C.B.2 Land Use Committee to Consider Library Deal Wednesday; St. Ann’s Won’t Take Space There

The Land Use Committee of Community Board 2 will meet on Wednesday evening, June 17 at 6:00 at NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering, Dibner Building, Room LC400, 5 Metrotech Center (off of the Metrotech Commons) and will hold a public hearing on the proposed transfer of the Brooklyn Heights Branch of Brooklyn Public Library to an affiliate of the Hudson Companies, the acquisition by BPL of a condominium unit in the structure to be built there, and the modification of “a [previously granted] permit for height and setback.”

We’ve learned that the previously announced plan for St. Ann’s School to take a large area of mostly below ground space in the new building has been cancelled. In an email to Hudson Companies, St. Ann’s said:

Last September we wrote to you about the opportunity that Saint Ann’s has to purchase space in the nearby Brooklyn Public Library redevelopment. Since then we’ve been looking carefully at the many issues related to the project. At its meeting this week the Board of Trustees decided that given the resources developing BPL would require, Saint Ann’s will no longer pursue this purchase. Instead, we are eager to focus our time, attention, and resources on the buildings we already occupy and on continuing the critical work of improving teacher compensation and increasing financial aid.

Mr. David Kramer, President of the Hudson Companies, said:

We’re sorry to see St. Ann’s withdraw. We had partnered with them since the beginning of the proposal process and were excited to help solve some of their facilities challenges across the street from their building. Per our agreement with the City, we’re now reaching out to other potential community facility users to see if there’s a successor group who has the need and financial capacity to purchase a below-grade condominium in the new development.

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  • Michael D. D. White

    What is reported here does NOT mean that Saint Ann’s won’t be benefitting from the deal, or that the benefit to Saint Ann’s won’t continue to HELP DRIVE this deal: Saint Ann’s, selling its development rights, will still be getting cash (with which it could even subsequently buy that condominium Kramer offers in this article)- This information comes out just days before FIRST EVER hearing this Wednesday starting the process to decide whether public approval should be given to sell and shrink a library, this one.

    MORE about the HEARING here:

    Brooklyn Community Board 2 Land Use Committee June 17, 2015: ULURP Hearing- First Hearing About Whether To Sell & Shrink Downtowns’s Brooklyn Heights Library (Tillary & Clinton)


  • Henry Ruffles

    Wait – I am super-confused. I thought people were upset that a private school was going to be able to spread out and purchase more space, which felt weird in light of all the school overcrowding in this neighborhood. I understand that. Now St. Ann’s isn’t a part of the deal. Who cares if St. Ann’s is benefiting from selling it’s development rights (they do own those rights, after all)? How does St. Ann’s withdrawal continue to HELP DRIVE this process? Can you please explain your very odd paranoia? If you are up for it, can you also explain your odd choice of caps in random places throughout your post?

  • Will

    Selling air rights is huge. It explains for the first time why this building COULD be 50% larger than it’s very tall neighbor (Hillary HQ).

    I’d like to see a rendering issued along with other materials that reflects actual height including shadowing.

    And if this letter from st Ann’s is being released as the end of that story when it isn’t, it’s pretty lame. I never had an issue with St Ann’s buying space at market rate. I wish if we had to sell public assets, we would sell at market rate.

  • Sheryl Hunter

    Fyi, ULURP is an abbreviation. Look it up. Before you feel free to put down someone’s post, you should check your own for mistakes. “It’s” is an abbreviation for “it is.” “Its” is a possessive pronoun. You say, “Who cares if St. Ann’s is benefiting (sic) from selling it’s developments rights…” Wrong sound-alike! You also miss on “benefitting.” As you spell it, it’s (not its) pronounced as “benefiteing.” You double the “t” to shorten the “i.” Got it?

  • Sheryl Hunter

    Henry, my boy, you did it again! You use “it’s” for “its!” Clearly you weren’t named after Henry Higgins.

  • Henry Ruffles


    Thanks so much for educating me! I love it when people have nothing to say about the topic at hand, but nitpick about grammar in lieu of either backing up an opinion or actually adding value to a conversation. I was probably just too busy at law school when I was studying to be a land use attorney. ULURP is an abbreviation? Wow, again, thanks for spreading your enviable wealth of knowledge! Now, I would check this post for ridiculous grammar issues, but instead I am going to go back to my gorgeous family, spend the rest of the afternoon grilling in the backyard of my Brooklyn Heights brownstone and basically just have a great day. You be sure to do the same (obviously with your cats). Can’t wait to see what I did wrong this time!

  • StudioBrooklyn

    I thought it was ‘enry ‘iggins.

  • Slyone

    Anyone know what range of entities might be included in “other potential community facility users”?

  • Sheryl Hunter

    No wonder! Another lawyer who can’t write, another lawyer lost in the laws of language. You dismiss the importance of grammar but a comma in the wrong place can change the meaning of a phrase so utterly that a case could hinge on it. Grammar orders thoughts, directs the word traffic, prevents accidents caused by careless writers. You’re proud of being a scofflaw, okay. It might be more prudent to take care and respect, but no one would argue with your right not to.

  • http://selfabsorbedboomer.blogspot.com ClaudeScales

    Mr. Kramer mentioned churches, synagogues, private schools, and civic organizations. Given the size of the space and the substantial price, it would have to be a very well endowed organization.

  • Slyone

    I take it, then, no mention of a public school, not even a preK facility?

  • http://selfabsorbedboomer.blogspot.com ClaudeScales

    I believe the fact that the space is all below ground level precludes this.

  • Willow Street Watch

    This is amazing!….we’re talking about the worst elements of the real eastate “business” planning to ring the Heights with a WALL of high rises after the destruction of a key, highly valuable height asset and you geniuses are fighting over…grammer!!

    Mr. White, who I hardly know, and many others are fighting a deadly
    enemy which want to destroy much of what is irreplacable and you want to squabble over Grammer???

    If any group of people ever deserved to have their precious possesions stolen and their rights trampled it’s people who behave
    In the manner just seen here….

  • Willow Street Watch

    Its very simple folks…All of you have to SHOW UP at this town meeting and LOUDLY PROTEST not only the library matter but at this point you should be charging that this is an opening wedge to construct a wall of high risers all around the Heights. Third you should be pointing out that these buildings are being built to minimum safety standards and that there is NO planned expansion of public safety facilities.

    Anyone NOT showing up at this meeting has no right to consider themselves or be considered a Heights advocate or leader…

    And please, the grammarians….STAY HOME!

  • hmmmm

    I have found it fascinating that Mike White, Marsha Rimmler and all your other buddies advocating against building a spectacular new library and funding renovations for dozens of libraries all over Brooklyn are such bad writers. Maybe if you and your friends actually went into a library and read a bit you would improve your writing, your grasp of the English language and perhaps actually work to build a new and better library.

  • not a communist

    So what? A private school sells air rights to a private business in a private transaction? Who cares? Should every single private transaction in the neighborhood be subject to your scrutiny? Should I ask Citizen’s Defending Libraries for permission before I decide where to go for brunch?

  • Willow Street Watch

    I shouldn’t respond to drivel like this but let’s say Michael Faraday or countless other great minds who certainly suffered from limited perfection in the king’s English came foward and said that they had detected what we now know to be particle radiation and they were observing some negative physical effects in those exposed; would you consider the presentation or the content?

    Its long been the redoubt of propagandists and other distortion artists when they can’t answer a point, they resort to attacking the person bringing forward the valid argument.

    Mr White and hundreds of other concerned citizens in the Heights have VERY valid questions as to what is going on here.

    What they DON’T have is a body of effective methods to stop and reverse what is happening. This is not surprising, they afewre not experienced/trained political agents who know what to do. They’re average honest citizens. Which is not true of certain parties…

  • CHatter

    Not grammar, usage. And “it’s” is a contraction, not an abbreviation.

  • heighter

    Too small for a school I imagine, and yes a pre-k needs to be on the ground floor and have outdoor space I think.

  • Sheryl Hunter

    Who’s Grammer?

  • Sheryl Hunter

    A contraction is an abbreviation in that both are reductions. You’re quite right: “It’s” is a contraction.

  • Sheryl Hunter

    And a matter of grammar.

  • Doug Biviano

    a BHB reporter asked me Saturday if I was attending the ULURP charade, oops I mean hearing, and this is what I told him:

    If deblasio wants it, it will happen. If you recall I asked STEVE Levin twice at the first overcrowding meeting for PS8 to call for a moratorium on the library until the overcrowding issue was resolved. First he didn’t answer. When pressed again he said he couldn’t. I also explained at the meeting that historically at ULURP other council members would defer to in-district member on how to vote.

    Now read into a comment made by Lander at recent CB6
    meeting regarding Fortis plans for LICH. He said he would vote whatever way the community wanted on ULURP for LICH if goes that route, But he says the other council members will likely vote for it. That’s a very revealing statement on many levels:

    1. LANDER Is signaling to his council colleagues it’s Ok
    to vote for it even if he’s supposedly supporting the community wishes. He wants it to pass but wants cover. Lander overtly saying this seems unprecedented and slimy, that is instead of him saying his gonna press all his colleagues in council to vote with his community and that he doesn’t explain the historical precedent.

    2. LANDER is basically saying that essentially the community has no say whatsoever in ULURP (again not true as I have said historically council deferred to the in-district member) instead of educating that we do.

    3. A mayor and council run by the same machine, ie the
    WFP, rips the power from the community on all governing decisions in that community for a centralized policy ie de basio, WFP and their BerlinRosen consultant and clients (developers). I warned of this in campaign. It was our main
    theme. No one in Elected office will protect the community.

    Levin and Lander take their marching orders, not from the community, but from deBlasio, WFP and BR (and developers). They refuse to protect and represent the communities that elect them. Basically they despise true democracy and love their machine that keeps them in office. Bottom line is that they will do nothing to stop
    The library and LICH in ULURP but lie to their constituents that they are on the side of the community.

    The truth is if they wanted to stop these projects in ULURP
    they could do it with 25 phone calls to other city council members. Until the press continually reports on the context of their incredible power over development and the mayor, the refusal of politicians to use this power, these politicians will continue to make fools of all of us and destroy our neighborhoods with over-development and public giveaways to developers. So [BHB reporter], don’t worry about me showing at the ULURP charade, show some real journalism and report this in full context. Call these sell-outs out in the very precise power they have and that historically has been exercised.

  • mlcraryville

    Not yet mentioned are the shadows that this building will cast on the neighborhood. Shadow studies should be released right now for the community to consider. The studies that we were shown two months ago indicated extensive shadows throughout the year, regardless of the arc the seasonal sun follows, reaching many blocks into the neighborhood. Losing sky view is one thing. Being cast into shadow throughout the year and losing sunlight is even worse. Messrs Kramer and Marvel, let us see the shadows .your project will be casting.

  • Danny K

    There’s nothing communist about it. People who live in the neighborhood are interested parties. We’re taxpayers who fund, use and rely on local infrastructure. We’re invested financially and emotionally in our homes and our neighborhoods. You may not care (more likely you do not live here) but many do.

    Many moved here to get away from the luxury high-rises that plague Manhattan. Nobody wants them here except for the developers and the purchasers, many of whom will likely be foreign investors anyway.