Brooklyn Heights library development faces hurdle in Eric Adams

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Nearly two months after getting conditional support from a local community board, a controversial plan to redevelop the Brooklyn Heights public library faces a new obstacle.

Borough President Eric Adams, who has an advisory role in the city’s land use process, took issue with much of the proposal and released a list of demands to the Department of City Planning this week.

Among his requests are a new public school and more low-income housing.

“Considering this land use application has been about more than one site or one institution; it represents an opportunity to evaluate the direction of development in Brooklyn Heights and ensure that basic services are met and enhanced,” he said in a prepared statement.

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He said the plan, which involves the sale of a city-owned site to a private developer, “must maximize community benefit above and beyond what has been the standard to date.”

Specifically, he called on developer Hudson Companies to build a new elementary school within the property at 280 Cadman Plaza West and possibly add an annex to P.S. 8, the overcrowded local school. He wants the additional space to include a gymnasium, assembly space and lunch room.

And he demanded a city task force develop a “site identification plan” to “solve the public school seat shortage in and around Downtown Brooklyn.”

Adams also called for all residential units built through the development process to be “permanently affordable” and remain at the site of the current library. The current plan allows the units to be placed elsewhere in the district.

His recommendations will be considered by the City Planning Commission on Sept. 22, his office said.

“The plan for Brooklyn Heights Library is the best and only viable way to deliver a modern new library, $40 million for vital library improvements across the borough and affordable housing within the district. We are grateful for the support of the Community Board, Brooklyn Heights community organizations and people across Brooklyn who care about the future of our libraries,” a spokesman for the library said in an email Wednesday night. “Borough President Adams has shared his ideas about New York City’s libraries and we will take his feedback into consideration as we continue moving forward with the public review process.”

The developer wants to buy the property from the city for $52 million and refurbish the public library into a new, 21,500 square-foot space.

The 36-story tower would include 139 condos, retail space leased by the Brooklyn Roasting Company and Smorgasburg and 114 low- and moderate-income housing units elsewhere in the area.

The final vote on the project lies with the City Council.

Source: http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/city-hall/2015/09/8576418/brooklyn-heights-library-development-faces-hurdle-eric-adams

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