‘Earthquake’ Construction Halted At Controversial Hebron Project

BROOKLYN, NY — LinYee Yuan was in a Zoom meeting in her home on Sterling Place last week when her desk lamp began shaking so “violently” on the table she had to turn off the video call, she said.

Though still disturbing, she unfortunately had a good guess where the “seismic vibrations” rattling her home were coming from — the construction site that had taken over the Hebron School campus a few doors down.

And Yuan was far from the only one to notice the latest disruption, which she said was caused by a ram excavating the property.

“Some people a few streets down thought it was an earthquake,” Yuan told Patch.

Indeed, videos shared with Patch from several neighbors show an intense humming vibrating pot covers, glasses of water and chains holding up chandelier lights in nearby apartments.

The rattling was the latest in a series of headaches neighbors say the controversial project has caused since construction began at the 955-959 Sterling Pl. site around Christmas.

Construction comes after a years-long fight to stop the project, which will have developers Hope Street Capital build a seven-story apartment complex on the site in exchange for a $21.5 million renovation of the Hebron Seventh Day Adventist School.

Most recently, neighbors called 311 about the construction vibrations, prompting Department of Buildings inspectors to visit the property.

The inspectors ended up issuing a Stop Work Order for a series of unrelated violations, including construction documents not being at the property and a fence set up on New York Avenue not being far enough from a bus stop, according to a spokesperson with the department.

The Stop Work Order will stay in effect until developers request another inspection, the spokesperson said.

The construction halt has offered somewhat of a reprieve for neighbors who are considering legal action against the project, which will be a race against the clock given construction has began.

The Crown Heights North Association have raised nearly $2,000 in a GoFundMe for a lawsuit against the Landmarks Preservation Commission, whose approval was necessary given the landmark status of the historic campus. They had not filed the lawsuit as of this week.

“Community members have decried the plans as an assault on the neighborhood’s historic character, a dangerous accelerator of gentrification, and an attack on the neighborhood’s tiny amount of green space,” the group wrote.

The project would demolish an addition to the Hebron Seventh Day Adventist School building to make room for the apartment complex on the open space in back of the campus, which neighbors say is much-needed green space.

Hebron school officials have contended that they need the $21.5 million upgrade that comes with the project to keep their school and church open. The Hebron building has been vacant since it was deemed structurally unsound five years ago.

But neighbors argue the project will ruin the historic campus, which has been called the “gem” of Crown Heights.

“Spanning more than half a block, the new complex would become the longest residential building in the Historic District and essentially swallow the adjacent landmarked building due to its wildly inappropriate height, scale and design,” they write on the fundraiser.

Hope Street Capital did not respond to a request for comment from Patch.

%d bloggers like this: