Fortis Reveals Plans For LICH Site

Curbed reports that Fortis Property Group, purchasers of the Long Island College Hospital site, yesterday evening revealed their plans for development of the site at a meeting of the Cobble Hill Association. The plan calls for four residential towers, of 40, 30, 20, and 16 stories. There will also be a medical center, townhouses, retail spaces, a small park, and “potential for a public school.” The proposed residential development would produce approximately 600 market rate and 200 affordable units. Implementation of the plan is contingent upon approval under the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure; failing approval, Fortis has a back-up “as of right” plan that includes a 44 story structure. The image above, by FXFOWLE Architects, is of the preferred proposal.

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  • ldny

    Warning: Long post ahead…

    Attending the Cobble Hill Assoc meeting with Fortis the other night just reinforced for me that many people in this neighborhood think that change always = bad things. As is human nature, people insist on wasting their time and energy on halting any possible change rather than ever compromising. Also, if it’s not what THEY want, to hell with their neighbor who may disagree. I find that sad. I am not wild about the Fortis plans as they stand right now.. A lot of it I really hate, although some of it I find quite acceptable – but those plans are literally the very first draft of a project that is still some time away from even starting and having sat through that meeting (which was more painful than the titanium dental implant I had drilled into my jaw 5 hours before the meeting, but that may be because half my face was still partially numb), I can tell you that the “as of right plan” would be FAR worse for the neighborhood than their rezoning proposals will ever be.

    I’m a pragmatist when it comes to these things. Instead of investing my energy in hating and denying the inevitable, I’d rather focus on a few smaller, yet actually possible, “wins.” There are going to be tall buildings erected on some of the former LICH land. That’s a fact. There’s no going back on that. Much of the land is already zoned for it and Fortis literally needs no approval or input from anyone to start building a 45-story building on the corner of Hicks & Atlantic next month, should they want to. The fact is: they don’t want to. That works in our advantage. Some may see it as a game, where we ask for a lot and they give a little, but they make it seem like they really care what we think, when everyone knew they were prepared to give up on those little things a long time ago, but so be it. That’s the game. Play the game and take a few small wins.

    Or keep yelling about how much you miss your hospital and see how far that gets you. They can build as-of-right, and they will if they have to, but it’s in their best interest to go for rezoning and actually work with the community to get something that we hate slightly less. The benefit for them is more residential square footage. That’s more money. What? A developer wants to make money? Crazy talk! Welcome to America. We’re still a capitalistic country. That’s not always a bad thing. The benefit for the community is a few more concessions and perks (which some people will still see as cons rather than pros – like the guy at the meeting who was furious about the proposed “open space” park with no locked gates, because what if he got mugged walking through it at midnight? Because, suddenly, Cobble Hill is the hotbed for midnight muggings?) and some actual input into how this all plays out. The community won’t win on everything, there will still be tall buildings, but those buildings have a fighting chance of being slightly smaller, other options for the non-residential sections may become more useful (maybe even an asset to the community) and we’ll maybe get a bit of input on certain design features. So I say let’s go for the win on a few small battles and accept the fact that the winner of the larger war has already been predetermined, whether you like it or agree with it or not.

    Many of our neighbors in Cobble Hill will never be happy unless the entire neighborhood becomes a gated and locked frozen-in-time community and nothing is ever changed. No new shops or restaurants will ever open, no new people can ever move in and if you move out, your house must be preserved for eternity as a shrine. I just can’t live like that. My husband and I bought our little slice of this neighborhood 18 years ago and 2 we literally just paid off our mortgage 2 weeks ago. We’re free and clear, save for the ever-increasing co-op maintenance and assessments. Our place is worth now almost 4x what we paid for it. We could sell it easily and pocket a pretty penny. But we’re not going anywhere, because we like the area too much, warts and all, to move anywhere else. We’ve seen this neighborhood change A LOT in the past 18 years and it’s almost all been for the better. Some of those changes were drastic and caused some pain in the process, but the end result was mostly worth it. Yet I can still walk down any block and enjoy the charm of the landmarked architecture and the quaint side streets and the pocket parks without feeling like I need to travel for 20 minutes to have a nice meal in a modern restaurant or drive to the suburbs to go grocery shopping from a store that isn’t technically a bodega. We get the best of both worlds – the quaint character of mostly-landmarked blocks (which no one has proposed bulldozing) along with some modern and welcome conveniences and some modern buildings to admire too (personally, I don’t mind most glass and metal buildings… I like clean, modern architecture as much as I like old brownstones and I firmly believe they can co-exist within feet or each other without completely destroying the context and character of a neighborhood.)

    Why on earth is it so hard for people to work toward compromise? Why are so many of you so jaded that you can’t see past your own self-defeating anger?

  • Eddyde

    Lets all hope you have a heart attack and die in the ambulance en route to….

  • Eddyde

    Perhaps it’s time to bring back the guillotine.

  • skunky

    very civil.

  • Remsen Street Dweller
  • memeadjuster

    Yeah, right–the old, unsolvable “incompetence” theory at work.

    There was just no way to save that much needed hospital, that just coincidentally sat on prime real estate?

  • memeadjuster

    Maybe we can still learn more from how/why “we lost that bet.” Also, I don’t see how Remsen is being “part of the problem here, and and citizens should never have “no input at all.”

  • memeadjuster

    As usual, it seems we’re being forced to settle for the lesser of the evils, instead of what’s best for the community and even best for the city as a whole.

  • ldny

    Unfortunately, that’s the world we live in. I’m not saying it’s right, or that I am happy about it. I’m just saying it is what it is. Also, “what’s best for …” is always and will always be highly subjective. So who decides which “best” takes priority? What’s best for you isn’t necessarily best for me and vice versa.

  • memeadjuster

    Agreed, but typically what’s best for real-estate developers and other 1% types is not what’s best for the rest of us.

  • Remsen Street Dweller

    From today’s NY Times magazine — quite apropos

  • TeddyNYC

    Would a new shadow be cast on your property if these buildings were built? Would your afternoons be darker than they used to be?

  • ldny

    I’m on the south side of Atlantic Ave, so the answer would be no, since we’re already shadowed for most of the afternoon. And that’s with nothing taller than 50′ on this block. The only sunny area on this side of the block most of the day is the empty corner lot where the Shell station was. And there will be a 50′ building soon there too. So your point is that all construction from now on should only be underground so no one ever has to cross the street to catch some rays?

  • ShinyNewHandle


  • T.K. Small

    Over the last few months, I have come to the conclusion that Brooklyn has “jumped the shark”. I’m just about ready to leave.

  • TeddyNYC

    No, my point is what’s being proposed is unreasonable for the area. Buildings of 10-15 floors would be reasonable. I spoke to someone who like myself has lived here for a long time and she’s appalled by the possibility of having a building with 44 floors towering over her. Once these buildings are completed, the door to more development along Columbia St. will open and we’ll get a wall of towers.

  • Willow Street Watch

    I’ve been waiting for anyone to comment on the most important aspect of the real estate tulip craze: yes, this represents a huge population increase without any kind of reasonable increase in police, fire, ems/hospitals public safety facilities. Your basic safety net is being dangerously thinned.

    Yes, there is no way traffic, deliveries etc can be handled by main arteries so big spillovers will flood formerly

  • Willow Street Watch

    quiet residential side streets. Yes, crime will increase especial with that kind of well off, sheeple population.

    But NONE of that should be your basic concern….

    The wall of buildings they want to surround the former Brooklyn heights are being built to cost…not to realistic safety standards. They are not being built to seriously control fire or well, nonaccidential catastrophic incidents” Like what happened after 911? Well just imagine what is going to happen when one of these chrome boxes burns right inside this neighborhood… Anyone remember the aftermath of the hotel Margaret’s fire? And that was wood and wallboard. Want to know what’s in more modern buildings?…Want to know what. Happens in any 10 story plus building when the stanpipes are off or “accidentally” inoperative?

    Then there is the “small” issue of level of resistance to well, “non ac-
    cidental catastrophic incidents” This isn’t the Empire State Building when the bomber hit it..want to know how easy it is for one of these new buildings structure to fail?

    Its your lives and your families safety involved here… time to actually THINK!!!

  • Ann B Chapin

    I read that the governor’s new budget has allocated billions? for a new hospital in Brooklyn. Wonder where they want to put it?? How ironic!

  • William Spier

    Unfortunately, I find Pragmatic’s comments do not add anything helpful to an analysis of the plans to super-populate an area all ready under infrastructure stress. His comments do not show a real interest in the planning of more affordable housing, just a kind of soft knowledge libertarianism.

    You have to go back in history to catch the problems with the Fortis deal to get LICH property. The value of the property was reasonably assessed by economists who studied the deal as nearly $5B; the property sold for a bit more than half that. Why that happened is speculative, although the bidding criteria included “affordable housing” components. Fortis is not known to be particularly supportive of affordable anything. What will happen is that higher middle income people will get the “affordable rate” and the lesser folk will stay where “they belong.” That is why all property tax abatements must end, or lessened considerably.

    The City will not benefit from much here, at least not until the tax abatements play out over years. Therefore vital infrastructure works and traffic control will barley be targeted for the area. The City does not demand that the builders construct the social services like schools before the building of high rises and the promise of housing a school. The Fortis promise of a community health facility is a joke on us. Whatever they put in that site will be totally inadequate.

    You cannot let builders go wild in a fragile area without suffering the consequences. The LICH sale proceeds went to paying off creditors and somewhat support SUNY Downstate
    labored breathing. Nothing came back to the community but
    a few vague promises and a reliance on BHC, a not so hot hospital.

    When so much money is hovering over places like the Park and the LICH property, all bets are off. Actual infrastructure planning and social support services are not a priority. So calling a community or people elitist for not wanting something to go ahead without social planning, is just not smart, or particularly analytical of the range of issues confronting the area.

    Pragmatism means we plan for the best possible outcomes. Just adding not so affordable housing to the mix is really a ruse being played out all over this City.