CPC Approves Proposed Brooklyn Heights Library Redevelopment Plan, Council Review Next

Rendering of Brooklyn Public Library development in Brooklyn Heights. Image credit: Marvel Architects

Rendering of Brooklyn Public Library development in Brooklyn Heights. Image credit: Marvel Architects

Developer would build new public library on the ground floor of a mixed-use development and construct off-site affordable housing.  On November 2, 2015, the City Planning Commission approved the Department of Citywide Administrative Services’ and Brooklyn Public Library’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure applications to reconstruct the Brooklyn Heights branch of the Brooklyn Public Library on the base level of a mixed-use building.  A public hearing was held on the proposal on September 22, 2015.  (See previous CityLand coverage here.)


The Commission found in its final report that the proposed development would yield a state-of-the-art library that would provide a larger, more efficient space than the existing Brooklyn Heights library branch facility and allow the City to collect on the value of the property where the library is located.  The Commission noted that the projected revenue raised by the sale of the unused development rights above the library facility would allow for more than $300 million in urgent capital repairs and improvements to be made in library branches across the Brooklyn Public Library system.  The Commission, additionally, noted that the off-site affordable housing, which would be constructed by the developers as part of the deal, and the market-rate housing would be designed by the same architect, and the affordable housing construction would be completed prior to the market-rate housing.

The Commission found that Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams’ condition, requiring the City to establish a Citywide municipal library system that incorporates the Brooklyn Public Library into the same system as the rest of the City’s library systems, would not be feasible because it is outside the scope of the issues raised in the application under review.  Borough President Adams’ condition that an elementary school annex be constructed within the new building was similarly not feasible because, due to the subject site’s small size and irregular shape, the project would have to be substantially redesigned to allow for the reservation of additional space for City use.  This would reduce the amount of sale revenue collected by the Brooklyn Public Library and decrease the funds available for repairs throughout the other existing library branches.

At its stated meeting on November 10, 2015, the City Council referred the applications to the Land Use Committee, which subsequently sent the applications to the Subcommittee on Planning, Dispositions and Concessions for a public hearing.  The Subcommittee will hold the hearing on November 18, 2015.

CPC: One Clinton Street (150399-PPK; 150400-PQK) (Nov. 2, 2015).

By:  Jessica Soultanian-Braunstein (Jessica is the CityLaw Fellow and a New York Law School Graduate, Class of 2015)

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