Brad Lander is latest enemy of Fortis’ LICH project

Debate over the de Blasio-backed plan continues to heat up
November 20, 2015 03:17PM

UPDATED, 12:15 p.m., Nov. 23: Fortis Property Group’s plans for the former Long Island College Hospital site have made a key enemy.

Council member Brad Lander, who represents Cobble Hill, formally announced on Wednesday that he doesn’t support a redevelopment plan that would rezone the site and calls for a 37-story luxury condominium building, Politico reported.

The plan, which is backed by Mayor Bill de Blasio, is one of two on the table: The other would be executed as an as-of-right development project, which doesn’t require any approval from the city planning commission or the board of standards and appeals. While Lander and other community members spoke out against both plans at the Cobble Hill Association meeting on Wednesday, the rezoning plan was pegged as the bigger of two evils, as it threatens to open the door for additional residential development.

Community members have railed the rezoning plan. Last month, Fortis changed its “as-of-right” plan to include a 260,000 square foot university housing facility on Amity and Hicks streets, a move some interpreted as an attempt to push approval for the rezoning plan.

“Rather than make the rezoning proposal better, they made the as-of-right proposal worse,” Lander told Politico.

Fortis obtained permits to demolish the former hospital this month after buying the site from SUNY for $240 million last year. Lander said that he conducted a community survey that showed a majority of his constituents oppose rezoning the site. Fortis countered that it also conducted a survey that showed most community members support the rezoning plan. [Politico]Kathryn Brenzel

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the former Long Island College Hospital had been demolished. The story has been corrected to indicate that Fortis obtained demolition permits this month.