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Autumn means crisp weather, colorful leaves and, unfortunately for many, the flu. Although seasonal flu activity tends to peak at the beginning of the new year — in January and February — the season sometimes begins as early as October and doesn’t always end until May, according to flu.gov.

With so many free flu shots available borough wide, though, there’s no reason Brooklynites can’t enjoy the season influenza-free.

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It turns out reports last week that developer Fortis Property Group had finally closed on the sale of the former Long Island College Hospital site in Cobble Hill were not entirely accurate. The complete sale will come in three parts, and may take years to complete. Fortis closed on the first of the three parts Friday, Brooklyn Eagle reported.

The “trifurcated closing schedule,” to use the legalese, consists of an “Initial Closing” portion, now complete. Yet to come are the “New Medical Site Closing” and the “Final Closing.”

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The Landmarks Preservation Commission Tuesday approved Fortis Property Group’s exterior design for the historic Polhemus Memorial Clinic at 350 Henry Street in Cobble Hill, part of its recent acquisition of the former Long Island College Hospital development site. However, Landmarks did request one change: No new balconies, the Brooklyn Eagle reported.

Residents and LPC commissioners alike were vehement about the need to remove proposed balconies from the plan. They did not mince words, calling them “inappropriate,” “eyesores,” and “ugly, cheap appendages,” according to the Eagle.

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The health care facility New York University is building as part of the redevelopment of Long Island College Hospital in Cobble Hill will have big, pedestrian-friendly windows on the ground floor and be “flush with its prewar neighbors,” NY YIMBY reported. The Langone Ambulatory Care Clinic will replace a decidedly less attractive (and taller) LICH building at 339 Hicks Street.

It will have a new address: 70 Atlantic Avenue. Perkins Eastman is designing.

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At a contentious meeting of the Cobble Hill Association Monday night, LICH developer Fortis presented plans for an as-of-right 44-story tower and other high-rise apartment buildings that would tower over Cobble Hill. Much of the area is landmarked and no more than four stories high.

Fortis also presented a second plan that would have slightly lower buildings but require a special zoning variance and formal public review, the Brooklyn Paper reported.

Curiously, the $240,000,000 sale has not yet closed, although it was supposed to April 30. A Fortis spokesman said the company expects the sale to go through in the next few weeks but did not explain the delay, said Brooklyn Paper.

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The Cobble HIll Association’s Spring 2015 General Meeting will include an update on the controversial development of the Long Island College Hospital site. The group will also review the community planning guidelines for the development, according to a notice on its website about the meeting.

“The CHA knows local residents will remain passionate and outspoken on how best to make something positive out of the terrible situation,” CHA President Paco Abraham told the Brooklyn Eagle in a story about the meeting. Locals pols are expected to attend, he added.

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Health care group Centers Health Care revealed details of its plans to make over the long-shuttered and derelict St. Mary’s Hospital at 170 Buffalo Avenue in Crown Heights into a nursing home at a meeting of Community Board 8 Thursday night. The firm has already gutted the building and plans to convert it to a 280-bed facility with 30 parking spots.

It will reduce the size of the hospital’s current parking lot and plant a garden in the western half of it, which extends between two unrelated neighboring apartment buildings. There will also be landscaping around the perimeter of the building. Architect John W. Baumgarten plans to revamp the exterior with stucco and highlight the existing corner staircases to soften the hulking structure’s appearance.

Centers Health Care purchased the 170,000-square-foot hospital for $19,500,000 last year, firm reps said last night. (Records show an LLC.) The firm is a group of independently owned and operated health care facilities of various types, including Brooklyn Center at 1455 Coney Island Avenue, run by Prospect Park Operating LLC, which we reported last year had leased St. Mary’s from the new owner for $1,500,000 for 15 years. (As far as we can tell, that operator has no connection to the similarly named Park Slope assisted living facility, Prospect Park Residences, which has been in litigation over its controversial sale and closure.)

The firm has already submitted a ULURP application to the Department of City Planning, as well as a variance application to the Board of Standards and Appeals. St. Mary’s received a variance for its height (eight stories without a setback) when it was constructed in 1975, and the new owner has to re-apply for the variance now that the building’s use has changed. And every new nursing home project must go through City Planning approval.

St. Mary’s shuttered because of bankruptcy in 2005, and it’s become decrepit and graffiti-covered in the intervening decade. The eight-story hospital occupies the eastern half of a block bounded by Rochester Avenue, Buffalo Avenue, St. Marks Avenue and Prospect Place, close to the Weeksville Heritage Center. Click through for a photo of the current building, an interior rendering and a site plan.

Shuttered Crown Heights Hospital Will Not Become Condos [Brownstoner] GMAP
Building of the Day: 1260 St. Marks Avenue [Brownstoner]
Renderings by John W. Baumgarten Architect, P.C.