Brooklyn Heights Public Library1

Hudson Companies today released new renderings showing a different, less glassy look for the wedge-shaped mixed-use tower it plans to build on the site of the Brooklyn Heights public library at 320 Cadman Plaza West.

The release of the renderings comes just before Community Board 2’s Land Use Committee plans to hold a public hearing on the redevelopment of the site Wednesday as part of the formal land-use review process the proposal must go through.

As readers will recall, Marvel Architects is designing a new 36-story building with 139 apartments at 280 Cadman Plaza West, the current location of the library’s Cadman Plaza branch. Hudson Companies is in contract to buy the site for $52,000,000 and the library will own a condo on the ground floor. The library will relocate during construction.

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Earlier this month residents in seven Brooklyn city council districts had the opportunity to vote on whether or not to fund a large number of projects using money allocated by the city to each district. The process, known as participatory budgeting, is designed to give citizens more of a voice in how city funds are spent. And now council members representing three of those Brooklyn districts have announced the results of the vote.

In District 39, which runs from the Columbia Street Waterfront, Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens through to Park Slope, Kensington and Windsor Terrace, eight projects were funded, including $150,000 for greening Union Street and 9th Street, $250,00 for building a story telling garden at the Park Slope Library (pictured above) and $200,000 for draining a chronically muddy path in Prospect Park. A full list of projects approved by voters in district 39 can be accessed here.

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During a public meeting last night, developer Hudson Companies revealed the locations of two affordable rental buildings that will be built along with market-rate units at the new Brooklyn Heights Library branch. Hudson will construct 114 units of affordable housing at 911-917 Atlantic Avenue (above) and 1041-1047 Fulton Street in Clinton Hill. The affordable units will be 100 percent privately financed, according to a press release from the Brooklyn Public Library.

On Fulton Street, it looks like Hudson will take over existing plans for a six-story, 28-unit building at 1045 Fulton. Karl Fischer first filed those plans under a different developer in 2013, and a funeral home and two neighboring buildings have already been demolished.

BPL also announced that the community will be involved the design process for the new library, which will include an online and paper survey, interactive exhibit and a series of workshops. Marvel Architects will lead the first workshop on March 23 at 6:30 pm at the Brooklyn Heights Library at 280 Cadman Plaza West. A second workshop will take place April 20. 

Brooklyn Heights Library Coverage [Brownstoner]
Image via Google Maps

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The architects and developers working on the new Brooklyn Heights Library branch at 280 Cadman Plaza West will discuss their progress tonight at a public meeting in the library’s auditorium. David Kramer of developer Hudson Companies will give an update on the project, which will include 132 market-rate units and a 21,000-square-foot library at its base. Hudson will also build 114 affordable units off site. Jonathan Marvel of Marvel Architects will discuss the library’s existing layout, and describe the design and programming process for the new branch. The process will be community driven, and anyone interested can keep track of the project through the library’s page. The meeting will take place tonight at 6:30 pm at 280 Cadman Plaza West.

Brooklyn Heights Library Coverage [Brownstoner]
Rendering by Marvel Architects

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The Brooklyn Public Library has received a $5,000,000 grant to build an environmental education center on top of the Greenpoint Library, according to a press release. The library has released some interesting renderings and plans for the project, which will add two more floors and a public roof deck to the single-story library located at 107 Norman Avenue. The 6,500-square-foot Greenpoint Environmental Education Center will feature a community composting space, a greenhouse with herb gardens, wind turbines, native plants, event space and classrooms.

The design from Beatty Harvey Coco Architects adds lots of windows and plantings to the one-story brick building with a mansard roof, built in 1973. In addition to the large public roof deck, the renovation will add a smaller roof terrace on top of the first floor. The LEED Silver-certified environmental hub will incorporate a host of “green” building materials, including rooftop solar panels, rainwater collection, energy efficient windows and high efficiency heating and cooling systems.

This funding comes from the Greenpoint Community Enviromental Fund, a state-run program that manages the $19,500,000 settlement awarded to the state over the ExxonMobil oil spill in Newtown Creek. Last month, Greenpoint residents voted on the second round of community projects vying for a piece of the settlement, and the library’s education center is one of the six proposals that won.

Click through for floorplans and an aerial rendering. There will be an opportunity for public feedback on the design and the programming.

The project is expected to wrap in 2018. What do you think of it?

Renderings by Beatty Harvey Coco Architects via BPL; photo by Christopher Bride for PropertyShark

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After a public outcry over plans to redevelop Sunset Park’s existing public library at 5108 4th Avenue with affordable housing on top, library officials Monday presented a revised plan. The new plan calls for a library of 20,000 square feet (vs. 17,000) and 49 affordable apartments (as opposed to 54), DNAinfo reported.

Nonprofit affordable housing developer Fifth Avenue Committee would buy the existing library and put up a new building in its place. The library would own the library portion of the building as a condo, while the Fifth Avenue Committee would own the rest of the building.

The existing one-story library is overcrowded at 12,200 square feet.

Some residents said the library should take up all of two floors, while others said again the development would threaten longtime residents. Some spoke in favor of a bigger library and affordable housing. For details on the affordable housing rents and income restrictions, click through to the DNAinfo story.

If the plan goes through, an interim library space will have to be found. The Fifth Avenue Committee will need to secure financing, followed by a year-long land use review process. Construction could start as early as 2016.

Sunset Park Library Redevelopment Plan Includes Less Affordable Housing [DNA]
Sunset Park Library Coverage [Brownstoner]
Photo by Kate Leonova for PropertyShark

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Community reaction to the Brooklyn Public Library’s plan to rebuild its Sunset Park branch to add affordable housing and a bigger library was strongly negative at the public meeting Monday, reported DNAinfo.

“It smells like gentrification,” said one of the more than 75 locals who attended. Even the executive director of the Sunset Park Business Improvement District didn’t like the plan.

As reported yesterday, the library would partner with nonprofit Fifth Avenue Committee to build a bigger library, which the library would own as a condo, as part of an eight-story affordable rental building. The structure of the deal is similar to other library and church development plans taking place in Brooklyn, but instead of for-profit development of mixed market rate and affordable housing, it would be 100 percent affordable.

Without commenting on the merits of the plan either way, we think the strongly negative reaction is telling of a shift in public perception of affordable housing. Rampant for-profit development of market rate housing with a small percentage of affordable housing may be tainting public perception of all affordable housing, and turning public opinion against development. Or maybe people just want their libraries to stay libraries. What do you think?

Sunset Park Locals Blast Plan to Add Affordable Units in Library Overhaul [DNA]
Photo by Kate Leonova for PropertyShark

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The Brooklyn Public Library is considering partnering with nonprofit Fifth Avenue Committee to replace its one-story Sunset Park branch library at 5108 4th Avenue with an eight-story building that will house a bigger library as well as affordable rental apartments. There would be 55 units, 54 of which would be affordable and one of which would be for the building super, DNAinfo reported.

All but 10 of the rentals would be priced at half the current market rates, according to an email DNAinfo received from the Fifth Avenue Committee. Studios would rent for $525 to $750 a month, and three-bedroom apartments would be priced at $796 to $1,249 a month. The remaining 10 units would be aimed at “moderate” income households and would range from $1,000 for a studio to $1,595 for a three bedroom.

The library would increase in size from 12,000 square feet to 17,000 square feet. The library would own its space as a condo; the rest of the building would be owned by the Fifth Avenue Committee. The project would cost about $25,000,000. (Presumably Fifth Avenue Committee would buy the property and finance the construction, minus the cost of the library condo, but the story didn’t go into those details.)

Library officials held a public meeting Monday with Community Board 7 at the library to discuss the plan. What do you think of it?

525-a-Month Studios Proposed for Redevelopment of Sunset Park Library [DNA]
Photo by Kate Leonova for PropertyShark

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Yesterday evening the board of the Brooklyn Public Library voted to go ahead with its plan to sell the Cadman Plaza branch to raise $40,000,000 for upkeep of other branches. Hudson Companies Inc. has been chosen as the developer of the new mixed-use building at 280 Cadman Plaza West. There will be space for a 21,000-square-foot library at its base and 132 market rate units, the library announced last night. Hudson will pay $52,000,000 to buy the site and construct 114 affordable units offsite, which will open at the same time as the building (about 2019 or 2020).

Marvel Architects will design the building. You can read more about it on the library’s website. (more…)

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Brooklyn Public Library’s central branch at Grand Army Plaza needs $100,000,000 in repairs but only has enough cash to cover $30,000,000, according to a report in The New York Daily News. Library officials are about to begin repairing the cracked and leaking roof over the wing on the Flatbush Avenue side, which will cost $1,400,000.

The current roof will be torn off and replaced with membrane roofing, a more durable alternative to traditional asphalt roofs. Next year, the library plans to repair the branch’s Grand Lobby, update aging fire alarms, and fix its creaky elevators. The 73-year-old Art Deco building also has faulty air conditioning, cracked windows, and decaying bathrooms with broken sinks and toilets.

The de Blasio administration allocated $18,000,000 for capital repairs across the BPL’s 60-branch system, which requires an estimated $300,000,000 in repairs. The library is still planning to sell its Brooklyn Heights branch to a developer. Officials began evaluating proposals for a mixed-use condo building with the library on the ground floor in December.

Brooklyn’s Central Library Branch Needs $100 Million in Repairs [NYDN]
Photo by gigi_nyc

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Get a free bike helmet today and bike around Brooklyn’s historic landmarks this weekend with Brooklyn Public Library’s Bike the Branches event. BPL is hosting a helmet fitting and giving away free helmets today at the Central Branch at 10 Grand Army Plaza from 4 to 6:30 pm.

And on Saturday, kids and adults can bike to all 60 of BPL’s neighborhood libraries and participate in various special events. African dancing and folk tales at Clarendon Library in Flatbush, puppet-making for children at the Brower Park branch in Crown Heights, and a Slavic Soul party in Sheepshead Bay are just a few on the long list of events taking place all over Brooklyn.

The library has also posted 12 themed bike routes that highlight Brooklyn’s historic places, including landmarked architecture, breweries and distilleries, literary sites, and early settlements. You can register for Saturday’s bike tour here — tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children or seniors. All the proceeds go towards maintaining and upgrading the library’s branches.

Photo by Brooklyn Public Library via Brooklyn Based