BREAKING: Hudson Companies / Marvel Architects Announced as Brooklyn Heights Library Developer:

In the only air conditioned space in the Brooklyn Heights Library building, Brooklyn Public Library president Linda E. Johnson and BPL staff presented the future of the much-debated library branch that has been serving Brooklyn Heights since 1962.

The Hudson Companies and Marvel Architects (designers of the Pierhouse and 1 Hotel at Brooklyn Bridge Park) have been identified as the development team of choice for a new residential tower on the library site that will include a new branch for BPL. The developer’s proposed bid of approximately $60 million would not only allow BPL to invest $10 million in outfitting a 21,000 square foot library but will allow for $40 million in capital funding for other needy branches in BPL’s system as well as an 8,000 square foot temporary library to be located at Our Lady of Lebanon Church (113 Remsen Street).

A final vote on the proposal is scheduled for BPL’s board meeting to be held at 5:30 tonight at the Library’s Grand Army Plaza location.

The project, following expected approval by the full BPL board, will then go through thorough public review, including ULURP (Universal Land Use Review Process)—the City’s process for reviewing the sale of public land, which the Brooklyn Heights Library branch sits on—as well as a number of key political decision-makers, including Council Member Steve Levin, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Mayor Bill de Blasio and the New York City Council.

Here Are The Proposals For the Planned Redevelopment of the Brooklyn Heights Library

An interesting twist presented today by Ms. Johnson is that as part of the proposal The Hudson Companies will build 114 units of affordable housing in Community Board 2. The BPL president explained that the housing will not be located in the new tower—which will comprise market-rate housing in one of the most exclusive communities in Brooklyn—but will be simultaneously built at a location different from that of the new tower.

Johnson stressed a linkage between the two construction projects, insisting that the luxury housing on the library site will not be occupied until the affordable housing units—which will be new construction—is completed.

“We’ve thought about this thing form every angle,” said Johnson, “and the Mayor has made it very clear that the number of affordable housing units [in the city] is shamefully low… so this was an important consideration” in the proposal by The Hudson Companies.

Ms. Johnson clarified that developer must have identified and have control of a specific site for the specified affordable housing by the time that the project is ready for ULURP.

“What we are doing is building a new, exciting library here in the Heights that the community will actually like,” said Ms. Johnson.

PHOTO CAPTION: Renderings of new Brooklyn Heights Library Branch. Image courtesy BerlinRosen.

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  • Radar

    You misunderestimate the power of that lost Willowtown cat and its owner, Biviano and Rimmler. Tin foil hats all around!

  • gatornyc

    The scale wasn’t increased for the inclusion of affordable housing at Pier 6. The scale is the same as first identified in the General Park Plan.

  • bethman14

    If the library was being destroyed it would be an outrage…but they aren’t destroying it, they’re building a brand spanking new library.

    And the affordable housing at AY has been hopelessly delayed in large part because of the avalanche of pointless, NIMBY lawsuits filed by Micheal White and Marsha Rimmler and their buddies. There is nothing more outrageous than the anti-AY crowd suing endlessly to delay the project than complaining it isn’t being built quickly enough!!!!! Lets pray they don’t pull the same farce here.

  • saneperson

    Ahhh mature dialogue

  • bethman14

    Sorry, he’s busy desperately trying to repair the foundation of lies, half truths and distortions upon which Citizen’s Destroying Libraries is built and which is now dangerously threatened by the intrusion of reality.

  • Henry Ruffles


  • notonmywatch

    Johny Cakes,

    Ok, I will bite. Exactly what is Mr White lieing about?

  • bethman14

    Where to begin…from day one he has misrepresented the reality of this project to support his own political agenda. He has variously claimed that the library will be destroyed without a replacement, the replacement will be entirely in the basement, there will be a 50 story building developed by Forrest City Ratner, there won’t be a competitive process to select the developer, the project will be “pushed through” before the end of the Bloomberg administration and is a conspiracy driven “done deal,” there won’t be interim space, a developer will be selected in a below market “sweetheart deal,” the list just goes on and on and on.

  • notonmywatch

    SInce I have been observing from the sidelines, here is a take:

    –The library of 60,000 square feet of public commons was gong to be dropped to 15,000 square feet. Now it is about 20,000 square feet. And less below grade than before.

    Michael 1 – Johnny Cakes – 0

    -building size is not defined. As yet it can be much larger than currently “proposed” in undisclosed agreements buy Linda Johnson.

    Michael 2 – Johnny Cakes 0

    — Ratner will be involved – Ratner owns necessary air rights

    Michael 3 – Johnny Cakes 0

    — There won’t be a competitive process.

    As the BPL has no authority to sell anything except books and tables and racks, any process they participated in is ILLEGAL, EDC involvement or no. So bidding process in violation of charter is not open process.

    Michael 3.5 – Johnny Cakes .5

    –Pushed Through before Bloomberg out of office

    Absent public outcry it might very well have.

    Michael 4.5 – Johnny Cakes .5

    — Done deal. Really? The BPL board followed a recommendation of a group that followed a recommendation of a group that is forbidden to disagree with the BPL.

    Michael 5.5 – Johnny Cakes .5

    –No interim space.

    30,000 square feet of usable space down to 8,000 square feet.

    Michael 6.5 – Johnny Cakes .5

    –Below market –

    Juniors turned down $450 per buildable square foot.

    DO the math if you can get a straight answer.

    Michael 7.5 – Johnny Cakes .5

  • marshasrimler

    you are Brad Lander…

  • stuart

    We need what has been done in Greenwich Village after St Vincent’s closed. A new emergency/acute care facility has been opened in the “over bite” building on 7th Avenue. We need a new health facility like that here.

  • stuart

    I agree, shadow government conspiracies are pure lunatic fringe stuff. If Deblasio is replaced, it will be by a candidate that is less liberal, not more.

  • manposeur

    wonder if this will have a poor door?

  • marshasrimler

    no it has a rich door… st ann’s gym
    the poor door is hidden out of sight in another part of cb2.. we all know what this is..racism pure and simple

  • bethman14

    Hey we can finally agree on something! Wealthy white people suing to prevent 114 new affordable apartments being built, suing to prevent the Brooklyn Library from rebuilding libraries serving poor people of color and suing to prevent a new, free public library being built on Cadman Plaza DOES in fact smack of racism!

  • Carlotta

    Follow the money, follow the money, follow it in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Washington DC. Politics at its worst. A new library is not for the people it’s for the developer and those who surround developers. No school, no hospital. Whether the BH Library is in need of repairs is not the question, never was. Hope everyone enjoys the new library, hope there will be books to browse and read there – not sure about that. Hope there will be librarians there – not sure about that either. Hope no one has a heart attack and gets stuck in traffic before getting to any hospital. Hope all those affordable housing units will be built as promised – hard to imagine. People who speak truth to power Biviano, White, Rimmler – may the public wake up.

  • Doug Biviano

    This Brooklyn Public Library Policy and Procedure document ought to be considered with the recent vote for this development and the lobbyist ties and political contributions of board members for possible breaches in policy, conflicts of interest and violation of public trust:

    Brooklyn Public Library Policy and Procedure
    Policy #: Business Practices 6
    Date Issued: August 2007
    Effective Date: April 2005

    1. General Business Conduct and Disclosure
    2. Conflicts of Interest

    BPL Board of Trustees, Officers of the Corporation, Key Persons, Staff, and their Immediate Family members

    The purpose of this policy is to assure that the business of Brooklyn Public Library is conducted in accordance with the highest standards and free from the possible influence of conflicts of interest of board members, officers, key persons, staff, or members of their immediate families. . .
    The entire document can be found here:
    www dot bklynlibrary dot org/sites/default/files/files/pdf/trustees/ConflictInterest dot pdf

    we’ll try to connect as many dots as possible but this is where crowd sourcing is invaluable.

  • notonmywatch

    Hey there willfully ignorant peoples and press.

    –Linda Johnson declined to read the two page agreement in front of the public last night at the trustee meeting that described the negotiations and agreements to “sell” what the library DOES NOT OWN. ANY ACTIONS about selling are outside their charter (1904) and should be punished severely. Board chair is a whiz at getting corporations off on malfeasance though. Wish the press (including this blog) would actually do any legwork instead of just trotting out the monied position and the non-monied position absent any analysis.

    –Linda Johnson has no solid guarantee of funding. Just ask her how much of the $40,000,000 she “raised” for the Philadelphia Library in her only other library related stint actually came to pass since that project was CANCELLED.

    –Linda Johnson said in the press event (to maybe three reporters?) that this was the new model. Withhold repairs till buildings look in dire need, propose the sale and replacement to developers for capital funds they have already squandered (Dweck Center), get back smaller, lesser library and never show any signed agreements to the public while swearing trustees and other organizations to secrecy.

    –Linda Johnson has repeatedly maligned the design of the existing library as incompetent work by the architect. Funny thing, they don’t ever mention the name. It might be difficult as it is the same architect that did the Landmarked Grand Army Plaza Branch.

    –Linda Johnson didn’t tell you that the Executive staff rooms at the Brooklyn Heights Library have a brand new air conditioner when the rest of the library closes down all summer because they can’t spend $60k to fix something they are trumpeting as a necessary $4,600,000 “repair”.

    –Linda Johnson didn’t tell you that they are following the recommendation of a group that is following the recommendation of a group that is forbidden to disagree with the BPL.

    –Linda Johnson didn’t tell you that the independent third party report was done by REVSON who contributes to the library and Spaceworks and was commissioned to do both studies about library upgrades.

    Yeah, off with their heads seem about right.

  • Doug Biviano

    michaelbenjamin2012 dot com/2014/09/15/24-hour-contribution-report-for-state-sen-john-sampson-nys-board-of-elections/

    It appears Ken Fisher’s firm made contributions to indicted State Senator John Sampson. This connects Fisher to Seddio and the County Dem Party County apparatus (judges are their thing). Seddio fought hard for Sampson (see election night hug in picture). Seddio is tends to be around when there’s developers and a buck to be made. His partner Carone was the lawyer for SUNY and Carl McCall in closing LICH. Our communities and vital institutions are under attack by these political machines and their benefactors and supporters like Ken Fisher.

  • Doug Biviano

    It pays for guys like Ken Fisher to contribute to the County Dem Party ($38,000):

    NEW YORK, NY 10004
    2009 July Periodic

    NEW YORK, NY 10004
    2014 July Periodic

    NEW YORK, NY 10004
    2013 July Periodic

  • Doug Biviano

    should also add that Ken Fisher is a rather prolific lobbyist (do NYC lobbyist search) with Two Trees among his list of developers. He personally told me, and very proud of the fact, that the middle school wedge issue for Dock Street was his idea.

  • johnny cakes

    Really? How about rewriting history? Lie often enough and people will believe it. Is that the plan?

  • Reggie

    MDDW was hardly the only one to advocate for a larger replacement branch but since this is a dichotomy, he gets full credit. Even if Ratner owns “air” rights, the extent of his involvement is to sell them. Yes, BPL cannot sell what it does not own and so someone else will, with the proceeds going to the library. Designating a developer was never going to occur before Bloomberg left office. There was always going to be an interim library during construction. Like boxing, my scorecard is considerably different than notonmywatch’s.

  • bethman14

    All great points. Well said. Lets stop arguing and get this thing built

  • notonmywatch

    Suckered, sold and stupid. All rolled into one.

    They kill a library claiming it died a death of bad design. Then they give it to a developer when they claim they are short on cash to do basic work a fair to middling incompetent could do. All the while a generation of kids do without what a town of 30,000 would have at their fingertips.

    You have faith that a rich guy wont grab all he can?


    Astroturfing sellouts.

  • Remsen Street Dweller

    Read the article and you’ll see that patients are stabilized there and then sent to a real hospital.

  • Banet

    I suppose time will tell. Let’s check back in a few years.

  • stuart

    what’s wrong with that? that’s what we need. do you want to die in an ambulance stuck in traffic?

  • Notonmywatch

    Problem is… Why did the edc give any voting power to an entity not entitled to a say?

    To pretend that this is not an orchestrated for years outcome is a bizarro world view.

    Lining the pockets of big time developers with hundreds of millions because ms Johnson won’t spent less than 100k to fix the air conditioning is criminal.

  • cindy s

    Nothing well be resolved unless
    There is either serious Judicial
    Intervention and/or serious
    Law enforcement action on a
    FEDERAL level. Nothing else
    Stops a downward spiral of events
    Such as is occurring in this or
    For that matter the BPP syndrome…