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Controversial Brooklyn Library Plan Gets City Council Approval

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On Wednesday afternoon, the City Council voted to approve the controversial plan to sell and redevelop the Brooklyn Heights branch of the Brooklyn Public Library. The approval comes a week after Councilman Steve Levin threw his support behind the development of a 36-story condo tower on the site with commercial space for a new library —given some conditions—signaling that the proposal would likely get the green light from the council as a whole.
The plan voted in by the City Council approves a library that's 24-percent larger than the initially proposed library. The new space at 280 Cadman Plaza West will measure 26,620 square feet, be open 7 days a week, and include dedicated space for STEM labs that will be monitored by the Department of Education. The deal hammered out by Councilman Levin also includes the creation of a new 5,000-square-foot library that will serve the Dumbo and Farragut Houses communities.

If Mayor de Blasio approves the plan—few mayors have ever vetoed a City Council decision, Brownstoner says—developer Hudson Companies can move forward with its $52 million purchase of 280 Cadman Plaza West, where they'll raze the existing library and build the 36-story Marvel Architects-designed tower with ground-floor library space.

While the amended plan, with expanded library space and new facilities, may sound like a win, those rallying against it are skeptical of its long-term benefits to the cash-strapped Brooklyn Public Library. One amendment written into the agreement approved by the City Council states that Hudson Companies has agreed to a "recapture provision" that means that they will give Brooklyn Public Library one quarter of their profits of an internal rate of return of 19 percent from the condo sales, 'stoner explains. Still, the $52 million from the site sale plus those additional earnings likely won't equal a sustainable solution to the library's $300 million funding gap.
· City Council Votes Yes on Brooklyn Heights Library Development [Brownstoner]
· Brooklyn Heights Library Redevelopment Gains Pivotal Ally [Curbed]
· City Planning Greenlights Controversial Brooklyn Library Project [Curbed]
· All Brooklyn Heights Library coverage [Curbed]
· All Brooklyn Public Library coverage [Curbed]