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MAS Calls for Admiral’s Row Stabilization as Navy Yard Releases RFP

quarters b brooklyn navy yard historic photo

MAS and our colleague preservation groups are urging the National Guard Bureau, the owner of the Admiral’s Row site in Brooklyn, to undertake emergency stabilization work on the site’s ten historic houses and the timber shed. Abandoned for close to 40 years, the houses have suffered neglect and many of them are not protected from the elements.During this summer’s particularly rainy June, one of the houses, Quarters C, partially collapsed. Since then, no actions have been taken by the National Guard to prevent further deterioration of the remaining buildings.

The stabilization of the buildings has become more critical as the federal historic preservation review process has been delayed by several months to allow the Brooklyn Navy Yard (the likely purchaser of the site) to release its RFP for the site’s redevelopment. The RFP requires the retention of just two of the historic buildings on the site, Quarters B and the timber shed, as well as the construction of a supermarket of at least 40,000 sq. ft., additional neighborhood retail space, an employment center for the Navy Yard, and parking for the grocery store and retail.

MAS remains firm in our stance that it is feasible to save more of the buildings than just two.Last summer, MAS brought together a group of neighborhood representatives, architects, preservationists, planners, and other experts to examine the site and ways that new development can integrate the rehabilitation of the historic buildings. The result was multiple site plans showing how it is feasible to retain the historic building on the site and develop a new grocery store. The MAS site plans were developed to integrate a larger grocery store, closer to 65,000 sq. ft., than is now required and even accommodate industrial space, recommended but not required by the RFP.The reduced program required by the RFP make it all the more feasible to accommodate both preservation and produce on the site.

The RFP deadline is October 19, 2009.The Navy Yard has stated that they will use the RFP responses to determine whether or not to purchase the site from the National Guard.MAS sees the RFP process is an opportunity for a preservation-friendly developer to prove what we and our colleagues have long known – that it is feasible to develop the site and preserve the historic buildings.Nonetheless, we are highly concerned that the delay in the federal historic review process will result in the further deterioration of the historic buildings, and are urging the National Guard to take immediate action.

For more information, read our joint letter with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, New York Landmarks Conservancy, and Historic Districts Council urging the National Guard to undertake emergency stabilization work.