New building has library and affordable housing

The ribbon was finally cut at the building that houses Sunset Park’s new library and a slew of affordable apartments.

Members of the Brooklyn Public Library (BPL), Fifth Avenue Committee (FAC), community leaders and elected officials joined local residents at the ceremony on Fourth Avenue and 51st Street Nov. 15.

The new library has more than 20,000 square feet, almost twice the size of the old one at the same location. Ground was broken in February 2019.

Linda Johnson, president and CEO of BPL, said the Sunset Park library has always been one of the borough’s busiest branches.

A large crowd listens to guest speakers. Photo courtesy of Brooklyn Public Library

“We’re thrilled to welcome the neighborhood back to a new space built on a foundation not only of concrete, but of community input, engagement and passion,” she said. 

Community Board 7 Chair Julio Peña III said he was excited to support the project.

“For many years, this community has been disinvested and not really prioritized, and in order for us to change that, we have to be bold and creative in our solutions,” he said. “This is one of them. A brand new library that is twice the size with affordable housing units.”

The new library is twice the size of the old one. Photo courtesy of Gregg Richards/Brooklyn Public Library

The library touts the largest space for teens of any library in Brooklyn. It also includes a recording studio, a community program room for scheduled functions, and two nature-themed murals by artist Tatiana Arocha.

Longtime branch manager Roxana Benavides was happy to see the neighborhood get the state-of-the-art space.

“This took a lot of time and effort and it’s such a wonderful occasion,” she said. “This is something the community of Sunset Park and Brooklyn deserves to have. It has been waiting for a library that is state of the art and this is it.” 

Floors two through eight of the new building are dedicated to 49 units of affordable housing spread across more than 50,000 square feet of residential space.

The new library is twice the size of the old one. Photo courtesy of Gregg Richards/Brooklyn Public Library

Half of the apartments are studios and one-bedroom units, and the other half are two- and three-bedroom units. 

Michelle de la Uz, executive director of FAC, said she is thrilled that the vision to pair 100 percent affordable housing with a new 21st century public library in Sunset Park has come to fruition.

“This project represents an innovative model to meet urgent affordable housing and modern public library needs in communities across the city,” she said. 

She also said more than 60,000 people applied for an apartment in the building.

The ribbon is cut at Sunset Park’s new library and affordable housing complex. Photo courtesy of State Sen. Andrew Gounardes Facebook
Photo courtesy of Gregg Richards/Brooklyn Public Library

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