Deteriorating Historic Homes May Fall For Market

Historic homes in the Brooklyn Navy Yard have blighted the neighborhood for years. Many residents are backing a plan to replace the deteriorating homes with a market, but preservationists are hesitant.

"The city is asking that the National Guard, which owns the property, give the land to the city so that the corporation can demolish the houses and replace them with a supermarket of roughly 60,000 square feet and a large industrial building. Residents of Farragut and two other public housing projects nearby would be given preference in hiring."

"Although preservation groups, including the Landmarks Conservancy and the Historic Districts Council, have publicly attacked that proposal, it has met a mostly warm reception among Farragut residents, who regard the vacant town houses as neglected eyesores."

"The National Guard has embarked on a months-long review to determine whether it must require any potential buyer to preserve the houses. A report commissioned by the agency and released last month put the cost of preservation at roughly $20 million, but representatives of the development corporation say that the figure underestimates the costs and that the corporation will walk away from any deal that would include preserving the buildings."

Full Story: Amid Weeds and Rust, a Ruin Seeks a Second Act



No more parking in the Navy Yard!

The Times article doesn't mention the convoluted reasoning engaged in by the people who want to tear down Admiral's Row. There is plenty of room to build a supermarket in the Navy Yard; the houses would be torn down for a parking lot.

The neighbors don't have good supermarkets (in part because the nearest supermarket was torn down by developer and supermarket mogul John Catsimatidis). Rather than find a walkable, contextual site for a new supermarket, city officials want to build a new one in the Navy Yard. Rather than build a reasonably-sized supermarket for the neighborhood's population, they want a big box supermarket.

A big box supermarket would require customers from outside the neighborhood to be profitable. Rather than put the supermarket near transit lines or divert buses to it, the officials want to encourage people to drive to it (endangering the neighbors, polluting the air and making the neighborhood less comfortable) by building a large parking lot. This in a neighborhood that has one of the highest proportions of households without cars in the country.

The houses could be saved by simply building a neighborhood-sized supermarket in a convenient location for walking. Why the city is setting up such an elaborate false dichotomy is beyond me, but I have my suspicions that developer profits may be involved.

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