Beep suggests changes to Sunset Park Library redevelopment

A draft: The latest renderings of the redeveloped library and low-income housing.
Magnusson Architecture and Planning

He’s wants to edit this library plan.

Borough President Adams is recommending some changes to the Sunset Park Library’s proposed redevelopment. The Beep has backed the idea to sell the book-lender to developers — who aim to construct 49 below-market-rate apartments with a new library on the ground floor — but he is urging developers the Fifth Avenue Committee to re-jigger the floor plan for more open space and to set aside apartments to lift homeless families out of the shelter system. Officials are considering the changes, according to a rep for the builder.

“Our architects are looking at what’s feasible and if changes are feasible we’ll discuss things further with the Brooklyn Public Library,” said Jay Marcus, housing director for the Fifth Avenue Committee. “We think his comments were thoughtful and are seriously looking into all the recommendations.”

The group aims to buy the library at the corner of Fourth Avenue and 51st Street from the city, topple the 43-year-old structure, erect an eight-story apartment complex, and lease the ground-floor back to the library system.

Adams has publicly supported the plan — even pledging $500,000 from his office’s budget to help subsidize below-market-rate housing. The Beep unveiled his latest recommendations for the development last week as part of the city’s review process.

He suggests designers re-jigger a stairwell and residential lobby to make library areas more open — a move that would not increase the library’s square-footage — and is also asking the developer grant priority to homeless families whose children attend class in the local school district when renting out apartments — a policy he plans on pushing for all new residential projects that go before him for public review, a spokesman said.

If the project goes through, the Brooklyn Public Library plans to open an interim book-lending location in the building that houses Community Board 7’s offices, and Adams is asking that it expand the temporary bibliotheque into a meting room used by the board. A rep for the group said he’s fine with the idea, as long as they work out a sharing agreement.

“I’m receptive to the idea. We’d have to negotiate the hours so use of the room doesn’t interfere with the board’s use, but I’m definitely receptive to the idea,” said district manager Jeremy Laufer.

The board approved the project in November, but Council has final say. Developers hope to break ground in the summer and reopen the library by 2020.

Reach reporter Caroline Spivack at mspivack@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2523. Follow her on Twitter @carolinespivack.

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