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Brooklyn Daily Eagle


Officials Call on Army to Allow Navy Yard Repair

Admiral Row Has Been Deteriorating Since 70's

By Brooklyn Eagle

March 2, 2010

Admirals Row Has Been Deteriorating Since ’70s

NAVY YARD — Brooklyn Congresspersons Nydia Velazquez and Ed Towns, as well as U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, yesterday called on the Army to immediately grant access for emergency stabilization work on Admirals Row and to quickly transfer the property to the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corp.

Admirals Row is a six-acre section of the old Brooklyn Navy Yard that was vacated in the mid-1970s but has remained in federal control since then.

The historic structures on the site are severely deteriorated and in need of emergency repairs and stabilization if they are to be saved. The Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation has communicated its willingness to undertake the work, but has been unable to obtain the necessary agreement from the Army Corps of Engineers and the National Guard Bureau, which control the site.

In a letter to Secretary of the Army John H. McHugh, the four officials called on the Army to allow immediate access to speed up its review process in order to ensure that these buildings do not deteriorate any further and can be refurbished before it’s too late.

“Admirals Row is a national landmark, but for too long it has wasted away, forgotten in the dustbin of history. Finally, it appeared that we had an agreement to preserve these historic buildings — but bureaucratic hurdles are now getting in the way,” said Schumer, who lives in Park Slope. “I hope the Army will expedite the process to allow the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation to save these buildings before it’s too late.”

Congresswoman Velázquez said, “While funding has been made available, red tape is blocking the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation from accessing the site and preventing these local treasures from deteriorating further. The Army needs to move quickly so these buildings are stabilized and retained for future development.”

Congressman Towns said, “Time is of the utmost importance to perform the emergency repairs and stabilization of the historic and severely deteriorated Timber Shed and Building B on the Admirals Row site. Decay waits for no man or bureaucratic red tape.”

Admirals Row, built in the 19th century, consists of 11 brick buildings that were built to house high-ranking Navy officers. The buildings, which are distinguished by their architectural distinctiveness as well as historical importance, have been left mostly abandoned since the mid-1970s. The National Guard currently controls the property, and the preservation of the Timber Shed and Building B still remains in doubt.

The Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation (BNYDC), the non-profit corporation that manages the Navy Yard under a contract with New York City, has expressed its willingness to preserve the Timber Shed and Building B, and a property transfer between the National Guard and the BNYDC is expected soon. The BNYDC expects to begin construction on the buildings at Admirals Row, but is currently prohibited from starting work because financial terms with the National Guard have not been finalized.

Some of the buildings are considered too-far gone to replace, and the development corporation plans to construct a supermarket to replace those particular buildings — a plan supported by many of the area’s elected officials.