Despite New York judge Betsy Barros’ temporary restraining order to keep LICH open for the time being, local developers are buzzing about the potential “real estate gold mine” that would result if the State University of New York indeed shutters Long Island College Hospital.
The Brooklyn Paper offers a story today that notes, “The swath of Cobble Hill would give developers everything they dream of: location, location and location” because of its “primo spot and friendly zoning just outside the Cobble Hill and Brooklyn Heights historic districts, giving whoever snatches up the land the rare chance to erect the very kind of apartment housing that the landmark zones were designed to stop.”
Broker and realty expert Chris Havens tells The Brooklyn Paper that the sale of the 155-year-old medical center “could be the biggest of its kind in Brooklyn in almost a decade. It’s just so rare that something this big gets converted.”
The last sale of its caliber in Brownstone Brooklyn was the 2004 turnover of nearby 360 Furman Street in what is now Brooklyn Bridge Park, which developers purchased for more than $200 million, Havens said. The sale of Long Island College Hospital real estate could be even more valuable, possibly netting as much as $500 million for the state.
If the land is sold to a developer, housing is a near certainty, Havens adds: “That’s by far the most valuable use, or as they say in the business, the highest and best use.” Meanwhile, according to Ward Dennis, a Williamsburg-based preservationist and land-use expert, because the main hospital building is right next to a landmarked district—but not in it—developers can get all the charm of historic Cobble Hill with none of the red tape. In fact, a buyer could erect a tall “tower in the park”-style development, thanks to the main building’s city-block-sized footprint and the current zoning.
The hospital closure must still be approved by the state board of health, in addition to its current stay, by the Judge Thursday. (Photo: NY Daily News)