Admirals Row Plaza project approved by Council

Admirals Row Plaza project view on the corner of Navy and Nassau Streets. Image: Courtesy of GreenbergFarrow.

Community and labor groups supported project, but sought assurances that Brooklyn Navy Yard would not lease space to Wal-Mart. On November 29, 2011, the City Council approved the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation’s Admirals Row Plaza project at the corner of Nassau and Navy Streets in Brooklyn. The six-acre site is located at the southeast edge of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, near the New York City Housing Authority’s Farragut, Ingersoll, and Whitman Houses.

The mixed-use project includes the construction of three new buildings and the rehabilitation of two of the site’s existing, but severely deteriorated, historic structures. The Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation will convert an 1830s Timber Shed and a Civil War-era Naval Officers’ Quarters into retail and community facility use, respectively. A new five-story building will provide space for a supermarket and light manufacturing uses. Two other two-story buildings will provide retail space, and a 266-space parking lot will occupy the site’s interior.

The project required approvals to allow the City to acquire the federally owned property, and to then lease it to the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation. The Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation applied to rezone the property from M1-2 to M1-4 and requested special permits for signage and parking. 

At the City Planning Commission’s public hearing, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz supported the project, but suggested that weekend bus service on the B69 bus line and new bus shelters near the site would benefit the project. The curator of Brooklyn’s Other Museum of Brooklyn, called for preserving all of the site’s historic structures. The Commission unanimously approved the project in October. 8 CityLand 152 (Nov. 15, 2011).

At the Council’s Zoning & Franchises Subcommittee hearing in November, Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation President Andrew Kimball stated that the Navy Yard and the City had struggled for 25 years to gain control over the rapidly deteriorating Admirals Row site. Kimball testified that if Council approved the project, he hoped to close on the property within two weeks and immediately begin stabilizing the Timber Shed and Officers’ Quarters to prevent further deterioration over the winter. In response to City Council Member Letitia James, whose district abuts the Navy Yard and includes the NYCHA properties, Kimball stated that the Navy Yard was committed to hiring local residents.

Council Member James, along with community and labor groups, also sought assurances from Kimball that the Navy Yard would not consider Wal-Mart as a potential tenant for the supermarket space. Kimball explained that the project’s site plan would not be suitable for a Wal-Mart, and noted that companies such as ShopRite and Stop & Shop had expressed interest in the site. Maritza Silva-Farrell, of the Alliance for a Greater New York, noted the importance of siting a fresh food supermarket in the neighborhood, and urged the Navy Yard to identify a supermarket operator with a track record of providing quality food and jobs. A representative from the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1500 echoed the concerns about Wal-Mart.

The Subcommittee voted unanimously to approve the project, as did the Land Use Committee and full Council.

Council: Admirals Row Plaza (Nov. 29, 2011) (Architect: GreenbergFarrow).

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