C.B. 2 Land Use Committee Approves Library Sale With Some Conditions

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.

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  • Willow Street Watch

    As one of the community response speakers at the CB2 meeting said, the question is WHY did the board vote as they did…what influences were brought to bear which trumped dozens of residents and speakers at the last two meetings who strongly and with very good reason(s) opposed the measure. Why did they vote as they did? And why did the BHA indeed take the position they did….well could it possibly be the very sizable UNDISCLOS-ED amount wonderful St Ann’s school is reported to be receiving?

    Its high time for the average Heights resident to be asking some serious questions…and Howard Roark you may be additionally needed.

  • e

    I thought St. Ann’s had bailed out of this development.

  • e

    At least they appear to have put together a rendering that accurately reflects the height of the building? I remember their earlier picture had showed a building that was shorter than One Pierpont, until one intrepid reader called them on the deception. Do ppl agree that the height shown is real in this one?

  • Reggie

    St. Ann’s apparently has development rights to sell, which I am guessing they were going to parlay into the gym or auditorium or whatever it was that was going in the new building. Now they are just going to take cash.