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City Council Approves Admiral’s Row Plans

admirals row plaza brooklyn navy yardOn Monday, the City Council approved the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s proposal for Admiral’s Row Plaza, to be developed on a six-acre parcel currently owned by the federal government. The Navy Yard’s proposal is to rezone this site to allow for the development of a grocery store, retail and an industrial building. Their plans also include the preservation of two of the most significant historic buildings on the site. On November 15 MAS testified to the City Council in support of the proposal (click here to read testimony), stating that the preservation of the historic buildings will significantly improve the urban design and place-making aspects of the Navy Yard’s proposed development.

Despite the City Council’s approval and the Navy Yard’s promise to preserve the two historic buildings, concerns remain about their future. The land is still owned by the National Guard, which has allowed the site to fall into disrepair and has dragged out the federal historic preservation review (called Section 106) and land disposition processes for far too long. Heavy snows are a great threat to these buildings and there is an urgent need to allow the Navy Yard to have access to the site to stabilize the buildings before winter.

admirals row historic buildingsThe National Guard has stated that the Navy Yard cannot undertake that work until the land is owned by the City. Now that the City Council has approved the Navy Yard’s proposal, the National Guard should be compelled to work at an accelerated pace to dispose of the land to the City, thus allowing the Navy Yard to shore up the historic buildings before any major snowstorms.

MAS has been advocating for the preservation of the Admiral’s Row buildings in earnest since 2007 and throughout that time have been a consulting party in the National Guard’s Section 106 Process. In 2008, MAS gathered neighborhood and tenant organizations, architects and civic groups at a charrette with the Pratt Center to develop ideas for how to accommodate the Navy Yard’s proposal, preserve the historic buildings and address community needs.

Through that charrette we produced a number of alternative plans that showed how the historic buildings could be preserved and incorporated into the Navy Yard’s development. The community made it clear that they need a good, affordable grocery store and MAS produced plans that show it is possible to have produce and preservation on this site. While the Navy Yard initially proposed to demolish eleven buildings, they eventually modified their proposal to include the Timber Shed and Quarters B.