The City of New York, by not adhering to New York State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR), expedited the sale of 280 Cadman Plaza West in Brooklyn to Hudson Companies. The developer demolished the structure that housed the Brooklyn Heights branch and the Business and Career Library of the Brooklyn Public Library. Hudson Companies plans to replace the community’s beloved library building, designed by architect Francis Keally, with a 36-story tower designed by Marvel Architects with 134 luxury residential units and a condominium to house the library.
Though the City of New York gave an environmental assessment statement, the city did not provide a complete environmental impact report in accordance with the SEQR Act.
Construction of a tower plus public space on this relatively small footprint can have multiple effects:
- Strain on downtown Brooklyn’s infrastructure including public transportation, water supply, and the sewer. The existing 100-year-old water mains in downtown Brooklyn are already under stress, one having broken March 2, 2017 which caused flooding on a main shopping street in Brooklyn Heights and in the subway, leading to train delays at rush hour.
- Blockage of sunlight to Cadman Plaza to the east and neighboring residences to the west. The current plan does not allow for adequate building setbacks on the Clinton Street side (facing west) of the proposed structure.
- Change of neighborhood character including the removal of mature trees and public parklet, which have already been destroyed.
- Change in street traffic. The city’s report ignores traffic volume and patterns as it exists at the site of the now demolished library and the community around it.
- Change in air quality.
In addition to construction of the tower, there are cumulative effects from other construction projects in the area. The city’s report does not account for cumulative effects of these developments on Brooklyn’s infrastructure, and air and traffic quality.
When we allow our local government to skirt state law regarding the environment,
they take away our light and degrade the quality of our air.
Love Brooklyn Libraries Inc. has filed a lawsuit against the City of New York, the BPL and other agencies for failing to provide an adequate environmental impact report, which should allow for public review. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, we need your support to take our case to court. Help us preserve our library and set a precedent against downsizing attempts at public libraries everywhere by donating to our cause.
Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) has claimed it needs hundreds of millions of dollars to make repairs to its branches. The BPL and the City of New York entered into an agreement to sell public library lots in order to raise funds for these repairs. These are some of the facts related to this proposal:
- The Brooklyn Heights branch property sold to Cadman Associates LLC (including Hudson Companies) for $52 million. $40 million is planned to be given to BPL. The use of the $40 million proceeds has not been well-documented, nor has the $300 million of repairs the BPL claims it needs.
- The Business and Career Library was once housed within the Brooklyn Heights branch. BPL planned Its relocation to the main library at Grand Army Plaza. This relocation reduces accessibility for wheelchair users. The main library is nearly a mile from the closest subway station with elevator access and has only one bus line at its closest stop. The Cadman Plaza branch is 0.2 mile from the nearest subway station with wheelchair access and has six bus lines.
- Hudson Companies promised to build 114 affordable housing units, off-site but within two miles of 280 Cadman Plaza West. The location of these affordable units is planned to be at
1041-1047 Fulton Street, located 2.1 miles away.
- The resulting library plan at 280 Cadman Plaza West has less square footage than the original library, which had been crowded on a daily basis.