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Subsurface testing of the land around the Brooklyn Heights Library is underway to determine its suitability for a controversial $52 million luxury tower. Photo by Mary Frost

Subsurface testing of the land around the Brooklyn Heights Library, at 280 Cadman Plaza West, is underway to determine its suitability for a planned $52 million luxury tower.

Workers from Craig Geotechnical Drilling, a private New Jersey firm, bored into the soil just east of the library on Tuesday with a drill rig.

A worker told the Brooklyn Eagle that the company was testing to the depth of roughly 100 feet.

At a stormy Community Board 2 meeting in July, the board approved, with caveats, the controversial plan to sell and redevelop the library site.

Hudson Companies Inc. hopes to build a 36-story residential tower with roughly 139 units and ground floor retail, replace the current library in a condo space on the ground floor and below ground, and construct 114 affordable-housing units in Clinton Hill.

Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) says the branch has a problematic HVAC system and needs $9 million in repairs.  BPL President Linda Johnson said in June that the $52 million brought in by the sale of the property will enable BPL to fit out a new, 21,500-square-foot Brooklyn Heights branch and to fund the capital needs of at least four other branch libraries in Brooklyn.

According to an environmental study carried out as part of the ULURP (Uniform Land Use Review Procedure) process, the depth to bedrock is expected to be more than 100 feet. Groundwater was discovered roughly 83 feet below the surface.

The environmental study identified evidence of a “suspect drywell” under the library, along with a former laundry (shown on a 1904 map); a closed #2 fuel oil underground storage tank, and fill material from earlier buildings or site filling.

As part of the city’s ULURP (Uniform Land Use Review Procedure) process, the proposal next moves to the Borough President’s Office for a public hearing at Borough Hall on August 18 at 6 p.m., and then to the City Planning Commission.

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