Judge closes book on Brooklyn Heights library, condo lawsuit

Love Brooklyn Libraries sued the city to stop $52M sale of 280 Cadman Plaza West to Hudson Companies

Rendering of 280 Cadman Plaza West (credit: Marvel Architects) (inset: Hudson's David Kramer)
Rendering of 280 Cadman Plaza West (credit: Marvel Architects) (inset: Hudson's David Kramer)

A State Supreme Court judge dismissed an effort by community activists to halt the Brooklyn Heights library redevelopment project, which includes a 36-story condominium.

Hudson Companies [TRData] head David Kramer said the decision means the developer can move forward with relocating the library to its interim location this month.

“We always anticipated there would be litigation given the number of public hearings and stakeholders, yet we were always confident that we could withstand any legal scrutiny,” he told The Real Deal. Hudson is set to close on the $52 million purchase of 280 Cadman Plaza West this fall, he said. It plans to replace the aging library and build 134 market-rate condos.

Hudson’s plans call for a 409-foot-tall building at the site, now known as 1 Clinton Street, which will house the market-rate condos, 1,000 square feet of retail and a 27,000-square-foot library – the largest library branch in Brooklyn. Hudson also plans to build 114 affordable units off-site.

The activist group, Love Brooklyn Libraries sued the city, the Brooklyn Public Library and various other stakeholders in February in an attempt to stop the sale.

In a July 7 decision, Judge Dawn Jimenez-Salta dismissed LBL’s motion to void various city approvals given to the project, saying that those approvals were “not arbitrary and capricious,” as LBL alleged. Jimenez-Salta also ruled that LBL’s lawsuit was not served within the statue of limitations since the library was not served with a copy of the petition until more than three weeks after the statute of limitations expired.

LPL member Marsha Rimler said the activist group is planning to appeal the decision.

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“The city is corrupt,” she said, adding that plans to move the library temporarily to 95 Remsen Street, owned by Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Church, could lead to censorship of certain titles. “If they don’t allow books, it’s not a public library,” she said.

The City Council approved Hudson’s plans earlier this year.  Proceeds of the sale of 280 Cadman will go to various library branches.

Mayor Bill de Blasio was also accused of giving Hudson a sweetheart deal for the property, a claim that city officials strongly denied.

Hudson is looking to raise $110 million for the project through the EB-5 program, which awards foreigners a U.S. green card in exchange for investing at least $500,000 in real estate projects.