Public Advocate Letitia James’s annual “Worst Landlord Watchlist” went live Monday — but is it helpful, or libelous?
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
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
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
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.
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The Brooklyn Library has reaffirmed its commitment to keep open its popular and historic Pacific branch library following a story in Brooklyn Brief Wednesday that claimed the building, Brooklyn’s first Carnegie library, seemed fated to be torn down for private development despite library officials’ denials.
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.
Brownsville’s Stone Avenue Library is commemorating its 100th anniversary and its recent reopening after five months of renovations and improvements at a press conference this morning. When it first opened in September 1914 as a children’s library, hundreds of children lined up to explore the Gothic-style building at 581 Mother Gaston Boulevard, which was designed to look like a fairy tale castle by William B. Tubby, said a story in The New York Times.
Financed by Andrew Carnegie, it was one of the country’s first libraries devoted entirely to children. If you want to see what the library looked like when it first opened, the Times has a great slideshow with photos from its early years.
The branch has received several improvements, including a gigantic chess board and a “Word Wall” displaying 600 words children should know by 5th grade. During construction, the library was closed as briefly as possible — from November 30 to January 16 and from March 8 to 17. Check out the new interior after the jump!
Clinton Hill Library reopened yesterday with an improved interior after five months of renovations. Improvements include a new self-checkout, new central A/C and heating, LEED lighting and ceiling panels, a new paint job, a drawable wall in the children’s room, an updated information desk, new window treatments, new furniture, and a reconfigured, brighter interior space.
The library first opened in 1974 at 380 Washington Avenue. It’s between Lafayette and Greene. Click through to the jump for interior photos.