COBBLE HILL — A children's playground at the corner of Henry and Pacific streets will close early next week while crews demolish vacated Long Island College Hospital buildings, the developer told DNAinfo New York on Friday.
The playground, known as the Blue & Yellow LICH playground, is expected to reopen during the summer, a spokesman for Fortis Property Group said.
Exterior demolition on the Fuller Pavilion and Othmer Pavilion will begin next week, in hopes of completing work closest to the playground during the colder months. Interior demolition of the buildings has already begun, the spokeman said.
The playground's closure is a safety requirement from the Department of Buildings, the developer said.
The property is being cleared and prepared for a new healthcare facility and emergency room that will be constructed and operated by NYU Langone Medical Center.
The redevelopment of Long Island College Hospital is likely the most contentious issue the neighborhood has faced in recent years.
Fortis, which purchased multiple LICH buildings for $240 million, plans to build high-rise condo towers at the Cobble Hill site, much to the dismay of many residents in the historic neighborhood.
The developer has proposed adding affordable units, a local school, more parking and other amenities if it is allowed to rezone the property — a plan supported by Mayor Bill de Blasio, a strong advocate of low-income housing.
De Blasio, during his candidacy for mayor, was arrested in 2013 at a protest aiming to save the now-shuttered hospital.
But the rezoning would almost double the permitted space for residential units — 900,000 square-feet as opposed to roughly 528,000.
City Councilman Brad Lander and many local residents said in November that they would not support a rezoning of the former hospital site.
Without a rezoning, Fortis would only build luxury condo towers with no affordable housing or school.
In hopes of reaching a compromise between the feuding parties — one that would also include below-market housing — the mayor's office has been orchestrating negotiations involving Fortis, Lander and the Cobble Hill Association, Politico New York recently reported.