Plan to turn Sunset Park library into 49 low-income apartments moves forward

October 17, 2016

In 2014 the news surfaced that Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) was planning to sell its Sunset Park branch at 5108 4th Avenue to a non-profit community development organization, Fifth Avenue Committee (FAC). The developer would demolish the 43-year-old building and build in its place a larger library with eight stories above that would contain 49 below-market-rate apartments, in part with public money allocated by Borough President Eric L. Adams. The developers say the plan will create housing for Brooklyn’s neediest residents. Brooklyn Paper now reports that developers are preparing to pitch the project to Community Board 7’s land-use committee on November 3 as part of a public review process. The city council has the final say whether it goes through.

Sunset Park, Brooklyn Public Library, Eric Adams, Fifth Avenue Committee, Affordable Housing, community board 7
Sunset Park branch circulation desk. Image: Krissa Corbett Cavouras via Flickr.

The apartments will be available through the city’s affordable housing lottery for people with incomes that range from $22,500 for a single person to $86,967 for a family of four. According to the plans, units will be set aside for residents of Community Board 7 and for local domestic violence victims living in a shelter. Eight units will be handicap-accessible and eight will take Section 8 vouchers.

In 39 of the units, rents will range from $532 to $1,272 per month; the remaining 10 units will be intended for higher-income tenants but still below market rate according to FAC, who has signed an agreement to keep rents low for at least 50 years (even if they sell the building). If the plan is approved, the apartments could be ready by spring 2019. The construction of the new library will not begin until an interim space is located for the library.

According to the BPL, the City of New York will own the new library, but Fifth Avenue Committee will own the building and land. Proceeds from the sale will fund the construction of the new, larger library. Critics have voiced concerns about the plan as it involves the ceding public land to a private concern. Brooklyn’s library system has said it needs to make $300 million in capital repairs; the Sunset Park branch requires more than $6 million in repairs.

[Via BP]


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