Clean slate for Navy Yard as Council approves demolition of Admirals Row

Pols: Army is bombing on Admirals Row

The City Council unanimously approved the redevelopment of Admirals Row on Tuesday — giving the Brooklyn Navy Yard a clean slate to build a major supermarket after years of battling preservationists, a tug-of-war with the feds over ownership of the historic site, and losing its original developer to a bribery scandal.

City officials will now move forward to find a new developer for the six-acre site by the end of the year, bulldozing a slew of historic, but decaying, buildings to make room for a 250-car parking lot, and most important, a grocery store that many see as a dire need in the immediate area.

Plans for a $60-million ShopRite supermarket collapsed earlier this year, when the city’s chosen developer, Aaron Malinsky, was arrested in a bribery scandal alongside state Sen. Carl Kruger (D–Mill Basin). There’s no word on a new development team yet.

Still, local pols were thrilled by the Council approval, considering that city planners have eyed the site for decades, but only jumpstarted the project in June.

“For 20 years, the Navy Yard has made it clear that redevelopment of Admirals Row site is necessary, specifically to serve the local neighborhood,” said Councilwoman Letitia James (D–Fort Greene), adding, “This is great news on many levels.”

But lovers of historic buildings were furious, given that Admirals Row along Flushing Avenue contains a dozen 19th-century structures on a site currently owned by the National Guard Bureau. The city will acquire the land and then raze all but two of the dozen buildings.

“This is a complete failure of the system and the government to maintain its historic buildings,” said Simeon Bankoff, executive director of the Historic Districts Council. “It’s a disgrace.”

The Admirals Row is a relic of the days when naval officers and their families lived on the site. Over the past few years, the fight over the once-grand structures became heated as many locals championed the idea of a new supermarket while others argued that the more pressing need was the preservation of historic buildings.

City officials disagreed, saying that the buildings were “too far gone” and that the fastest way to redevelop the site would be to tear them down.

“This is the economically viable option,” Kimball said.

Still, history buffs will always have the Timber Shed.

The next developer — who will enter a long-term lease — will be required to rehabilitate the structure used to store ship’s masts, as well as Building B, an officer’s mansion.

Reach Kate Briquelet at [email protected] or by calling her at (718) 260-2511.

The Admirals Row will be torn down (though the buildings are in great disrepair already).
The Brooklyn Paper / Alex Alvarez