Community group claims $52M Brooklyn Heights library sale is unnecessary

Sources say the organization has $100M in unspent funds

Renderings of the Brooklyn Heights library and condo building at 1 Clinton Street (insert: David Kramer)
Renderings of the Brooklyn Heights library and condo building at 1 Clinton Street (insert: David Kramer)

Anger over the $52 million sale of Brooklyn Heights library land to the Hudson Cos. has yet to subside with a group and residents alleging in a complaint that the sale was not necessary.

“The Brooklyn Public Library has persisted in feigning capital poverty and manufacturing a so-called crisis to further a lucrative real-estate deal which will potentially benefit the library,” residents and a group called Love Brooklyn Libraries alleged in a complaint filed with the attorney general and city Law Department on Jan. 15.

The complaint also claims the library has $100 million in unspent funds, the New York Post reported. Budget documents show the Brooklyn Public Library can tap $107 million in city funds for long-term projects, compared with $90 million from January 2015, the Post reported.

Library executives counter that money has already been allocated for upcoming construction projects.

“We have accurately and even conservatively estimated the library system’s unfunded capital needs,” David Woloch, executive vice president for the library, told the Post. “Unfortunately, we simply cannot meet our capital needs with the capital allocations we receive each year.”

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The library said it needs $300 million to refurbish other branches.

Hudson, led by David Kramer, plans 134 condos at the planned 409-foot-tall tower at 280 Cadman Plaza West, now known as 1 Clinton Street. The units will range from one- to four- bedrooms.

There will be 268,000 square feet of residential space, nearly 1,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and a new library spanning roughly 27,000 square feet on the first floor and in the cellar, according to the building plans. At two nearby sites, 114 affordable housing units will be built.

The City Council approved the project in December, but the Brooklyn Borough Board delayed a vote on it earlier this month.

Earlier this month, the de Blasio administration was accused in a New York Post story of granting the Hudson Cos. a sweetheart deal to develop the land. City Hall and the Brooklyn Public Library defended the bidding process, saying there was no preferential treatment. [NYP and Curbed]Dusica Sue Malesevic