Development Partners Sought for Redevelopment of Brooklyn Heights Library

June 20, 2013


Development Partners Sought for Redevelopmen of Brooklyn Heights Library

Library in disrepair to be replaced by a brand new library featuring sustainable development and high-quality design

Project will generate vital revenue for maintenance of BPL’s 60 branches; BPL incorporates input from Community Advisory Committee including a commitment to uninterrupted library services to the neighborhood


June 20, 2013

BROOKLYN –Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) today released a Request for Proposals (RFP) to select a development partner for the redevelopment of the Brooklyn Heights Branch.  The project will replace the aging building on Cadman Plaza West – which requires more than $9 million in repairs – with a brand-new facility, featuring sustainable development. In addition to the new library, the development is intended to generate capital funds that can be invested in other BPL facilities to help address $300 million in deferred maintenance across the borough.

“Libraries play an increasingly vital role in Brooklyn’s communities and we are simply unable in the current branch to deliver the level of service the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood deserves,” said Brooklyn Public Library President and CEO Linda E. Johnson. “By working with the City and a development partner, we can build a brand new branch, and raise money to address some of the Library’s overwhelming needs in other neighborhoods. We have engaged the community in this discussion from the beginning and will continue to incorporate public input every step of the way.”

BPL has convened a Community Advisory Committee, which meets monthly to advise the Library on priorities regarding redevelopment of the site. The Committee’s feedback directly impacted the parameters of the project detailed in the RFP, increasing the size of the proposed library, dictating key design elements and prioritizing interim space to ensure uninterrupted library service. The RFP mandates that the new library occupy at least 20,000 square feet, with no more than 5,000 square feet below grade and oriented to maximize natural light.

The New York City Economic Development Corporation has been asked to serve as RFP coordinator and real estate advisor.

In addition, several important safeguards have been built into the RFP to protect the Library and ensure that revenue generated from the development will directly support the institution. Responses to the RFP are due in September, and the Library expects to present its Board of Trustees with a recommended development partner by the end of 2013.  Once a development partner is selected, the project will be the subject of the City’s formal land use review process (ULURP), ensuring further public input.

Development goals for the project include:

  • Development of a new Brooklyn Heights Library Branch: BPL’s primary development goal is to build a new library to serve the Brooklyn Heights community for generations to come. The project is expected to generate sufficient proceeds to cover all the costs of building the new replacement library.
  • Generation of capital funds to invest in other BPL facilities: The partnership with a developer is expected to generate significant funds above and beyond the funding required to build and fit out the new Brooklyn Heights Library. This funding will be invested in library branches throughout Brooklyn that face significant capital challenges.
  • High-quality design: BPL is and expects to remain a vital part of the Brooklyn Heights community. As such it is important to BPL to ensure that any new development proposed at the Site be of the highest possible architectural quality and be sensitive to the historic nature of the Brooklyn Heights community.
  • Minimize disruption in library service: It is critical that the redevelopment process is as expeditious as possible and that any disruption to library services in the community be minimized to the greatest extent possible. The RFP will give preference to a developer offering an alternative space plan.
  • Sustainability: BPL and the City are committed to green building/sustainability and Active Design, which aim to minimize negative environmental impacts and promote public health through building design and construction.

The RFP can be found here:

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