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.
©2008 Community News Group
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