Posts tagged with "Brooklyn Heights Library":

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Here’s where art on the facade of the Brooklyn Heights library will go

Last week the Department of Buildings (DOB) approved demolition permits for the Brooklyn Heights branch library, clearing the way for a 36-story tower but raising questions about the ultimate fate of the art on the library's facade. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported that exterior demolition at 280 Cadman Plaza West will begin in late March, and take about three months to complete. The new tower, designed by New York's Marvel Architects, will add 133 condos, retail space, and a STEM lab for young people in the neighborhood. An almost 27,000-square-foot library will occupy the development's mezzanine, part of the ground floor, and a below-grade level. Though it's smaller than the low-rise building it's replacing, the city maintains that the new branch will contain more usable space. Moreover, the sale of the city-owned property to developer Hudson Companies for $52 million is set to generate $40 million in capital repair funding for the BPL. Although site work has begun, the library sale and delayed transfer of ownership have remained a point of contention for activist groups like Citizens Defending Libraries, which maintains that no work should begin until the deal between the two parties is signed. So, with plans filed and permits in, there's just one more question—what's happening to the art on the library facade? The Architect's Newspaper previously reported that New York City's Public Design Commission (PDC) had to weigh in on the two bas–relifs by Clemente Spampinato before they could be removed. Keri Butler, deputy director of the PDC, shared the latest on the art's final home in an email:
The Public Design Commission has reviewed the methods and materials for removing the artworks from the facade of the library and temporarily storing them, and has found these methods to be appropriate with the understanding that a proposal for relocating the artworks within the new development at 280 Cadman Plaza West will be submitted by September 2017.
Displaying Spampinato's work in the new library underscores its civic function while preserving the art more-or-less in situ for public enjoyment. There's no word yet, though, on where in the new building the reliefs will be hung when it opens in spring of 2020.
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Tree removal at Brooklyn Heights library begins, paving way for 36-story tower

A controversial project in Brooklyn Heights sparked protest yesterday morning as developers cut down trees to make way for a condo tower on the site of a former public library. The project in question is the Brooklyn Public Library's (BPL) former Business and Career Library. Last year, developer Hudson Companies won a $52 million contract to replace the library's building at 280 Cadman Plaza. Hudson Companies' plans to redevelop the site includes a 36-story tower with 114 units of off-site affordable housing. As part of their deal with the city, the developer would build a new, 27,000-square-foot library located at the base of the new building. Fast forward to yesterday morning when contractors arrived to cut down several trees on the property in anticipation of demolition. Michael D. D. White of Citizens Defending Libraries was there, along with three fellow members, to protest the tree removal in the context of the library's sale and conversion to luxury condos. "First, [the city and the developers] take something valuable, then they trash it, then"—White gestured to the tree crews hacking away—"they drive away the constituency in all ways they can." As The Architect's Newspaper reported last November, Hudson Companies filed plans to demolish the library in early November, even before they closed the deal for the site. Department of Building (DOB) demolition permits have been filed, though their final approval is pending. A spokesperson for the developer confirmed that the tree removal was permitted and lawful. Hudson is removing five trees total: four within the perimeter of the property and one street tree on the Cadman Plaza West sidewalk for which it paid restitution to NYC Parks. "The construction team will be taking measures to prune and protect the remaining trees on the sidewalk during construction," the spokesperson said. "At the project’s completion, Hudson will plant new trees on the sidewalks per NYC requirements." As the building inches towards demolition, site conditions have deteriorated in some areas. A recent visit revealed a pile of leaves and trash that has accumulated around the library's former entrance, which is visible from the sidewalk but encircled by a metal security gate. Debris from the construction site has been the subject of ongoing community concern, especially since asbestos removal began in October of last year. When reached for comment on plans to clean up the mess, the Hudson spokesperson released the following statement: "Our crews make sure that all public areas around the site are cleared and free of debris at the end of each work day. We also expect them to keep the site itself as clean as possible, and will ensure that they adhere to that standard." The ongoing development begs a final question—what's happening to the art on the library facade? Working with an as-yet unnamed building conservation and repair company, Hudson has plans to remove and store the panels, while BPL is developing plans for the panels' eventual placement. Correction: This article initially stated that demolition permit approvals were pending the site's transfer of ownership from the city to Hudson. The permits' status is independent of the deal closing.
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Another Brooklyn Service Bites the Dust: Long Island College Hospital to Close

It looks like South Brooklyn will have plenty of new condos, but perhaps a dearth of services. This morning, the board of trustees of the State University of New York (SUNY) voted unanimously to close Long Island College Hospital (LICH) in Cobble Hill. According to DNAinfo, Downstate Medical Center president Dr. John Williams told the board that the hospital “was losing money and draining the entire Downstate system.” Protests ensued at the public hearing from doctors, nurses, and hospital staff. The 200,000-square-foot campus could have a price tag of up to $500 million. This news comes on the heels of an announcement from Brooklyn Public Library officials that they plan to sell the Brooklyn Heights branch to a developer. The over-extended library is in need of $9 million to renovate the building. According to the Brooklyn Paper, the BPL is hoping a private developer will purchase the 25,000-square-foot property and build a residential building that also houses the library on the ground floor. A number of community members expressed their disapproval at the meeting. Luckily for interested developers, both LICH and the Brooklyn Heights branch are already zoned for residential. These pending sales, however, are part of a larger trend that is sweeping the city, and making headlines this week—cash-strapped city agencies and institutions are increasingly stressed and looking to relieve their financial woes by selling off properties to private developers.