City Issues RFP for Brooklyn Heights Library Site

Brownstoner reports that the City has issued a Request for Proposals to develop the site now occupied by the Brooklyn Heights Branch of Brooklyn Public Library at 280 Cadman Plaza West. The RFP provides that the developer’s plan “must incorporate a brand new, 20,000 square foot library branch (“New Library”) for the Brooklyn Heights community.” Unfortunately, from the time the existing branch is closed for demolition until the new building is completed–a period certain to span several years, if not much longer should the developer lose financing because of a downturn in the real estate market–the Brooklyn Heights and nearby communities will be forced to accept what of necessity will be inadequate temporary library service.

RELATED: Here It Is – The Brooklyn Heights Library RFP

While the existing building isn’t on anyone’s list of architectural gems, your correspondent will miss its 1960s attempt to recreate pre-war art deco (Stuart, see below, calls it Art Moderne; I’ll stick with deco), especially the WPA style bas reliefs of Art, Industry, and so forth.

BHB reader and commenter Andrew Porter left this comment on the photo accompanying the Brownstoner article linked at the beginning of this post:

Carefully shot to look as if it is already surrounded by large apt buildings, when in fact the one at the right is several blocks away. Not shown: the 4- and 5-story brownstones within a block or so. The shot also includes what looks like a truck route next to it, also cropping out the park across the street. Shameful!

Another BHB regular, Stuart, left this comment:

Terrible photo of the library, which is actually interesting design-wise. It is Art Moderne and features bas-relief figures around the entry. It is a nice low-rise counterpoint to the highrises around it. Kiss it g’bye. At this point all I hope for is a new building that is not just a value-engineered human file cabinet.

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  • marshasrimler

    BPL is dysfunctional. The board needs the hand of a new mayor and Borough President. There are no plans for how the Business Library will be reconfigured at the Central Branch and no cost estimates. Just as the tech triangle is coming to revitalize downtown BPL plans to move the Business and Career Library out of Downtown where it has always been. BPL is out of touch with the community it is supposed to serve. This Real Estate giveaway puts the Brooklyn Heights Branch in the Basement and Subbasement.
    I again ask BPL to save whatever good will is left for it and withdraw this plan.
    Sell bonds bonds bonds for the library’s capital costs as they did it seattle. Do not give our assets away.
    This plan is going down either through the political process or in court.

  • stuart

    my prediction is that the city will pick a developer who will promptly demolish the library, at that point the real estate cycle turns and prices tank. the site remains an empty hole for eight to twelve years. It finally is developed with some sort of court support facility including parking. The library function evaporates.