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Thread: Brooklyn Navy Yard Development

  1. #46
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    Oct 2002


    National Guard Backs Out of Preserving Any of Admiral’s Row

    A letter reveals that Building B, which was pegged for preservation, is not worthy of repairs in the eyes of its current owners.

    By Stephen Brown

    (click to enlarge)

    The former living quarters of senior officers at the Brooklyn Navy Yard is beyond repair, the National Guard declared on Thursday.

    A letter by Colonel Clark Presnell sent to several local politicians states that the home along Flushing Avenue — known as Building B — is simply too dilapidated to be preserved as originally planned.

    “Part of the north wall of Building B has collapsed,” wrote Presnell in the letter dated April 21. “The mortar that holds the wall together has completely dissolved, rendering the entire wall unstable.”

    Now, the building will not be stabilized by the Guard before ownership of Admiral’s Row is transferred to the Brooklyn Navy Yard — a move that raises the question of whether it will ever be preserved.

    In February the National Guard announced that it would not stabilize the Timber Shed, which was once used as a storage area for ship’s masts.

    The Navy Yard has said it can restore both buildings, but that is not possible until title of the property is transferred; a seemingly interminable bureaucratic process.

    Originally, the stabilization of both structures was a critical factor in the transfer of Admiral’s Row to the Navy Yard. The buildings were set to be historic centerpieces in a major development that would include a ShopRite supermarket comparable in size to the Fairway in Red Hook.

    That project has faced its own obstacles since the developer, PA Associates, was linked with the corruption scandal involving State Sen. Carl Kruger.

    It now falls upon the Navy Yard and the city to preserve both buildings — but neither is allowed on the property until they own it.

    “The Brooklyn Navy Yard…remains committed to doing everything possible to save Building B and the Timber Shed,” said Shane Kavanagh, a Navy Yard spokesman. “The National Guard Bureau must transfer the site expeditiously and provide the Navy Yard with the $2 million in federal funds identified for stabilization.”

    In March, Jon Anderson, a spokesman for the National Guard, said that the elaborate bureaucratic process of transferring ownership of the properties could be done by the middle of the year.

    In the meantime, local politicians and Navy Yard execs are left twiddling their thumbs as the buildings decay further.

    “This property must be transferred as expeditiously as possible,” said Sen. Charles Schumer, who was among the quartet of politicians who pressed the National Guard last month. “Every effort must be made to delay further deterioration of these historic buildings and provide an opportunity for complete restoration as a springboard for the best future use of the whole site.”

  2. #47
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    Admiral’s Row Site Is Transferred to the City


    Admiral’s Row in 2009.

    Admiral’s Row finally belongs to the city.

    After years of a long-running dispute that has aggravated their neglect, 10 19th-century buildings that were the town houses of the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s senior officers and a timber shed built before the Civil War have been transferred by the federal government to the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, which manages the old 300-acre yard, now an industrial park of 275 businesses.

    Nine of those naval officers’ homes are in such bad shape that even preservationists regarded them as unsalvageable and they will be torn down. But two — the timber shed that was used for drying hardwood beams of tall-masted sailing ships, and a house known as Quarters B that is in the best condition — will be restored and adapted for daily use. On Monday, engineers are expected to begin stabilizing the two buildings and clearing surrounding trees to prevent further damage.

    For Fort Greene and Downtown Brooklyn, the transfer of property to the city means that the corporation can finally go ahead and build a major supermarket that 13,000 residents of three nearby housing projects have long yearned for. Senator Charles E. Schumer, who with several other elected officials was instrumental in moving the land transfer forward, said in a statement that the handover would also allow the corporation to create new industrial space that will bring hundreds of jobs to Brooklyn.

    The Admiral’s Row houses have fallen into disrepair (see photo essay) ever since the Navy Yard was closed in 1966, and no one has lived in them since the 1970s. By last year, the once-shipshape town houses looked like a jungle ruin, with exterior walls the only remnants still standing in some houses and other houses riddled with punched-out windows, rusted railings and vandalized rooms.

    But the Army National Guard, which managed the six acres on which Admiral’s Row sits and where the supermarket would partly be located, refused to allow any work to stabilize even the two buildings in best condition, contending that workers could be endangered. The land transfer itself was delayed by a lengthy historical and environmental review.

    Inside one of the Admiral’s Row buildings in 2008.

  3. #48


    August 16, 2012

    From Weeds and Bricks to Media Hub in Brooklyn

    A fireplace in the hospital. The building, which closed in the 1960s, and eight others are to be included in construction of a media campus.


    Hidden behind weeds and broken bricks, amid the hum of traffic from the nearby Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, lie 20 acres of abandoned grassy hills, crumbling Greek Revival mansions and Second Empire structures that few New Yorkers have ever seen.

    There is the home of Dr. E. R. Squibb, who built the first still for making pure anesthetic ether, and a grand naval hospital with antebellum staircases and soaring windows, where Confederate soldiers were reportedly imprisoned during the Civil War. There is a tennis court, barely visible through vines, with a sign warning users to wear proper attire, and a laboratory, an officers’ club and even a morgue.

    After decades of neglect, this hidden corner of the 300-acre Brooklyn Navy Yard, known as the Naval Annex Historic Campus, may be ready for a long overdue makeover.

    The nonprofit Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation and a private developer, Douglas C. Steiner, have reached an agreement, contingent on city, state and federal financing, to convert the hospital complex into a media, technology and film hub. Mr. Steiner, who owns the adjacent Steiner Studios movie and television production center, would connect the site to his property to create a 50-acre lot to be called a media campus. The project, which would cost nearly $400 million and take 12 years to build, would use the nine historical buildings on the site and create five new structures for a total of 328,000 square feet, housing media companies and academic programs. There would also be 100,000 square feet of new stages for film and TV, including the first underwater stage in the country and the first back lot on the East Coast to feature a New York City streetscape.

    The developers estimate that the project will create 2,500 direct jobs, many of which would be high-paying union positions; 1,500 indirect jobs from ancillary services like carpentry and dry cleaning, and 2,600 construction jobs. When completed, the 50-acre media campus would employ some 6,000 New Yorkers, its backers say.

    Mr. Steiner, whose Steiner Studios is the Navy Yard’s largest tenant, has, since it opened in 2004, committed $185 million to build and expand it. He has agreed to commit just shy of $346 million for the hospital complex. He would be responsible for shoring up the historical buildings, erecting the new structures and finding the tenants.

    To make the plan viable and to build out the site’s infrastructure, including water, sewers and electricity, the developers are seeking $35 million from New York State and New York City and $2.5 million from the federal government.

    Over the years, the site has been the focus of a series of failed proposals, most recently as a possible location for the city’s applied sciences campus, which eventually went to Roosevelt Island. But the developers say they are hopeful that this project will have more traction.

    Andrew H. Kimball, president and chief executive of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, said: “This is a very unique and special part of the yard, and we have wanted to be careful, as the stewards, that we really have the right plan for it. And this time we feel like we do.”

    There is growing demand for office space from technology and new media industries here, as well as the entertainment industry — 23 prime-time television shows are based in New York City, compared with 7 in 2002, according to the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. In addition, Mr. Kimball said, “We have the right geography — this is the only place in the city where you could do a 50-acre media campus of this kind, and we have the right mayor and governor who recognize that this will create the kinds of 21st century jobs that are critical to the city’s economy.”

    The public financing is an important piece of the project: Last month the developers applied to the Empire State Development Corporation’s Regional Council for $17.5 million. It is petitioning the city for an equal amount, and expects feedback on the proposal in the fall.

    Mr. Steiner serves on the board of the Regional Council, but has recused himself from the matter; another member of the Council, who insisted on anonymity because of the competitive nature of the process, said there was a good chance the hospital complex would receive the necessary financing.

    Julie Wood, a spokeswoman for Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, said, “The Brooklyn Navy Yard is an economic success story if there ever was one, and we are very proud that our investments there have yielded high-quality jobs in some of our fastest-growing industries, like film and TV production.”

    “The medical campus,” she added, “has long represented a prime opportunity for development and we’re very excited about the potential of this project.”

    The 60,000-square-foot Greek Revival hospital, built in 1838 from Tuckahoe marble that may, according to the Navy Yard’s museum, have been quarried by prisoners from Sing Sing, would be the campus’s centerpiece. “My dream is to have an anchor tenant like Google or Apple,” said Mr. Steiner, who also envisions turning some of the smaller buildings on the site into writing bungalows that could be leased by production companies, producers and directors.

    Mr. Steiner is also proposing several academic buildings at the site. Long Island University’s graduate screenwriting program has a location at Steiner Studios, and Mr. Steiner is currently building a center for the Brooklyn College Graduate School of Cinema.

    In addition, Mr. Steiner is hoping to build a Hollywood-style back lot, where filmmakers could recreate quintessential New York locations, like Chinatown in Manhattan or the interior of a subway station, that are otherwise hard to capture on film. The hope is that the back lot would not only spur more film production but also become a draw for tourists.

    “There is no reason we couldn’t see this become a stop for the double-decker tourist buses, with tourists coming to take photos and get a glimpse of a star,” Mr. Kimball said.

    Ozier Muhammad/The New York Times

    The 60,000-square-foot Greek Revival hospital, which was built in 1838,
    was said to have held captured Confederate soldiers.

    Ozier Muhammad/The New York Times

    The naval hospital had antebellum staircases and soaring windows.
    The complex includes the home of Dr. E. R. Squibb.

    Ozier Muhammad/The New York Times

    Douglas C. Steiner, right, owner of Steiner Studios,
    and Andrew H. Kimball, president of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation.


    A rendering of the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The section at the top, with trees, includes the hospital.

    © 2012 The New York Times Company

  4. #49
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    Exploring the Eerily Empty Brooklyn Navy Yard Hospital

    by Jessica Dailey

    The 60,000-square-foot Greek Revival hospital, built in 1838 from Tuckahoe marble

    The chief surgeon's residence

    Steiner Studios has big plans to turn the crumbling Brooklyn Navy Yard Hospital Annex into a bright, modern media hub, but right now, the collapsing campus sits abandoned on 20 acres, slowing succumbing to the surrounding nature. Urban explorer and photographer Max Touhey recently ventured onto the spooky site, capturing the veritable ghost town that could easily host a horror film. Endless hallways of broken doors, dense overgrowth, stagnant water, and peeling paint on collapsing walls all dominate the buildings, making the empty structures feel creepy even on a bright, sunny day.

    Touhey spent most of his recent trip exploring the 60,000-square-foot main hospital building. The columned structure has more than 36 fireplaces and beautiful sky-lit stairwells, and even though it was cleared out and whitewashed not long ago, it looks like it's been untouched for decades.

    Unlike the townhouses of Admiral's Row, the hospital annex buildings will be saved. Steiner's $400 million plan calls for them to be restored and used in the new complex. The developers are seeking $35 million from New York State and New York City and $2.5 million from the federal government, and Steiner has committed $346 million to the plan. The city is expected to give feedback on the proposal this fall. Once construction starts, it would take 12 years for the whole complex to be realized.

  5. #50
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    Admiral's Row Set to Become 'A Suburban Shopping Center'

    by Jessica Dailey

    We knew that the crumbling buildings of Admiral's Row would be replaced with a supermarket and retail center, but it's not going to be just any retail complex. The Brooklyn Navy Yard has chosen Blumenfeld Development Group to bring the project to life, and Mr. Blumenfeld himself told the Journal his plans will create—brace yourselves—"a suburban shopping center." The $60 million development will have a 74,000-square-foot supermarket, new shops and restaurants, and light manufacturing space.

    Groundbreaking was originally slated for this year, but the previous developer, PA Developers, had to be replaced when one of its principals was charged with corruption in another project. The development will now break ground some time next year, so this really is your last chance to say goodbye to the historic buildings of Admiral's Row.

    Navy Yard Lands Developer [WSJ]

  6. #51
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    Building R1, the Surgeon's Residence, is a New York City Landmark.
    Fat lot of good that's been, apparently

    30 Photos Inside the Brooklyn Navy Yard's Abandoned Buildings

    by Jessica Dailey

    Another day, another urban explorer sneaks into the abandoned buildings of the Brooklyn Navy Yard. This time, we get a detailed look inside the former surgeon's residence, which was completed around 1863. Our covert tipster, who visited the property on Wednesday, notes that this is before some of Admiral's Row was built, but thanks to landmark status, the condition of the surgeon's residence is "incredible." We also get another peek inside building R95, the Greek Revival main annex building completed in 1838, and a look around the campus. Developer Douglas Steiner will be preserving and repurposing the site's nine historic buildings for a tech campus, but for now, the property sits empty, tempting the city's many urban adventurers.

  7. #52


    New NYT article, with 16 photo slideshow of a renewing BNY.

  8. #53
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    Developer loses Navy Yard project

    More than a year after being selected to build a supermarket and shopping center at the Brooklyn industrial site, Blumenfeld Development Group will no longer develop the Admiral's Row site. It's the second firm to lose the job.

    By Joe Anuta

    Navy Yard President and CEO David Ehrenberg said Blumenfeld failed to meet its end of the contract. Photo: Buck Ennis Blumenfeld Development Group has been dropped as the builder of the $100 million Admiral's Row project, an expansion to the 300-acre industrial space in Brooklyn that is slated to include a supermarket and shopping center, Crain's has learned.

    The move comes more than a year after the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development, the nonprofit that manages the city-owned site, selected Blumenfeld to build a 74,000 square-foot supermarket, 86,000 square feet of retail space and 125,000 square feet of industrial space at the city-owned industrial park. Blumenfeld was one of several companies to respond to a request for proposals to develop the project.

    Navy Yard President and Chief Executive David Ehrenberg said in a statement that Blumenfeld failed to meet its end of the contract, declining to elaborate on the reasons for change in plans. Under the agreement, Blumenfeld was supposed to be granted a long-term lease at the site after selecting a supermarket operator. A supermarket has not been picked. Blumenfeld was slated to break ground on the development this year.

    "We are still committed to Admiral's Row being anchored by a supermarket that meets the community's needs and an industrial facility that supports our core mission," Mr. Ehrenberg said. "The city-approved site plan remains in place and we are evaluating our options for moving forward."

    Blumenfeld said it is no longer involved in the Navy Yard because the project became untenable after changes to the Federal Emergency Management Agency's preliminary revised flood zones. The change would increase flood insurance premiums and construction costs, the developer noted.

    “Sandy has basically claimed one more victim,” said Brad Blumenfeld, vice president of the company, in a statement. “New flood plain designations coupled with new insurance rules have totally upended the numbers we were working with to make our end of Admiral’s Row work.”

    The planned development of Admiral's Row as a supermarket and retail center. Photo: Associated Press

    This would be the second time that the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development dropped a developer on the project. In 2011, the nonprofit nixed PA Associates because its principal faced legal troubles associated with a different development project. Blumenfeld replaced PA Associates after winning a second bidding process.

    Admiral's Row has long been home to 12 decaying structures along Flushing Avenue. Brooklyn Navy Yard Development has already started reinforcing two of these buildings in preparation for being restored for the project.

    The idea of anchoring the shopping center and industrial space with a sorely needed supermarket was lauded by city, state and federal lawmakers, since the Navy Yard estimated nearly 40,000 people live within walking distance to the site, many who live in nearby housing projects.

    The park is already home to about 4.5 million square feet of leasable space, currently housing more than 300 tenants at just under 100% occupancy and employing about 6,400 people—nearly double the number employed there in 2001.

    City Councilwoman Letitia James (D-Brooklyn) expressed her disappointment at Blumenfeld's dismissal, since she had hoped the supermarket would be constructed as soon as possible.

    "I'm hoping to get this project back on track," she said, although it was unclear how the city-approved plan will now be carried out.

  9. #54


    EXCLUSIVE: Brooklyn Navy Yard becomes a national landmark

    The Brooklyn Navy Yard is now a national landmark. The U.S. Department of the Interior's National Park Service added the iconic 300-acre industrial park to the National Register of Historic Places Thursday.

    BY Jan Ransom
    Thursday, May 22, 2014, 7:54 PM

    Rosier, LindaThe Brooklyn Navy Yard.

    The Brooklyn Navy Yard is now a national landmark.
    The US Department of the Interior’s National Park Service added the iconic 300-acre industrial park to the National Register of Historic Places Thursday, The News has learned.
    Navy Yard officials believe the new landmark status will make it easier to obtain federal funding for projects like the $46 million Green Manufacturing Center, officials said.

    Frattini, CharlesBrooklyn Navy Yard closing out.

    Destroyers arriving at Brooklyn Navy Yard.Enlarge

    “It’ll make securing historic tax credits easier for us with the purpose of restoring historic buildings and creating jobs,” Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation President David Ehrenberg told the Daily News Thursday.
    The Yard is experiencing a development boom that includes a mega supermarket, new sound stages and medical labs. More than 330 businesses have generated roughly 7,000 jobs.

    Mario Tama/Getty ImagesU.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand urged the feds to add the Brooklyn Navy Yard to the National Register of Historical Places

    “Federal designation will help protect one of the country’s most storied naval districts while reinvigorating historic structures to help grow new businesses,” said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who waged a sustained push for the new status.

    The industrial complex is the city’s oldest and largest and one of six original shipyards in the country, officials said. The landmark status puts it in the same league as the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building.
    The US Department of the Interior’s National Park Service is expected to announce the designation early next week.

    Read more:

  10. #55
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    Exploring the Abandoned Brooklyn Navy Yard Hospital Annex in NYC

    by Michelle Young

    The Surgeon’s House in the Brooklyn Navy Yard Hospital Annex

    Most New Yorkers have been aware of the developments on-going on the Brooklyn Navy Yard, seeing it transform from active military property, to industrial park, to the diversified manufacturing hub it is today. In 2004, Steiner Studios opened as a major anchor tenant of the Navy Yard, with five soundstages and production facilities in a 310,000-square-foot facility.

    Starting in 2010, Steiner Studios began the process to nearly double its facility, which is at 580,000 square feet today with the addition of five new sound stages and an adaptive reuse of the former Navy Applied Science Laboratory.

    In February 2015, a development plan for the third phase of expansion of Steiner Studios was adopted, with a plan to covert the abandoned Brooklyn Navy Yard Hospital Annex into a media campus by 2027. With an estimated price tag of $137.1 million, the third phase would add another 420,000 square feet of floor area to the studio complex, already the largest outside of Hollywood. There will even be an underwater soundstage, the first of its kind in New York City. These photos of existing conditions are all from Final Environmental Impact Statement for the development project.

    US Naval Hospital

    The Nurses’ Quarters/Unmarried Officers’ Club

    The good news for preservationists is that this large-scale project would also include the renovation of a 46,000 square foot historic structure and the stabilization of existing structures in the Hospital Annex. 180,000 square feet of the Media Campus will be adaptive reuse of existing structures. Among the existing buildings the campus would retain are the U.S. Naval Hospital, Surgeon’s House, Quarters No. 4, and Bachelor Officers’ Quarters to be used as film and television production office space, such as wardrobe, set dressing, location and accounting departments.

    More at Untapped Cities

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