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Brooklyn’s Long Island College Hospital redevelopment is now ‘River Park’

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The Brooklyn hospital’s tumultuous conversion has taken the next, inevitable step: rebranding

Now that the redevelopment of the Long Island College Hospital campus in Cobble Hill is moving forward, the project has reached its next, perhaps inevitable phase: rebranding. The Brooklyn megaproject-to-be has colloquially been known by the hospital’s acronym, LICH, since what seems like forever; but now, it’s getting a new moniker.

So say goodbye to LICH, and hello to … River Park. (Yep—that’s the name.)

The new sobriquet is undoubtedly a reference to the megaproject’s location near Brooklyn Bridge Park and the East River waterfront. The only official reference to the name “River Park” (on the Internet, at least) is from Rogers Partners Architects, which lists a Brooklyn project, though located in Dumbo, by that name on its website. (Rogers has not been officially named as one of the architects working on the megaproject; FXFOWLE and Hill West Architects are the only names attached, at least according to DOB records.) But the River Park moniker has appeared in other literature related to the LICH site.

The road to “River Park” has been a long and contentious one: rumblings of LICH going condo first began almost a decade ago, but the redevelopment process kicked off in earnest in 2015, after Fortis Property Group secured the site for $240 million. The developer has battled the community over plans for the site (and whether or not it would be rezoned to allow for more density) ever since then.

But late last year, Fortis made clear its intentions to move forward with an as-of-right development plan, which will bring market-rate condos and a community facility to the area. The developer has thus far filed plans for three buildings, as well as for several townhouses and a condo tower on Amity Street. The latter residences are due to launch sales sometime this spring.

It’s not surprising that Fortis would go the rebranding route now that plans have solidified: Back in 2014, Forest City Ratner did the same thing with Atlantic Yards after committing to a plan to fast-track that particular megaproject; and thus, it became, and remains known as, Pacific Park.

Update: A spokesperson for Fortis has issued the following statement on the rebranding:

The name River Park is a natural and fitting evolution for this idyllic location in Cobble Hill. Given the existing park space surrounding and within the site, which Fortis will only enhanced and beautify, and with the serene river adjacent location and spectacular East River views, the name is simply descriptive.

Update (3/23/17): A day after Fortis revealed its new branding strategy at the LICH site, we’re now getting a sense of some of the residential development that’s part of the megaproject. Fortis has filed “test the market” applications with the State Attorney General’s office, The Real Deal has learned.

While this isn’t actually a sales offering, it gives us a sense of what Fortis has planned at three residential sites namely 91 Pacific Street, 350 Hicks Street, and 349 Henry Street.

Plans call for 99 condos at Pacific Street, 48 apartments at Hicks Street, and 26 homes at Henry Street—similar apartment counts to when construction plans were filed in December last year.