City Planning Unanimously Approves Brooklyn Heights Library Sale and Tower

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The controversial plan to sell the current site of the Brooklyn Heights Public Library branch to private developer Hudson Companies took another step toward reality on Monday when the City Planning Commission voted 10 to zero in favor of the proposal.

Brooklyn Heights Library Plan Approved City Planning

The current Brooklyn Public Library branch in Brooklyn Heights

As Brownstoner readers well know, the library plan entails selling the city-owned site at 280 Cadman Plaza West for $52,000,000 so that Hudson can construct a 36-story luxury condo tower with a new library and retail space on the ground floor. Hudson will also build 114 units of affordable housing in Clinton Hill as part of the deal.

After passing Community Board 2 in July, only to be “disapproved” by Borough President Eric Adams in September, the plan went before the City Planning Commission on Monday. Now that it’s been approved by the commission, it has 50 days to go up for vote before the City Council.

The unanimous vote was crucial. Because Adams “disapproved” the plan, it needed at least nine out of 10 votes from City Planning to move forward.

Brooklyn Heights Library Plan Approved City Planning

A rendering of the proposed new library interior

On Monday afternoon, the Brooklyn Public Library issued a statement:

“We applaud the City Planning Commission for joining Community Board 2, Brooklyn Heights community organizations, and Brooklynites who care about the future of their libraries in supporting BPL’s plan for a new Brooklyn Heights branch. As the Commission recognized, this project is a win-win for Brooklyn. In addition to bringing a new state-of-the art library to Brooklyn Heights at no cost to BPL, it will also help to alleviate the system’s capital crisis by generating more than $40 million that will be invested in libraries throughout the borough. We look forward to continuing this dialogue throughout the public review process.”

The plan has received vocal criticism from members of the local community. While $40 million from the proposed sale would be slated for fixing other branch libraries much in need of repair, Borough President Eric Adams has called for a more sustainable model for funding Brooklyn’s library system.

In a statement issued in September, Adams said, “we must seize this opportunity to resolve the larger fiscal crisis that our libraries face, with solutions that guarantee equitable and dependable funding for capital upgrades and branch programming.”

[Renderings: Hudson Companies | Photo: Barbara Eldredge]

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