A new report regarding the controversial plan to replace the Brooklyn Heights branch of the Brooklyn Public Library with a 36-story condo building claims that the developer, Hudson Companies, has shortchanged the city. The developer agreed to pay $52 million for the site, with the promise to include a library on the ground floor of the tower and build affordable housing elsewhere in Clinton Hill. But Hugh F. Kelly Real Estate Economics, a group retained by Build Up NYC, a union coalition opposed to the development, claims that the property is worth more than that.
The report, according to the Daily News, finds that the $52 million price tag is "just 68 percent to 78 percent of the true market value—or $16 million to $26 million less than a fair price." Their analysis notes that it cost Hudson Companies $211 per buildable square foot between the money paid for the property and the new library space. That's less than the $270 average for development sites in North Brooklyn, they say.
BPL officials told the News that they value the project at $65 million, which includes $10 million for the new Brooklyn Heights branch and $2.7 million for an interim library during construction. Opponents to the project have attacked the plan because of the scaled-down size of the new library.
While Lenore Friedlaender, the executive director of Build Up, called it "a bad deal for New Yorkers," the Brooklyn Public Library and Hudson Companies are standing their ground, emphasizing what a fierce competition it was for the site. "We know that this proposal represents true market value because it was the result of one of the most competitive bidding processes ever run by the City, beating out 13 other bids," spokeswoman Madeline Kaye told the News.
This attempted setback comes at a time when the redevelopment plan is moving forward. This summer, Community Board 2 voted to approve the demolition of the existing Brooklyn Heights Library building in order to build the tower, then the City Planning Commission gave the go-ahead this month.
· Brooklyn Public Library deal reportedly falls short of market value, leaves NYC shortchanged [NY Daily News]
· City Planning Greenlights Controversial Brooklyn Library Project [Curbed]
· Controversial Brooklyn Heights Library Tower Moves Forward [Curbed]
· All Brooklyn Heights Library coverage [Curbed]