BREAKING NEWS: Admirals Row will come down

James gets in middle of ‘Row’
The Brooklyn Paper / Alex Alvarez

The city and National Guard reached an agreement to save two decrepit, yet historic, buildings in the Brooklyn Navy Yard and destroy eight others, ending an impasse and allowing the Navy Yard to proceed with its controversial plan to build a supermarket.

The deal, announced by a spokesman for the city-run Navy Yard, does not guarantee the preservation of the low-slung Timber Shed and one of the former officers’ homes, known as Building B, which faces Flushing Avenue. But it allows for the transfer of the federally owned “Admirals Row” area to the city, which owns the rest of the Navy Yard.

As part of the deal, the city would then solicit bids from developers to build a supermarket and an industrial building as well as to “test the market” to rehabilitate and maintain the two crumbling 19th-century structures.

It’s unclear how the historic buildings would be reused. The other eight buildings along the row could be demolished by the city, under this agreement.

The city rejoiced at the compromise.

“If a viable proposal is received, the Brooklyn Navy Yard will move forward with the acquistion of the property, resulting in new jobs, additional revenue for the city and state, a vitally important amenity of a new supermarket — the only one to serve the community — and the reuse of what has become a blighted eyesore that has burdened the community and the Brooklyn Navy Yard for decades,” said Navy Yard President Andrew Kimball.

The fight over the once-grand structures in the Admirals Row began in earnest after the city announced plans to acquire the land and build the supermarket. Locals, many of them from nearby public housing projects, craved the idea of a large grocery store near their homes and sided with the city.

But preservationists, including local activists and the Muncipal Art Society, a city-wide group, objected. Late on Wednesday, the art society put out a statement demanding that more buildings be preserved.

“We have hoped, and continue to hope, that more of these very significant historic buildings will be retained and incorporated into the development,” said Lisa Kersavage, the Society’s director of advocacy and policy. “We will continue to work with [the National Guard] to … preserve more of the buildings. The Navy Yard is seeking to demolish the buildings to create a very large surface parking and we strongly believe that more … buildings could be preserved by reconfiguring their plan.”