Transfer of historic Admirals Row approved

Commission approved 34-acre transfer to the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation. The Department of Small Business Services and DCAS proposed to acquire and transfer an additional 34 acres to the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation to be added to the 262-acre area currently under its management. A majority of the area to be transferred, 28 acres, contains the former U.S. Navy’s Hospital Annex. The remaining six acres, currently owned by the U.S. National Guard, contain Admirals Row, eleven former officer’s homes that were constructed between 1 864-190l.

At the Commission’s public hearing, David Lowin, Vice President of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, estimated that 99 percent of the current area under its management is fully leased for light industrial and commercial uses, adding over 4,500 jobs to the New York City area. Although specific plans for the added 34 acres have not been finalized, Lowin explained that its use would be limited to light industrial.

Lowin added that a 1 986 study found several of the homes along Admirals Row eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, but that they were deteriorated beyond rehabilitation. Ultimately, the federal government concluded that the buildings could be demolished if a photographic survey was completed to mitigate the demolition. The Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation had nonetheless started a $2 million feasibility study to determine if any of the buildings could be saved. Initial results showed the smaller buildings beyond repair.

Fort Greene residents and preservationists, testifying in opposition to the transfer, complained that the Commission’s approval was a de facto approval of the complete demolition of Admirals Row. They proposed that the Commission place a moratorium on their demolition or completely sever Admirals Row from the proposed transfer to allow an open round of private proposals for their rehabilitation.

Commissioner Irwin Cantor questioned Gary Hattem, testifying in opposition for the Historic Wallabout Association, as to whether he could organize a group to complete a study on the usability of the buildings. Hattem claimed that a group from Pratt would donate its services if access were provided.

On September 28, 2005, the Commission unanimously approved the transfer. Responding to the discussion of Admirals Row, the Commission noted that the federal government’s earlier determination that the buildings could be demolished was sufficient and required no further study.

ULURP Process: The Department of Small Business Services, as lead agency, issued a negative declaration on May 1 6, 2005. Community Board 2 and Borough President Marty Markowitz approved.

CPC: Brooklyn Navy Yard (C 050463 PQK); (C 050464 PPK) (September 28, 2005). CITYADMIN

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