Botanical Garden towers scrapped after backlash
After many weeks of speaking for the trees, the local Loraxes and community activists at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden have successfully halted the development of two high-rise towers that would have severely impacted plant life in the park.
Proposed for 960 Franklin Avenue, the two 34-story towers would have blocked sunlight from reaching vast portions of the Brooklyn Botanical Garden.
Additionally, the towers would cast a shadow over many other areas throughout Prospect Heights and Crown Heights, including nearby Jackie Robinson Playground, M.S. 375, and the campus of Medgar Evers College.
This past week, opponents of the project finally declared victory in the “Fight for Sunlight.”
First, Borough President Eric Adams stated his opposition to the plan. Although the borough president only plays an advisory role in the land-use process, Adams disapproval was a strong sign of waning support.
An official statement from Adams office explained that while new development on underutilized land is welcome when it offers affordable housing or other positive benefits, the towers at 960 Franklin were without precedent.
But the towers were dealt a much bigger blow when the City Planning Commission voted against the project.
In a last-ditch effort to salvage the project, real estate developer The Continuum Company proposed a revised plan for the tower that was 17 stories tall. The City Planning Commission rejected this proposal as well.
“The proposal is not only inappropriate for this location,” said Marisa Lago, chair of the City Planning Commission, “but also casts extensive shadows over the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens’ greenhouses and conservatories, which are unique, sunlight sensitive receptors.”