Monday’s New York Times published a major expose on the critical issue of Brooklyn libraries shuttering with an eye on cashing in on property real estate values—with major focus on Brooklyn Heights’ Cadman Plaza branch.
The piece begins, “The Brooklyn Heights library is neither the oldest nor the most dilapidated branch of the Brooklyn Public Library system. But the 52-year-old limestone building… sits on land that developers crave. So the library system, desperate for money to pay for $230 million in repairs for its 60 branches, has embraced a novel financing model that is increasingly being used around New York City as a way to pay for government services: The library, on Cadman Plaza, would be sold to developers, torn down and rebuilt at no public expense on the ground floor of a new apartment tower.”
Joshua Nachowitz, Brooklyn Public Library’s VP for government & community relations, tells the Times: We would deliver libraries for essentially no cost to the library system. It’s a win-win.” Times: “The Brooklyn Heights branch was closed for 30 days last summer because its central AC kept failing; replacing it would cost $3 million. But the city gives the entire Brooklyn system only $15 million a year for repairs and construction, Nachowitz said, with the rest of its financing coming from private donations and other sources.”
Note that the Brooklyn Heights branch, to be rebuilt in the same spot, would close during 2-3 years of construction, according to the Times…
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