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Never mind last week’s LICH shocker. Health care provider NYU is back on board, and it looks like the sale of Long Island College Hospital to Fortis will go forward after all, because a judge dismissed a nurses’ lawsuit yesterday. If we understand the legal technicalities correctly, the judge said NYU has no obligation to honor Fortis’ promises to rehire LICH nurses at the site.

Could pressure from the state have changed the judge’s mind or is this reasonable?

NYU Returns to LICH Deal After Judge Dismisses Nurses’ Union Lawsuit [DNA]
Judge Dismisses Nurses Suit, Clears Path for NYU at LICH [Capital NY]

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By all accounts, Tuesday’s Community Board 9 meeting was a doozy. From what we can piece together from some half dozen accounts in the media and what others have told us, since we weren’t present, in short, a huge number of opponents of upzoning Empire Boulevard disrupted the meeting, and Community Board 9 members responded in kind. Total chaos reigned, with lots of shouting and name calling; the board could not keep order and fanned the flames.

CB9 District Manager Pearl Miles yelled “shut up” at the crowd repeatedly (there is a video), District Leader Geoffrey Davis refused to relinquish the microphone, and the police were summoned multiple times to keep order. (For a play-by-play, including an outrageous exchange between the crowd and District Leader for the 43rd Assembly Diana Richardson, read the story on Brooklyn Brief.)

Eventually, under pressure, the board took a vote on whether or not to rescind an earlier decision to study the rezoning. The vote to rescind passed, but then it turned out that it really didn’t, according to New York City rules for community board votes.

In the words of Q at Parkside blogger Tim Thomas, who favors the rezoning (or at least is not opposed to it):

Karim Camara and reps from every major official, from the Mayor on down, were there and they were absolutely floored, speechless. The guy from Yvette Clarke’s followed me out to the parking lot with eyes wide saying “how could you let this happen? this was INSANE!” I told him L’shanah Tova and rode home.

Meanwhile, upzoning opponent and MTOPP member Adrian Untermyer filed suit yesterday to get a copy of the community board’s bylaws.

At issue is whether Prospect Lefferts Gardens will rezone to end high-rise development, which has recently taken off in the neighborhood. Some residents blame tall buildings for gentrification while others say high-rise development will bring much needed affordable housing to the area.

CB9: Chaos and Cacophony Leave Empire Boulevard Vulnerable and Fate Uncertain [BK Brief]
If You Want To Know How Things Got Outa Hand…[Q at Parkside]
Wow. That Was Weird [Q at Parkside]
Correct That. The Motion Didn’t Pass [Q at Parkside]
Alicia Boyd: Proud Townhome Owner, Anti-Gentrification Activist [Q at Parkside]
Vote to Rescind Crown Heights Rezoning Study Sparks Confusion [DNA]
Residents Rip Proposed “Upzoning” on PLG-Crown Heights Border [NY Daily News]
Prospect Lefferts Gardens Residents Fight Rezoning on Empire Boulevard [Brownstoner]
Photo by DNAinfo

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SUNY officials worked through the weekend to try to find another health care operator to replace NYU, which pulled out, and salvage its sale of Cobble Hill’s Long Island College Hospital to Fortis. But the search is not going well, according to a story in Capital NY.

“Expectations are low,” an unnamed state official told the publication. “To have anyone come in and offer what NYU was proposing seems almost impossible.” The “never ending” litigation around the deal is a turnoff.

Initial reports of NYU withdrawing from the sale said it was because of lawsuits. But Capital NY said the reason was because NYU believed the Brooklyn judge overseeing the legal cases was asking NYU to provide more beds and services than they had proposed, according to three sources cited by the paper. (more…)

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In August, the affordable housing provider (L+M Development Partners) withdrew from the Fortis deal to buy Long Island College Hospital from SUNY. Now the health care provider, NYU, is doing the same thing. The development “appears to leave the Fortis Property Group’s proposal to buy LICH in tatters,” said The Brooklyn Eagle, which reported the news.

NYU bowed out of its role to offer emergency services and ambulatory care on the valuable Cobble Hill property because of the nurses’ lawsuit over hiring, according to a statement from NYU reprinted by the Eagle. NYU had already invested substantial time and money in getting the health services up and running, including hiring 99 employees.

Ironically, when SUNY earlier rejected two higher-ranked bidders, it had said it doubted they could deliver the health care services they promised.

NYU Withdraws From LICH Deal, Throwing Sale of Hospital Into Disarray [Eagle]

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In a major turn of events for the Gowanus area, Lightstone has agreed to spend $20,000,000 helping to clean up its corner of polluted Gowanus, the EPA announced yesterday. Since the developer broke ground on its controversial 700-unit apartment complex at 363-365 Bond Street, neighbors have complained of “petroleum waste” fumes that reportedly cause “light-headededness, nausea and dizziness,” according to the blog Gowanus Your Face Off.

Part of the remediation includes the removal of 17,500 cubic yards of polluted soil, DNAinfo was the first to report. Crews have already been replacing contaminated soil with fresh soil and gravel at 365 Bond Street, above, but whenever they stir up the existing soil, fumes are released, according to Gowanus Your Face Off.

The construction site was once home to dry cleaners, oil terminals, warehouses and factories, which spewed suspected carcinogens such as heavy metals and PCBs into the soil. Another part of the agreement is that Lightstone will work with the EPA on a sewage and stormwater plan so future flooding will not release contaminants.

Lightstone agreed to the cleanup in exchange for the EPA promising not to sue the company in the future for any additional cleanup work — or impact from the development on the canal (or vice versa), the EPA press release said. So if the development, perhaps combined with another flood, somehow spreads around more toxic waste, Lightstone won’t be liable.

Do you think that’s fair? Public comment on the agreement will be taken until October 8.

Photo by GYFO

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The affordable-housing developer, L+M Partners, who was part of the Long Island College Hospital deal with the third buyer, Fortis, has dropped out, leaving doubt as to whether the development will include any affordable housing after all, The Wall Street Journal reported. If not, it puts the LICH plan right back where it started: When Fortis, LICH’s preferred buyer, initially bid on the property, it planned only market-rate housing.

The Journal article hinted that affordable housing could be included only if the developer were allowed to build tall towers on the site, something the first buyer, Brooklyn Health Partners, also said it might do — and not long thereafter, that deal was scuttled. The hospital is in the midst of a landmarked area in Cobble Hill where towers are not allowed.

Affordable Housing Is Unclear in Brooklyn Hospital Venture [WSJ]
LICH Coverage [Brownstoner]

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In an unexpected move, President of Brooklyn Bridge Park Corp. Regina Myer announced at yesterday’s board meeting the firm plans to hire consultants to perform further environmental review to determine whether an additional Environmental Impact Statement is needed for the controversial housing on Pier 6. If the park goes forward with a new EIS, it could take the teeth out of a neighborhood group’s lawsuit, which is trying to block the development by demanding a new environmental review to replace one from 2005. (more…)

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Well, here’s something we weren’t expecting: Forest City Ratner has rebranded Atlantic Yards. The new name of the development is Pacific Park. Forest City gave an interview to Curbed, which has a huge story, then sent us a press release this morning.

“While the development will forever be known as Atlantic Yards — there is a movie about it, after all — Pacific Park will be the new community that’s being built. Probably doesn’t hurt that a new name also sloughs off associations with past lawsuits, controversies over eminent domain, and visceral community opposition,” said Curbed. (more…)

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The son of the man who used to be the caretaker for the storied Slave Theater at 1215 Fulton Street in Bed Stuy, who claims to be the rightful heir to the property but lost a court case contesting its ownership, has prevented the new owner, an LLC, from taking soil samples and plans to tear down any fence erected to keep him out, according to a story in the Brooklyn Eagle.

Meanwhile, the LLC has amassed two other sites adjacent to the Slave Theater, said another story in the Eagle. The developer has not said publicly what it plans to do with the sites, but a mixed-use apartment development seems likely. Most important, plans to restore and continue the Afrocentric theater’s mission in a new form are, surprisingly, not dead.  (more…)

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The problem-plagued building designed by architect Robert Scarano at 165 West 9th Street in Carroll Gardens is still empty and its future uncertain. The last we reported on the matter, back in October, it seemed the city was on the verge of awarding a contract to shelter operator Aguila Inc. to turn the 10-unit apartment building into housing for 170 homeless men. The plan had been vehemently opposed by the community and local politicians who, after numerous meetings, rallies and a lawsuit, signed a petition, sent in written statements, and testified in person against the shelter at a routine city contract hearing October 17.

Then we heard nothing more. We happened to pass by the building recently and saw a vacate order tacked to the door, dated November 7. (more…)

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The City’s Board of Standards and Appeals Tuesday granted Methodist the zoning variance it needs to go ahead with its planned expansion. Park Slope activists who oppose the plan vowed to continue the fight, The New York Daily News and The Brooklyn Eagle reported.

More than a dozen 19th-century buildings will be demolished to make way for the new facility, which would rise eight stories and house a surgery center, cancer center and after-hours urgent care. There will also be underground parking for 300 to 1,000 cars. Residents have opposed the expansion on the grounds it will increase traffic on the already congested block and change the neighborhood character.

City Green-Lights Controversial New York Methodist Hospital Expansion [NY Daily News]
City Approves Zoning Variance for New York Methodist Expansion in Park Slope [Brooklyn Eagle]

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Sunday, SUNY made official the latest twist in the LICH saga: It announced an “agreement in principle” with Fortis to buy the LICH property in Cobble Hill and develop it into luxury condos. There will be more affordable housing and more medical services than Fortis originally envisioned before protests and court cases forced SUNY to undertake a public RFP process, but no hospital.

Meanwhile, according to the Brooklyn Eagle, the two closest emergency rooms, Methodist and Brooklyn Medical Center, have been so overwhelmed they are turning away ambulances.

SUNY Announces Agreement With Developer Fortis to Replace LICH With Condos [Brooklyn Eagle]