Could the sale of the Brooklyn Heights public library to a private developer result in condos but no library? Is the site’s $52,000,000 price tag fleecing the public? Is offsite affordable housing segregationist?

Those are just a few of the cutting questions that emerged at a full-capacity City Council subcommittee hearing Wednesday to get the facts on the controversial sale of the current Brooklyn Heights library site to private developer Hudson Companies.

“This is the most controversial issue I’ve seen in my district since my election in 2009,” said Council Member Steve Levin in his opening remarks. “Passions are running high. Here, we need to look at the objective facts.”

Brownstoner doesn’t often attend City Council meetings, but we had a feeling this debate would be gripping. We were right.


In a surprising move, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams submitted his official recommendation to “disapprove with conditions” the plan to sell and redevelop the Brooklyn Public Library branch at 280 Cadman Plaza West in Brooklyn Heights. Adams’ announcement is an official part of the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) and means that nine affirmative votes are required from the City Planning Commission on September 22 in order for the development plan to move forward for a City Council vote.

Adams took issue with the fact that the plan contained no explicit guarantee that cash from the library sale would go back to the Brooklyn Public Library rather than into the city’s general fund. He proposed additional changes to the proposal, including adding a public school annex for the overcrowded PS 8 and permanent affordable housing to the site.

Adams also outlined an entirely new model for funding Brooklyn’s library system.


At the start of yesterday’s public hearing on the controversial plan to redevelop the Brooklyn Heights Library, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams asked the packed courtroom to maintain a certain level of decorum, reminding the 200-plus attendees, “we can disagree without being disagreeable.”

After the impassioned outbursts at July’s community board meeting on the Heights Library project, Adams seemed determined to keep things civil, saying:

“There is no way the most highly educated part of our city cannot come to an agreement on how we move forward to navigate the challenges of this conversation. This library conversation is only one of many… If Brooklyn can’t get it right, no other city is going to get it right.”


Developer Hudson Companies continues to navigate the tricky waters of public/private development. Last night, Hudson’s controversial plan for the current site of the Brooklyn Heights library branch was approved by Community Board 2, in a vote of 25 to 14.

In theory, Hudson’s proposal for Brooklyn Heights would wed public benefit with private profit — using the current library site to develop market rate condos while also providing a better library branch in Brooklyn Heights, much-needed funds for capital improvements at other branches, and 114 units of affordable housing in Clinton Hill.


Developer David Kramer’s Hudson Companies has released renderings of the Clinton Hill affordable housing it plans at 1041-1047 Fulton Street and 911-917 Atlantic Avenue. As readers will recall, both buildings are part of a deal struck to redevelop the Brooklyn Heights Cadman Plaza branch library at 280 Cadman Plaza West, next door to 1 Pierrepont Plaza, where Hillary Clinton has her campaign headquarters.

The renderings, more details of the project, and additional renderings of the condo building were revealed on a new website about the project last week.


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.