A proposed Brooklyn, New York-based mixed-use redevelopment project for The Brooklyn Hospital Center (“TBHC”) and Long Island University (“LIU”) is a shining example of urban renewal and revitalization. These two institutions are redeveloping their respective, adjacent campuses in the burgeoning Fort Greene neighborhood. The project is expected to develop the area as a center for urban living and a hub for the academic community using robust urban design principles. This evolving area of downtown Brooklyn serves a major of influx of residential and business uses. The redevelopment strategy will provide the footprint for expanding health and educational services for this urban community.
The site incorporates the historic campus of TBHC adjacent to the 20-acre Fort Greene Park and the downtown campus of LIU. It encompasses two blocks in downtown Brooklyn, from Fort Greene Park on the east, Willoughby Street to the north, DeKalb Avenue to the south, and Flatbush Ave, including the extension to the west. The plan is conceived as the sharing of air rights and development rights between these institutions to achieve a “new” campus plan that unites the two campuses and creates a vital link between the open-air quadrangles and athletic fields of LIU with Fort Greene Park.
Along with more than 1,000 units of residential market housing, the redevelopment will include 250,000 square feet of medical/ambulatory care space, along with more than 100,000 square feet of new campus classroom and research space. Parking for more than 1,000 vehicles is also part of the plan along with open space terraces, lawns and green connectors. In total, more than 1.5 square feet of building space is part of the conceived redevelopment.
The sharing of FAR (floor area ratio) between the two campuses represents a unique and inventive approach to solving both the physical and financial needs of both institutions. In all, the 1.25-million-square-feet of transferred development rights represent a market value more than $125 to $200 million. This pooling of air rights is a major financial benefit to both institutions.
In accordance with stringent New York zoning laws, plans call for two residential glass towers that are conceived as replacement structures for obsolete buildings on both campuses. The base of the towers will contain a portion of the academic and health uses. A separate, freestanding medical facility is planned on the corner of Ashland and DeKalb, and will be located at the southeast corner of the principal block. A new parking garage replaces an existing 10-story structure and will provide open air recreation space, a seating element that can act as a platform for the adjacent athletic fields across Ashland as well as provide a physical connection to Fort Greene Park lying to the east of the development zone.
As with most urban development, the TBHC/LIU redevelopment project is guided by a clear commitment to sustainable planning, design and management vision. TBHC, though aging, is a historically significant building that has been part of this burgeoning community for decades. With many wonderful historic structures already in place, the adaptive reuse project calls for creatively cantilevering over existing buildings to enhance these structures’ aesthetic appeal.
Additionally, the parkscape will include a water reclamation system that will provide gray water harvesting for use off-site, and reduce the amount of fresh water consumption. The buildings themselves will be designed around modern energy codes and covered by high-performance curtain wall systems. Perhaps most important, this project is about landmark creation for both facilities. The redevelopment will provide a “face-lift” to an area of the city that currently doesn’t have a strong identity, seamlessly integrating both facilities into the urban fabric of the community.