Culture shock: Library, arts spaces in Ft. Greene tower delayed indefinitely due to dragging deal

Culture shock: Library, arts spaces in Ft. Greene tower delayed indefinitely due to dragging deal
Brownstoner / Craig Hubert

Work on long-promised new cultural spaces inside a Fort Greene tower near the Brooklyn Academy of Music is delayed indefinitely, until the city can hash out a deal with the building’s developer to acquire the sites and break ground, according to a rep for the agency overseeing the project.

“NYCEDC is working diligently with the developer to finalize acquisition and transfer details of the property,” said a rep for the city’s Economic Development Corporation. “We look forward to advancing this project and delivering a vibrant cultural facility that’s aligned with the community’s vision.”

Back in 2013, the city approved Brooklyn-based developer Two Trees’s plans to construct its 32-story tower dubbed 300 Ashland on a former city-owned parking lot bounded by Flatbush Avenue, Lafayette Avenue, and Ashland and Hanson places.

The project included setting aside ground-floor space in the building for new cultural centers — including a branch of the Brooklyn Public Library, a home for the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts, space for African-arts group 651 Arts, and Brooklyn Academy of Music cinemas — as well as other commercial operations, including Whole Foods and Apple Store outposts.

The tech store and supermarket opened in late 2017 and early 2018, respectively, but the cultural spaces are at a standstill until city officials and Two Trees bigwigs can agree to terms on their deal, according to the Economic Development Corporation rep, who said the ink should dry on the agreement by the fall.

“The delay is due to ongoing negotiations and a need to finalize terms of acquisition,” he said. “We hope to complete the transfer by summer-fall of this year, and costs are still being finalized.”

Still, work on the new reading room and cultural spaces now won’t kick off any sooner than next year, according to a Brooklyn Public Library rep, who back in September said book lenders had yet to receive a green light or final timeline for the job from the city.

A rep for Two Trees said its leaders are working closely with the economic agency — which this month went back to the drawing board with its 15-years-in-the-making plan to build a green space above a high-tech parking garage Downtown when it severed ties with the project’s developer — to finalize the agreement and start work on the cultural facilities.

“Two Trees has been working diligently with EDC for months on facilitating the transfer of the completed core and shell of the cultural space to the city,” a spokesman for the real-estate firm said. “Everyone is on the same page about the urgency of getting this cultural facility finally opened.”

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@schnepsmedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.