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Gym-nauseam! Neighbors say St. Joe’s b-ball arena is ugly

The Brooklyn Paper
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OK, so it’s not Atlantic Yards, but St. Joseph’s College has unleashed the borough’s second-most-divisive fight over a basketball arena by unveiling plans to build an athletic center on a landmark block of Clinton Hill.

The small commuter college’s plans for a 330-seat fieldhouse on scenic Clinton Avenue won the slam-dunk support of Community Board 2’s Land Use Committee in January, but neighborhood residents followed that 13–0 vote with a full-court press, saying that the proposed façade is too plain for a street with the most beautiful homes in Brooklyn.

“That is the premier block of the entire community,” said Society for Clinton Hill member Sharon Barnes, referring to the stretch between Willoughby and DeKalb avenues. The Pratt Mansion, a building St. Joseph’s College owns, and other historical aeries dot the block, which is part of the architecturally protected Clinton Hill historic district.

“A stark box does not seem to be the best choice,” Barnes said.

The college would not make its rendering available to The Brooklyn Paper. According to people who have seen it, the plan calls for a two-story facility where a garden and building stand now. The school maintains that it needs a gym in order for its basketball team to be viable to attract students.

The Long Island-based school was founded in 1916 and currently educates just over 1,000 students at its Brooklyn campus. Its men’s and women’s teams play at Brooklyn Tech HS.

Opponents want the college to redesign the home court or build it above the school’s large parking lot on Vanderbilt Avenue, but St. Joe’s apparently said that such a scheme is unfeasible.

“[The school is] mistaken,” said Brent Porter, an architect at the Pratt Institute. “You can have the best of both worlds.”

To realize its hoop dream, St. Joseph’s must gain the approval of the city’s Landmark Preservation Commission, which is no lay up.

Updated 5:12 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

freddy from slope says:
b.s. detector:

"People who have been briefed on the plan said the school maintains that it needs a gym in order for its basketball team to be viable to attract students."

As basketball that much of a priority for a school of 1000 run by a nun?

-and-

"The Long Island-based school was founded in 1916 and currently educates just over 1,000 students at its Brooklyn campus. Its men’s and women’s basketball teams have suffered the indignity of playing their home games at Brooklyn Tech HS."

Yup, you got it. A gym that works for a school of 4,700(Bkn Tech) is not up to the standards of a 1,000 student division III school.

Such an indignity. Especially since the Brooklyn Tech team could whup the St Joes team.

And really, no rendering? This should be good.
April 23, 2009, 9:19 am
jeanne from clinton hill says:
so...this article places the 'arena' in clinton hill and ft greene while misidentifying the street as "Clinton St."

It's Clinton Ave. in Clinton Hill. Is this the quality of reporting we are to expect from now on?

And for the record, putting an 'arena' on that block of historic buildings is a really poor idea. Why can we not get any decent planning in this city???
April 23, 2009, 9:46 am
progresivo from fort greeene says:
Please show the renderings! I was at the Community Board 2 Land Use meeting and I thought the building was attractive. The issue for me is why St Joe's is situating the arena at this particular location. They have other options...
April 23, 2009, 10:42 am
justin from clinton hill says:
I have to concur with freddy up top. Design and historic block and all aside, why does a 1,000 student commuter school based in Long Island need a basketball team, period? Let alone a new "arena."
April 23, 2009, 1:05 pm
Dana Laudani from Clinton Hill says:
Where do I sign up? I'm going to fight this horrible idea tooth and nail.

St. Joseph's can do a great small building on Vanderbuilt Ave (where they have a huge waste of empty parking lots) and still give the students what they need. They MUST understand that the new building should enhance the campus NOT destroy it. It's a good idea locted in the wrong spot. There are lots of mature trees, beautiful historic houses, it would be just such a bad idea.
April 23, 2009, 2:59 pm
Wry from S Brooklyn says:
"[T]he school maintains that it needs a gym in order for its basketball team to be viable to attract students."

This place can only attract students via a _basketball team_?
Class act, there.
April 24, 2009, 12:41 am
ajm from fg says:
apce is too small for a gym and offers so much beauty to the neighborhood. why is the parking lot not feasible?
April 24, 2009, 12:01 pm
Alec from Cobb. Hill says:
ajm from fg says: 'apce is too small for a gym and offers so much beauty to the neighborhood. why is the parking lot not feasible?'

To be honest, a school has to make best use of its resources; it doesn't exist to enhance others' scenery or property values. And a two-story building isn't necessarily a killer.
But this idea still sounds off-base, primarily b/c of the view that "viability" = a basketball team.
April 27, 2009, 5:05 am
Nolo from Heights says:
No matter WHAT they do, or where -- someone's gonna say it's a blight, conspiracy, or insult that undermines the Historic Importance of [fill in the blank], will increase traffic/parking congestion, will strain utilities and hasten Global Warming, and poses a danger because it's within 5,280 feet of children, plants, animals, or one-celled organisms.
It's the NYC NIMBY Way.
And even if Michelangelo and DaVinci designed the place, people would say it was hideous.
April 27, 2009, 12:26 pm

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