New York Communities for Change and UPKNYC are hosting a Brooklyn town hall meeting tonight at Brooklyn Borough Hall to educate the public and drum up support for Mayor de Blasio’s plan to fund universal pre-K and additional after school activities across the city. The mayor wants to support these new initiatives with a five-year increase on the city income tax for those earning $500,000 and up from 3.876 percent to 4.41 percent, which would bring in an estimated $530,000,000 in new revenue annually, according to a press release sent out by the event organizers.
The plan, which needs approval from Cuomo and the state legislature, would help 53,767 children who receive inadequate pre-K or none at all. Through the tax increase, the city also wants to expand after-school programs for 120,000 middle schoolers, with new programs between 3 and 6 pm in academics, culture and athletics.
“Albany has promised universal pre-K since 1997, but funding commitments haven’t materialized and tens of thousands of New York City children are left behind,” the release continued. “New York City should have home rule authority to raise its own taxes, to provide a dedicated funding source guarantees program stability.”
The meeting is planned for 6:30 to 8:30 pm tonight at 209 Joralemon Street.
A partial steel structure is up at 297 North 7th Street, where the project is the subject of a lawsuit. The building is supposed to be a nine-story school with 34,827 square feet, according to new building permits.
We’re not sure if the site has been active recently. When we went by we didn’t see any workers, but it was after hours on a weekday. After building permits were initially approved in August, days later two real estate firms sued the developer for allegedly failing to pay a commission they were due for finding a tenant for the space, private school company MetSchools, as The Real Deal reported at the time.
The developer is Harry Einhorn – yes, that same Harry Einhorn we wrote about yesterday. He was convicted of fraud in 2002 and has been in the news for raising the rent on a senior center and day care nearby as well as plans to build a huge condo development on 4th Avenue.
A panel on gentrification Thursday night at P.S. 321 proposed some concrete ideas for things people can do to improve affordability and increase diversity in their neighborhoods and schools. As a slide show of photos of Brooklyn’s changing communities played in the background, three sociology professors, all of whom live in Brooklyn, briefly presented their research on gentrification and then took questions from the audience. The panel was convened by the school’s Diversity Committee, made up of P.S. 321 parents.
The main way to improve affordability and diversity in the borough is to increase the availability of affordable housing, said the panel. There are many ways to do this, including via rent regulation, community land trusts, co-ops and taxpayer-funded development. “We should be advocating more public investment in these projects, especially at the federal level, and ensure distribution in the most equitable way, including to different neighborhoods,” said Emily Molina, a professor at Brooklyn College whose research focuses on the uneven impact of the ongoing foreclosure crisis. “The private market will not do that.”
Practical suggestions for improving diversity at P.S. 321 included joint projects with other schools. “Figure out what resources you have to share so you can be involved in joint projects,” said Brooklyn College Professor Emeritus of Sociology Jerome Krase. “Think of the district as being one large school.” (more…)
The Medgar Evers College Library in Crown Heights is getting a facelift, and these renderings we found tacked to the fence show what it will look like when construction wraps in May. The building at 1650 Bedford Avenue between Crown and Montgomery streets has been under construction since March, according to one of the workers on site. There will also be a new student welcome center in the front of the library.
We’ve included interior renderings and a current photo of the library after the jump. What do you think of the new design and updates to this 25-year-old building? GMAP
Carnegie Mellon yesterday announced it will open a 16,000-square-foot science campus in Steiner Studios in the Navy Yard, The New York Times reported. The program will focus on technology and the arts, and include master’s degree programs in game design and emerging media, computational data science, and production technology and management for urban design.
The address of the program will be 25 Washington Avenue, “a historic seven-story building that will also house the Brooklyn College Graduate School of Cinema,” said the Times.
The program is slated to open in August 2015 and will cost $20 million, including $3.5 promised by New York City. David Steiner, the father of Steiner Studios’ chairman, is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon and helped with the project.
Brooklyn Friends School, an independent private school in downtown Brooklyn, signed a lease today for 45,000 square feet at MetroTech at 116 Lawrence Street, soon to become its new Upper School building. Forest City Ratner manages the 23-story high rise, which faces the courtyard of MetroTech buildings as well as Lawrence and Jay Streets. The new Upper School is just two blocks from Brooklyn Friends’ current campus at 375 Pearl Street and will double the size of the school.
The school facilities are being designed by FXFOWLE Architects and will house four science labs, three art studios, a black box theater, dance and music studios, and more than 1,000 square feet of physical fitness space. Until now, Brooklyn Friends’ high school students have traveled to other buildings so they could use art and science labs, and the new space will allow them to take all their classes in one building. About 770 students from pre-K through high school attend Brooklyn Friends, which recently renovated 8,000 square feet of space at 375 Pearl to accommodate its growing enrollment.
The Quaker school will be one of many large tenants at the MetroTech complex, including MakerBot Industries, NYU Polytechnic Institute, El Diario newspaper and the New York City Fire Department. GMAP
Greene Hill School, a private elementary school a block south of the Navy Yard, tells us they’re expanding to include a middle school. The school, which has a sliding tuition scale based on income, currently serves 100 children in pre-K through fifth grade. They just started accepting applications for their first sixth grade class, to start in fall 2014. By 2016, they will have a comprehensive pre-K through eighth grade program. Greene Hill occupies a 19th-century Catholic school building at 39 Adelphi Street, which they rent from the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn. However, the school is independent and not affiliated with a religious group. For more information, check out their admissions page and the brochure (PDF) for the new middle school. GMAP
City Tech’s Klitgord building at 285 Jay Street on the corner of Tillary has been demolished. The new building is going to have a lot more windows than the old one. An application for a new building was approved in June. The 256,888-square-foot educational and community facility will have eight stories. As previously reported, it will house City Tech’s science and clinical health programs, a new theater, a wellness center and athletic facilities.
Construction at St. Joseph’s College gym seems to be progressing nicely. Last week, they started putting up glass walls over the steel frame, and some of the brick on the upper section has been laid. When it’s finished, the gym will have a basketball and volleyball court, athletic department offices and a fitness center. Check out a rendering of the gym, which St. Joseph’s said will “literally glow at night.”
P.S. 133, whose new admissions standards have been hailed as a model for diversity, opened this week in a new building on its former site at 610 Baltic Street in Park Slope. A reader sent in these photos of the campus, which serves 935 students from pre-kindergarten through fifth grade.
The new facility has 39 standard classrooms and six special education ones, as well as science labs, prep rooms, a kitchen, cafeteria, auditorium, library, gymnasium, medical suite, guidance offices, parent community rooms and administrative offices. And it incorporates part of the old school’s facade in its auditorium.
In a complicated deal last year, the Community Education Council approved a Park Slope school rezoning pushed by the Department of Education in exchange for a diversity program at P.S. 133 that gives preference to English language learners and students who qualify for free and reduced lunch.
“P.S. 133, in its new building, has become more than just a school, it has become a symbol of the value of diversity in New York City,” Council Member Brad Lander said in a prepared statement. The official ribbon cutting took place August 29. Click through to see more photos of the interior of the new building.
A group of parents advocating for more schools in Downtown Brooklyn has asked nine developers to build a school shell in their upcoming projects in exchange for more buildable capacity or tax breaks, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported. Downtown Brooklyn School Solutions projects another 8,000 or more residential units planned for downtown will bring an additional 2,600 children into the neighborhood by 2018, overwhelming the existing excess capacity of 400 for students.
An open letter posted Aug. 4 on the group’s website calls on owners of nine specific Downtown Brooklyn development sites to consider doing so. The list at the group website includes Forest City Ratner, which is demolishing 10 MetroTech to build housing. It also targets Tom and Fred Elghanayan of TF Cornerstone, who are tearing down the parking garage at 276-300 Livingston St. to build a huge apartment complex – and looking to buy Brooklyn Community Services’ building next door to enlarge their site, as Eye on Real Estate recently reported.
The article then goes on to detail all the construction happening in the area and where it stands now, focusing on six glassy tower projects. The rental-condo hybrid at 388 Bridge Street is expected to finish up early next year, the story said.