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Up to 700 New School Seats Could Be Coming to Downtown Brooklyn

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — A new school that would serve about 500 to 700 elementary school students could be coming to Downtown Brooklyn, according to Community Board 2’s district manager.

The city’s Economic Development Corporation and the Department of Education's Educational Construction Fund are getting ready to release a request for proposals looking for a developer to create a new mixed-use building at 131 Livingston St., with the requirement of adding the school seats somewhere in the neighborhood, District Manager Rob Perris said at Wednesday's board meeting.

Perris and CB 2 Chairwoman Shirley McRae met with officials from the EDC, the ECF and the department of Housing Preservation & Development on April 6 to discuss the possibility of creating the new school, Perris said.

The current building, between Red Hook Lane and Smith Street, houses District 13’s Impartial Hearing Office where disputes between the school district and parents are heard.

A new development could bring commercial, residential, office and school space to the block, according to Perris.

While the seats could all go to a new facility at 131 Livingston St., they could be divided between different locations, depending on the winning developer’s plan, Perris said.

During the private meeting with officials on April 6, Perris said the EDC acknowledged the need for additional school capacity in Downtown Brooklyn, where a swelling population has led to severe overcrowding at some schools.

A spokesman for the EDC confirmed the agency is looking at redeveloping the building at 131 Livingston, but said the building may or may not include a school.

“NYCEDC is in the early stages of exploring potential development at this site," spokesman Ian Fried said in a statement.

"While it’s too early to speak to specific uses, we look forward to working with community leaders and hearing their ideas in the months ahead.”

The DOE released a similar statement saying, "We are in the very early stage of exploring options, but there are no definitive plans in place. Before anything could move forward, a great deal of community engagement would need to be completed."

In a letter sent last December to the School Construction Authority, Borough President Eric Adams called for new school construction to keep up with the neighborhood's "historic and unprecedented amount of development growth."