As Mary Frost reports in the Eagle, at yesterday evening’s meeting of the Land Use Committee of our local Community Board 2, the Committee voted eight to four to approve the sale by the City of the Brooklyn Heights Branch of Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) to developer Hudson Companies, which plans to build a 36 story luxury residential tower (with “affordable” housing off-site, in Clinton Hill) with a new library in space on the ground floor and below.
The Committee’s approval came with three conditions. First, $2 million of the $52 million purchase price should be set aside as a reserve for capital repairs, such as to air conditioning, for the new library, in order to avoid the problems that have beset the old one.
Second, the square footage of the new library should equal that of the old one. There was discussion of what this meant. Committee Chair Carlton Gordon said he understood it to mean the present library’s usable floor space, including that now occupied by the business library, which the BPL plans to move to its Central Branch at Grand Army Plaza. Mr. Gordon said that, should the busines library move, the space could “be used for many and varied things.”
Third, there should be a community benefits agreement and memorandum of understanding between the developer and the community stakeholders intended to hold the developer to its promises concerning affordable housing and provision of an interim library during construction.
Although there was no public comment allowed before the Committee’s vote (it was allowed at the previous meeting, at which the Committee failed to reach a vote), members of the public were allowed two minutes each to speak at the meeting’s conclusion. The substance of the comments can be found in the Eagle story.
The matter now goes to the full Community Board, with a meeting scheduled for next Wednesday, July 15, at 6:00 p.m., at St. Francis College. Following that, the Office of the Brooklyn Borough President will hold a public hearing at Brooklyn Borough Hall on Tuesday, August 18, starting at 6:00 p.m.
Image: Marvel Architects, via the Eagle.