LICH developer files plans for first towers — and they’re just what locals feared

Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

It wasn’t a facade.

The developer building a massive housing complex on the site of the former Long Island College Hospital filed plans for two towers on Wednesday, dashing some residents’ hopes that its earlier threats to build a high-rise over the Cobble Hill Historic District were just a bluff to push residents into supporting a rezoning.

But, just as promised, the plans show builder Fortis Property Group is planning a 15-story residential structure on a low-rise brownstone stretch of Henry Street, confirming locals’ worst fears that their brownstone-lined nabe will soon be overshadowed by tall buildings.

“It’s always a punch in the gut to see towers in Cobble Hill,” said Amy Breedlove, president of local civic group the Cobble Hill Association.

The Henry Street building, between Pacific and Amity streets, will include 30 apartments, a 21-car garage, and a swimming pool, according to the plans.

There will also be a 17-story high-rise on Hicks Street and Atlantic Avenue that includes 46 units on the top nine floors, six floors of community facilities — which can be used by hospitals and churches, but also as college dorms — and a four-story parking garage for 282 cars that may also serve a new medical center next door.

The developer’s honchos had threatened to build glassy towers over the landmarked low-rise district if local residents and pols didn’t support their efforts to rezone the land so they could build more units than is currently allowed. In exchange, they said, they’d erect a less-ugly complex farther away from the historic district.

When residents didn’t bite, the real estate tycoons announced in November that they will just going ahead with structures allowed under current zoning, and Cobble Hill Association members crossed their fingers that the developer’s earlier threats were all bluster.

But the plans filed Wednesday are broadly similar to those presented to the community in October last year, give or take a few stories.

Breedlove says it’s disappointing to see Fortis go through with building on the edge of the landmarked thoroughfare, but hardly surprising given the firm is trying to squeeze as much cash as it can from the project.

“We don’t want that height on the east side of Henry Street,” she said. “But it’s understandable given that a developer wants to take the maximum [building area] to make the most money.”

The two towers represent just a small part of the entire development — Fortis still hasn’t filed plans for the bulk of the complex in the two blocks bounded by Hicks, Henry, and Amity streets and Atlantic Avenue.

The developer has also not released new renderings of the complex, but the most recent ones feature a lot of glass, which particularly pained lovers of local historic architecture.

Fortis declined to comment.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Reasonable discourse

Charles from Bklyn says:
This result is simple to explain. Our Democratic representatives, including the governor, mayor and counsel people sold this neighborhood and Brooklyn out to their friends and screwed the middle class. And we wonder why Trump won? In part because the Democratic party is a sham.
Dec. 9, 2016, 7:28 pm
Man from Newkirk Plaza says:
Don't historic districts have boundaries?
Dec. 10, 2016, 12:53 am
clm from bklyn hts says:
Does this plan include any affordable housing?
Dec. 10, 2016, 8:32 am
hb from fort greene says:
methinks it's time for the Hudson Valley...
Dec. 10, 2016, 3:37 pm
Maria Wilson from South Brooklyn says:
Wait, wait... Didn't this used to be a publicly owned hospital... What happened Cuomo?
Dec. 10, 2016, 11:10 pm
Judi Francis from Cobble Hill says:
15 story and 17 Story buildings on an historic block, butt up against brownstones on Pacific and Amity, with presumably a large parking lot on Amity, represents the first incursion into the 21 block historic district, ever.

This is a colossal failure of leadership. The desire of the most senior community leaders - not of the current batch - was to work with Fortis on where the bulk goes, demand a reduction the absurd number of so-called community benefits (foisted on this site by the Mayor and his allies) which would have greatly reduced the size of this development, and make the units bigger thus reducing the “density” (which is, in itself, a base canard because there will always be more density - we live in NYC folks). The goal was to manage and plan, not pander and accuse.

With good planning we can envision a better place, with greater affordability for elders in particular (in concert with the remaining excellent Cobble Hill Health Center at this site's doorstep), and accommodate those who ARE coming. But because people didn’t understand ULURP or didn’t want to understand it, and resorted to fear mongering on “density”, we lost the vital opportunity to shape our community for the future.

There was an agreed-to framework and process to work with Fortis but, as we have seen on the national stage, when you don’t know the facts, misrepresent the truth and pander to fear, the result will not be good.
Dec. 11, 2016, 7:58 am
What is Judi talking about? says:
@Judi - There was no agreed to framework or any communication with Fortis and any of the electeds for months. All of the stories have reported this as a fact.

What evidence do you have to prove otherwise?

Also the ULURP called for way more market rate square footage along with smaller (more dense) affordable units so not sure how your claim of less density in ULURP is correct...
Dec. 11, 2016, 11:58 am
White Collar / Orange Jumpsuit says:
Q: How did Fortis come to own this property?

The rest of the discussion is B.S. if not irrelevant.

Too bad Preet can't get after THESE crooks.
Dec. 11, 2016, 12:13 pm
NN from Boerum Hill says:
I blame the Cobble Hill Association and everyone else who fought against the rezoning. Fortis offered a plan that took the neighborhood's concerns into account, but CHA opposed it.

Now we're stuck with this awful, out-of-place tower, no new school, and no affordable housing.
Dec. 11, 2016, 1:08 pm
Judi Francis from Cobble Hill says:
For Fortis' agreed-to framework:

If you believe As of Right is a win for the community, then I simply disagree. It is a terrible loss for the historic district.

Once Fortis was told they were "making too much money", why on earth would they want to pick up the phone and call the community?

(I write under my own name - you should too.)
Dec. 11, 2016, 7:06 pm
Mom from Clinton Hill says:
So glad to see they're planning on adding all that parking... Really seems like they're thinking about the future, especially since the BQE is a total mess and will need closing.

I have trouble with the caption that says this is a vision for the site.
Dec. 11, 2016, 9:42 pm
carolegardens from cobble hill says:

If they can pass this by 'well to do' Cobble Hill with its historic district designation does any one dare envision what is in store for the rest of us?
Not me. Nope.
Dec. 12, 2016, 8:47 pm

Comments closed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: