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Trolley dodger! Lyceum site under construction

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At long last, there is a plan for an empty lot next to the Brooklyn Lyceum in Park Slope, though it has meant the demise of an old trolley that sat there for 13 years.

Crews disassembled the trolley this week — a relic from the Philadelphia mass transit system that was, at one point, going to be a diner — to make room for architect Jean G. Miele’s 12-story, 40-unit structure on Fourth Avenue.

Construction is expected to be completed by the spring, when tenants will start moving into the small studios and one- and two-bedroom units.

But behind the construction fencing and the architectural renderings lies a story of two friends destroyed by ambition, dreams and money.

Eric Richmond, who owns the Lyceum next door, first purchased the quirky L-shaped site between President and Union streets in 1994. Starting in 2000, Miele helped Richmond completely overhaul the Lyceum, but when Richmond couldn’t pay off Miele’s $500,000 loan, the men decided that Miele would get the deed to the adjacent lot instead, with the stipulation that Richmond could repurchase it within a year.

But the deadline came and went, and Richmond didn’t pay — so Miele got the land.

Richmond sued and lost — and Miele is starting work, including dismantling the trolley.

Most neighbors don’t know the backstory. They’re just saddened by the destruction of the trolley.

“We hate to see a piece of history lost from the neighborho­od,” said Community Board 6 District Manager Craig Hammerman.

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Bill from Park Slope says:
“We hate to see a piece of history lost from the neighborhood,” said Community Board 6 District Manager Craig Hammerman.

Craig has a strange sense of history. a rusty hulk sitting in an empty lot for 13 years is a piece of history. More like a long lasting eyesore. I have shoes that are twice that age. do you think I should have them declared as neighborhood treasures?
July 17, 2008, 4:34 pm
eric from park slope says:
Bill,

If the Brooklyn Papers(bastion of something or other) had left up the original article instead of gutting it 2 hours after it went up you would have seen the full comment by Craig. It included references to the rusted hulk. So cut him some slack.

In addition, you would have caught the back-story that there are still challenges to the deed underway. And prices quoted that could have only come from Miele that appear to contradict court records.

And it strips out any quotes by Richmond and Miele. Very, very odd, that an online report gets edited within minutes of going up removing quotes from the parties involved.

Smells very very odd.

Eric
July 17, 2008, 4:43 pm
Alex from Park Slope says:
I am curious to see if the information gathered for this is based on facts or hearsay. I surely don't understand why the trolley had to be disassembled when.. last time I checked... during an eviction... by law.. items have to be removed not destroyed. Shouldn't that be illegal? Care to pose that question to the architect?

BTW, if Miele was in charge of the complete overhaul at the Lyceum.. I would love to see some before and after pictures of the Lyceum with the changes Miele made.. just to see what we can expect from him on the 12-story building.

I think a direct entrance from the subway to that building would have been cool.. oh wait.. sorry I shouldn't mention that.. you edited this and erased that part.. I'm sure it wasn't meant to be seen..

what a bunch of jackasses you guys are. Calling yourselves real unbiased journalists and trying to tear Ratner a new one.. when you have another rat right under your nose and all you do is rim him.
July 17, 2008, 11:15 pm
anonymous from park slope says:
Thats all you have to say about the lot next door to the Lyceum. There is so much more information on other sites about this story. Not very good reporting. I feel like half the story was left out....oh wait thats because it was!!! Shame on you Sarah Portlock. This is just poor journalism.
July 17, 2008, 11:35 pm
anonymous from park slope says:
where in the rendering is the subway?
July 18, 2008, 10:32 am
Alex from Park Slope says:
Hi anonymous. Sorry about the subway reference. The thing is.. as I read this article early on yesterday there was a whole different article posted with a whole different feel. When I was intrigued by it and went to read it again.. it was completely edited and had a different feel to it. The original mentioned more about the back story that Sarah refers to as what people are not aware of.

In my perception of this version. It pretty much just says that there was a money issue.. dues we not paid and Miele got to keep the property and will build on it. Case closed. No ifs ands or buts.

The original had many other references that gave you an insight on how this issue does not seem to be so clear and finished. Thus making it seem doubtful this building could be finished by spring like the architect, Jean G. Miele, expects it to be.

I wish you could have read the original article because it mentioned the original plans for the site before the spat with Eric and Jean started. If I recall it even mentioned the building originally planed to be multi-functional and also was supposed to have a direct entrance to the train station. But the architect felt it wasn't doable for his budget.. or something like that.. there were also references to some amounts as to how much the property was or is worth... and a point of view from each person involved. If I am being picky..So sue me.. I am a fan of knowing I am getting my news from people who actually went to the persons involved in an issue.

The way this article looks like now.. it just pretty much paints it as building going up and random thrown in notes about how the lot was acquired for this. It makes no mention of some litigations that I have read from other online sources on this matter. Brownstoner and other blogs had more on this from one of the parties involved. Where it even mentions that the architect may have committed perjury in order to acquire this piece of land..

I made the Ratner reference because I felt that if you are going to give one developer a hard time to try and achieve something that is for the community (at least in his eyes).. why would another developer get a different treatment when it is clear there is plenty of other things going on. And from my basic knowledge of law... items that do not belong to a landlord cannot just be destroyed.. like he did with that trolley. What can you expect from an architect like that? I will not be surprised if soon enough the poor neighbors will have to start dealing with him and get screwed somehow just so he can put that building up.
July 18, 2008, 3:14 pm
bob from brooklyn heights says:
if the trolley was disposed of improperly (illegally) why didn't its owner move in court to stop its disposal — or why didn't he just move it? as for a subway entrance, what station in new york has had such an entrance built in the last 50 years … and why would we want such an entrance?
July 19, 2008, 10:49 pm

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