Feds Join the Call to Save Admiral’s Row in Brooklyn Navy Yard
May 19th, 2011, 5:50 pm
Efforts to save the endangered buildings at the Admirals Row site in Brooklyn received a significant boost today, when several key federal elected officials called for the preservation of the buildings.
Over the last few years, unprecedented consensus has developed among a wide range of preservation organizations, civic groups and the Brooklyn Navy Yard about the future of Admiral’s Row. All have called on the National Guard Bureau, the site’s owner, to help facilitate the preservation of two of the site’s most historically significant buildings, the Timber Shed and Quarters B.
Late last month, the National Guard announced it was no longer requiring the preservation of either building. This reversed a decision it made several years ago to make preservation of the two buildings a requirement as part of the sale agreement with the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Most surprising is that the reversal was made despite the fact that the Navy Yard has publically stated it plans to preserve the two buildings and incorporate them into its proposed development. Incredibly, the Bureau also denied the Navy Yard’s request to make needed emergency repairs to the buildings.
In response to a call for action from MAS, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, The New York Landmarks Conservancy and the Historic Districts Council, yesterday Senators Charles Schumer, Kirsten Gilliband, Representatives Nydia Velázquez and Edolphus Towns sent a joint letter calling on the Secretary of the Army to support the preservation of the buildings and to expeditiously transfer the property to the city. In addition, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation recently sent a letter to National Guard stating they were “troubled by the recent turn of events.”
MAS supports the Navy Yard’s request for the $2 million allocated by the federal government for stabilization be made available to them, and urged the federal government to deduct the costs of rehabilitating the two structures from the fair market value of the land.
The preservation of the Timber Shed and Quarters B will significantly improve the urban design and place-making aspects of the Navy Yard’s proposed development. The beauty and uniqueness of these historic buildings will make the development a destination, instead of just another mundane big-box development.