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


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]


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…)


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…)


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…)


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…)


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]


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]


Incredibly — or perhaps inevitably, depending on your point of view? — SUNY has killed the judge-approved deal with Peebles and turned to the third bidder, Fortis — the one SUNY wanted to sell Cobble Hill’s Long Island College Hospital to all along. SUNY says Peebles was imposing unacceptable conditions concerning a bond and an environmental review; Peebles says SUNY is acting in bad faith and wouldn’t even meet with them, according to a story in The Brooklyn Eagle and other outlets.

A founder of Fortis and his uncle donated $17,500 to Cuomo’s campaign, according to The Brooklyn Paper. Cuomo controls SUNY.

Fortis would work with NYU Langone Medical Center and Lutheran Health Care to run a freestanding emergency room and ambulatory services — just like the Peebles bid. It would also develop rental apartments, condos and town homes on the property, including 25 percent affordable units. No new zoning is “anticipated,” Fortis said.

It seems to us the second, public RFP process didn’t amount to much. What do you think of this turn of events?

SUNY Ends Talks With Peebles to Buy Long Island College Hospital; Fortis Next Up [Brooklyn Eagle]


A Brooklyn judge has approved a plan to sell Cobble Hill’s Long Island College Hospital to Peebles. If it goes through, Peebles will create a mixed-use development on the site, including an emergency department and ambulatory care, but no full-service hospital, said The Brooklyn Eagle.

Hundreds of hospital employees will lose their jobs, and litigation on various aspects of the process is still pending.

LICH’s many supporters said they were disappointed in the outcome. The only shred of hope remaining for a full-service hospital at the location is that Peebles is required to hire a third party to conduct a needs assessment for a full-service hospital in the area. If the report says one is needed, Peebles would be required to create one. LICH supporters say the assessment should have been done initially and before closing the hospital.

On the other hand, unlike the first bid winner, Brooklyn Health Partners, Peebles is apparently competent and not planning any 50-story apartment buildings. What do you think of the outcome?

Brooklyn Judge Approves Plan to Sell LICH to Developer Peebles [Brooklyn Eagle]


In what the Brooklyn Eagle called “jaw dropping” news, the judge on the case asked the three remaining top bidders to come up with a deal that will allow a smooth handover of Cobble Hill’s Long Island College Hospital on May 23. If the three jointly purchase LICH together, it could bring the pile of court cases over the sale to an end.

Peebles Corp., Fortis and Prime Healthcare Foundation have complimentary strengths, said the judge. Of the three, only Prime promised to keep operating LICH as a full-service hospital. It would need to apply for a New York state license, which the others have.

SUNY has once again resumed shutting down operations, and stopped accepting ambulances Thursday. It will cease running the hospital on May 22.

“Three entities get together before five today and come up with something that provides for continuation of health care so the place will not close,” said State Supreme Court Justice Johnny Lee Baynes. “That’s where this should be going. One entity is strong in one point, and one is strong in another. There are three major healthcare players who have proven their skills to do the job. That’s the logical conclusion.”

Top LICH Bidders Discuss Joint Purchase of Hospital [Brooklyn Eagle]


In yet another mind-boggling reversal in the epic drama over the fate of Cobble Hill’s Long Island College Hospital, a judge has ordered the state to accept the deposit from and resume negotiations with the winning bidder, Brooklyn Health Partners.

The firm’s head said it will deliver the required $250 million by Tuesday and form a team with hospital workers and unions to keep services going at the hospital under a temporary license after SUNY ceases operations May 22, The Brooklyn Paper reported.

Top LICH Bidder Back in Saddle; Judge Orders State to Accept Check [Brooklyn Paper]
Photo by University Hospital of Brooklyn via DNAinfo