The Eagle reports that the City’s Department of Buildings has approved the application of the developer Hudson Companies to demolish what had been the Brooklyn Heights Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library. The building has been vacant since late July, when staff and contents were moved to an interim facility in Our Lady of Lebanon Cathedral, at 109 Remsen Street, pending Hudson’s construction of a new library to be housed in a 36 story mixed use residential and commercial building at the site of the former library, 280 Cadman Plaza West.
The Eagle story notes that some local residents, including BHB reader and commenter Justine Swartz, have raised concerns about preliminary work already underway at the site possibly causing asbestos contamination. A Hudson spokesperson said that the asbestos abatement work has not yet begun, and will be conducted in accordance with strict City Department of Environmental Protection standards. State Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon responded to concerns and contacted Hudson, who took her on a walk through the site. According to the Eagle, she agrees with those potentially affected that there are “legitimate concerns”, but also believes that “the developer and the library are taking them very seriously” and that DEP officials will be vigilant in enforcing compliance with regulations.
The Eagle also notes that the DOB’s approval comes before Hudson has closed on the purchase of the property, but quotes a Hudson spokesperson as saying ” it’s important to Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) to get the project started so that the new larger [presumably this means larger than the interim facility] library can be open to the public as soon as possible.” In addition, “[s]hould the project cease for any reason, Hudson is required to restore the site to the pre‐demolition state (minus the asbestos) at its own cost.”