on Pier 6 would be built only if it was demonstrated unequivocally that it was financially necessary to support the maintenance and operations of the park.  We firmly believed then, and continue to believe today, that the piers we and others worked so hard to save from development should be parkland for Brooklyn.

A Rush to Build, A Lack of Transparency

As the Park Corporation prepared to move forward with the original plan to build two huge towers on Pier 6, one 15 stories and the other 30 stories, members of our community began to question whether that development was necessary. In particular, this question arose from the huge increase that has occurred in real estate values in this area in the past ten years that would necessarily mean that the already existing commercial projects in the Park, One Brooklyn Bridge, Pierhouse, John Street and Empire Stores, would generate far more revenue for the Park than was anticipated in 2005-6. Since the financial structure of the Park permits it to receive all property tax payments from development within its boundaries (known as payments in lieu of taxes, or PILOTS), the more valuable the property taxed, the more revenue the Park receives. The BHA, PFGSF, our local elected officials and the Park’s Community Advisory Council all asked the management of the Park for its financial model with its underlying data so that we could independently assess what revenue, if any, it would need from Pier 6.  The BHA even filed a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request for that information.  The BBPC staff refused to provide the model and data that underlies their position that Pier 6 housing is necessary to support the Park until the BHA filed its Article 78 petition in July 2016.

A Surprise Rise in Near-Term Expenses

As the community began to question some of the Park’s financial revenue assumptions, the Park Corporation also announced that its expense budget was higher than the one they had been relying upon for years. Its expenses had greatly increased due to its choice to use a new  method of repairing the piles that support the piers.  Whereas for the past decade the Park Corporation  had planned to use a reactive maintenance approach that involved wrapping each pile in concrete when it had neared the end of its useful life, it now proposed a preventative approach that involved using an epoxy grout on many piles even before the end of their useful lives.  Whereas the reactive approach spread the costs of pile repair over approximately 40 years, the new approach required the expenditure of $90 million in 2016—thus allegedly requiring the development of housing on Pier 6 to pay for it.

Affordable Housing Confuses the Issue

When the Request For Proposals for development of the Pier 6 towers emerged, it immediately became apparent that the City was violating its commitment to build only that amount of housing needed to support the Park.  Instead of using the improved real estate market to reduce the scale of the towers planned for Pier 6, the City decided to keep the housing exactly the same and make approximately 30% of it affordable housing.  Without seeing one number at that time from the Park, it was patently obvious that the housing could be significantly smaller than originally planned since at least 30% of the revenue from this project was not needed.   While the BHA is not opposed to affordable housing, for more than a decade it has been opposed to any housing in the middle of desperately needed parkland unless it is needed to support the Park. 

First Lawsuit Calls for a Supplemental EIS

Frustrated by the lack of disclosure and dialogue on the central question of whether Pier 6 housing was needed, PFGSF filed a lawsuit, primarily arguing that given all of the changes in our neighborhood since the preparation of the original Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), the Park Corporation should be ordered to prepare a supplemental EIS to reflect those changes.  PFGSF asked the court to consider changes in school population, traffic, and flooding, as well as the changed economic conditions since the original conclusion that no alternatives existed to the proposed towers.  The law firm of Jenner & Block, acting as pro bono counsel for the BHA, prepared an amicus brief in support of PFGSF. 

Before any court decision, however, a settlement was reached with PFGSF. The defendants essentially agreed that their plan to build affordable housing on Pier 6 violated the General Project Plan which limited housing to only that financially necessary and that they would therefore commence a multi-step process to amend the General Project Plan to permit affordable housing.  Amendments to the General Project Plan must be approved by the Empire State Development Corporation (ESD).  To our shock, the amendment submitted to the ESD did not simply request permission to build affordable housing, but asked the ESD to eliminate the fundamental commitment that had been made in 2006—that financial necessity would be the pre-condition of any development on Pier 6.

The Failed and Futile ESD Proceeding

2.1.2_PIER6_ACREAGEIn accordance with the procedures established in the settlement of the PFGSF lawsuit, the BHA and others in our community provided hours of testimony and submitted thousands of pages in opposition to the proposed modification. The BHA and two local community group partners released three reports on February 29, 2016, in the continuing effort to demonstrate that real estate development on Pier 6 to fund Park maintenance is premature, at best, and very likely unnecessary at all. The first report was done by an expert appraiser who was tasked with calculating what the likely revenue will be from existing projects in the Park; the second analyzed the impact of the findings of the appraiser on the Park’s financial model; the third evaluated the Park’s new approach to maintaining the piles. The reports raise significant questions as to whether the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation (“BBPC”) has significantly understated the revenue it will receive from the existing projects in the Park (One Brooklyn Bridge, Pierhouse, Empire Stores and John Street) and whether it chose an inappropriate method of pile repair that would, at a minimum, increase its near-term expenses significantly. The letter to Board members of the Park CorporationBBPC and the ESD Empire State Development Corporation which summarizes the findings of the three reports, as well as the three reports, can be found below in “Learn More.” This lengthy and time consuming procedure ultimately led nowhere. The ESD declined to rule on the request for a modification and the City announced that it would proceed with its plan anyway. In June the Park CorporationBBPC Board approved the Pier 6 towers. It should at least be noted that before that vote the BHA proposed a compromise solution in which, essentially, we agreed to support the development of affordable housing in the underutilized building at 340 Furman Street in exchange for a delay in the development of the towers until the existing developments in the Park were appraised by the New York City Department of Finance and the revenue stream they would provide to the Park became clear. That proposal was rejected. The BHA was left with no path forward other than litigation, which it has now commenced.

Learn More

For more background information on this issue, visit www.savepier6.org

Below are links to key documents and articles:

August 2015

The BHA’s letter to the Empire State Development Corporation Board and to the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation Board, dated August 24, 2015, signed by 17 civic organizations and Public Advocate Letitia James, can be found here.

July 2015

The BHA’s statement made at the public hearing in July 2015 on the proposed modification to the General Project Plan can be found here.

November 2015

A Brooklyn Eagle editorial can be found here.

February/March 2016

Click here for the joint letter from the BHA, People for Green Space Foundation, and Brooklyn Bridge Park Defense Fund summarizing the three reports the group commissioned to demonstrate that real estate development on Pier 6 to fund park maintenance is premature, at best, and very likely unnecessary at all.

The three reports can be found here:

Appraisal Report: This report by an expert appraiser calculates the likely revenue from existing projects in the park.

Impact on Financial Model: This report analyzed the impact of the appraisal findings of on the park’s financial model.

Pile Maintenance Analysis: expenditure that could be avoided at this time. The Brooklyn Eagle’s coverage of the release of the group’s findings can be found here.

The Wall Street Journal’s coverage can be found here.

Update

2.1.1_Pierhouse_Heights_Press

Two lawsuits were filed contesting the height of the two development parcels comprising the Pierhouse hotel and condominium project at Pier 1 in Brooklyn Bridge Park on the grounds that their heights violated commitments made by the City, State, and Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation to limit their heights and preserve views of the Brooklyn Bridge, the East River and the harbor made in the General Project Plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement.

In the lawsuit challenging the intrusion by the southern building’s penthouse into the protected Scenic View District, the BHA and Save the View Now (STVN) moved for a preliminary injunction. The NYS Supreme Court ruled against the BHA and STVN in June 2016 on the grounds that the lawsuit had been filed after the expiration of the Statute of Limitations (SOL).

The original STVN lawsuit challenging the excessive height of the northern Pierhouse building was similarly dismissed by the NYS Supreme Court on the same grounds and the NYS Court of Appeals upheld the lower court’s decision in December 2017. Neither court decision evaluated the merits of the lawsuit, but only the technical grounds of when the four-month SOL began.

 

About This Issue

As the plans emerged for the development of the Brooklyn Bridge Park more than a decade ago, it became clear to the BHA and others in the community that the 110-foot high hotel/residential complex planned for the area adjacent to Pier 1 (now known as Pierhouse) would interfere with the view of the Brooklyn Bridge from the Promenade. As a result, the BHA led the community in advocating for a reduction in the height of that building and obtaining a 100-foot height limitation. That height was selected in relationship to the 97-foot height of the Cold Storage Warehouse, which stood in that area at the time. Standing on the Promenade at a point between Pierrepont and Clark Streets, it appeared that a three-foot higher building would still preserve the Promenade views of the Bridge, its roadways, and its necklace.

Height Agreement Clearly Documented

That agreement to limit the height of Pierhouse was incorporated in the General Project Plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Park in 2005. The FEIS limited the northern Pier 1 building to 100 feet and the southern building to 55 feet, including any required parapet and mechanical equipment. An agreement to ensure that there would be no violation of the Scenic View District (a view across the East River protected by zoning statute) was incorporated in those documents as well. Years passed before the development of Pier 1. At some subsequent point, the developer’s plans changed. During the construction of the north section of Pierhouse, it gradually became apparent that the building was much higher than the 100 feet to which the Park had committed; the roofline with parapets is approximately 10 feet higher and there are two huge bulkheads on top of the roof, one 20-feet and one 30-feet high.

2.1.1_PIERHOUSE_STVN_POSTEREnter “Save the View Now”

In late December 2014 a community organization called Save the View Now (STVN) arose to lead a fight against these violations of the 100-foot height agreement. STVN also learned that Pierhouse was not even located where it had been shown in the plans presented during the environmental review process—the southern end of the taller northern building was located north of Squibb Park in the plans presented to the community in 2005 and 2006. By moving that supposedly 100-foot building south, the expected improved views from Squibb Park and the Middagh Street area were completely destroyed and views from the Promenade even more negatively impacted.

Discussion Failed, Lawsuit Filed

After failed attempts to have the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation, the Empire State Development Corporation, and Toll Brothers correct these violations, STVN filed on April 21, 2015 an Article 78 lawsuit, which is the procedure for suing government agencies, seeking the court to enforce the Park’s commitment. BHA has supported STVN’s efforts from the beginning. Unfortunately, the motion was denied in June 2015, and again in September 2015. The NYS Court of Appeals upheld the lower court’s decision in December 2017 on the grounds that STVN filed its lawsuit past the four month Statute of Limitations imposed by Article 78. The Appeals Court did not evaluate the merits of STVN’s lawsuit.

Finally, as the penthouse on the southern building emerged, it became apparent that at least part of it violated the Scenic View District (SV-1), which is a zoning action that protects views from the Promenade, as well as the General Project Plan and the Final Environmental Impact Statement. BHA and STVN together filed a separate lawsuit in December 2015 in connection with the SV-1 violation against the City of New York, BBPC, and ESDC, citing that the developer and architect moved SV-1’s viewing reference line from which the view district is established in order to obscure Pierhouse’s intrusion into the protected view. The NYS Supreme Court dismissed the petition on June 27, 2016 again on the basis of Statute of Limitations.

Learn More

From The New York Times (Jan. 25, 2016): “By Blocking View of the Brooklyn Bridge, a Building Incites a Battle

The BHA and STVN statement on the Scenic View Plane lawsuit can be read here.

The BHA and STVN complaint is here.

The BHA’s press release on the SV-1 violation is here.

View a diagram depicting the SV-1 Brooklyn Heights Scenic View District here.

For more information, visit the Save the View Now website here.

Update

In May 2016, the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership released a Community Vision Plan for nearly 50 acres of parks, plazas and walkways that reflected two years of community workshops and planning. Developed by WXY Architecture + Urban Design with input from residents, community groups, elected officials and City agencies, the plan set forth a set of recommendations for major changes to the disconnected green spaces that exist between Borough Hall and the Brooklyn waterfront.  The City will review the recommendations and determine which of these recommendations can and will be implemented, which will largely depend on as yet unidentified sources of funding.

Among the plan’s specific recommendations are to create a “Gateway to Brooklyn” from the Brooklyn Bridge and a market under the bridge at the Anchorage Plaza in Dumbo, reopen the Brooklyn War Memorial in Cadman Park for public use, and realign portions of the ramps to the BQE to improve the connections between currently isolated parcels of open space.

About This Issue

2.1.6_BROOKLYN_STRAND__0_Aerial-HRes-1400-xxx_q85The Brooklyn Strand Project was conceived to link and improve disconnected parks, plazas and green spaces from the Borough Hall area and Downtown Brooklyn to Brooklyn Bridge Park. If fully implemented, it would reclaim open space ignored by the Parks Department or made inaccessible by the BQE in order to create a world-class promenade providing pedestrian access to the waterfront from Downtown Brooklyn’s transit hubs.

Big changes could be coming to a 21-acre swath of unconnected parks, public spaces and plazas running from Borough Hall in Downtown Brooklyn to Brooklyn Bridge Park. At a public meeting of Community Board 2’s Parks and Recreation Committee shone a spotlight on the plan to connect and reinvigorate these public spaces, dubbed the Brooklyn Strand.The Brooklyn Strand would consist of two sets of spaces: 1) the 27.9-acre Cadman Connector, which would incorporate Borough Hall Park, the Korean War Veterans Plaza, Whitman Park, Cadman Plaza Park, the Anchorage Plaza, and Old Fulton Plaza; and 2) the 12.9-acre BQE Connector, which would tie together the open spaces under and along the BQE from the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges to Commodore Barry Park adjacent to the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

The Downtown Brooklyn Partnership and a design team led by WXY Studio sponsored 250 workshops and meetings in 2015 to elicit ideas from stakeholders within the affected communities, including the BHA. (See “Learn More” for the workshop recommendations.) Though it is unlikely that the final plan can be fully implemented at once, the Partnership anticipates that segments can be completed as funding becomes eligible. 2.1.6_BROOKLYN_STRAND_scene

In July 2015, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams allocated $1 Million towards the estimated $11.8 Million expense of transforming the Brooklyn War Memorial in Cadman Park, closed to the public more than 25 years ago, into a visitor’s center with a rooftop café, events space, and a veteran’s wall of honor. The result will be an improved Cadman Park. Another $500,000 will fund improvements to Borough Hall Park.

Learn More

For a comprehensive view of the possibilities for the Brooklyn Strand initiative, see the Brooklyn Strand Urban Design Action Plan featuring recommendations by community groups, including the BHA.

For more on the Brooklyn Strand initiative: Downtownbrooklyn.com

For more on the Brooklyn War Memorial renovation: Curbed.com DNAinfo.com

Update

2.1.5_LIBRARY_XTERIOROn December 16, 2015, the New York City Council approved the plan to redevelop the Brooklyn Heights branch library site into a high-rise condominium tower that will house a new state-of-the-art library. An interim library at Our Lady of Lebanon Church, 95 Remsen Street, opened on July 26, 2016. Demolition and construction of the branch library site is expected to begin in fall 2016 and be completed in 2020.  As a result of changes approved by the City Council, the new library will have 26,620 square feet on three levels, and the building will also contain 9,000 square feet for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) classrooms and labs on the lower level operated by the Department of Education, with access from a dedicated lobby on Clinton Street.  An additional 5,000-square-foot library will be built near the Farragut Houses in Vinegar Hill. The bas-relief friezes on the existing library will be carefully removed and stored for possible reinstallation in the new library.


About This Issue

T2.1.5_LIBRARY_INTERIORhe BHA has supported the Brooklyn Public Library’s plan to redevelop the site of the Brooklyn Heights branch library because we believe that a state-of-the-art library will benefit our neighborhood, the associated 114-units of affordable housing will benefit the CB2 community, and the funds generated will benefit libraries throughout the borough.

The BHA’s support was contingent upon the Brooklyn Public Library’s commitment to uninterrupted interim library service during construction, and guarantees that the proceeds from the sale will go to capital improvements of other branches of the Brooklyn Public Library.  In addition, the BHA lobbied for all service entrances to the library and the condominium to be located on the Cadman Plaza side of the lot, rather than on Clinton Street.

Learn More

The Brooklyn Public Library has information about the project on its website here.

Council Member Steve Levin has written about why he supports the project here.

The most recent public plans for the building are available here.

The BHA’s testimony before the City Council is here.