Horse trading: Builder seeking rezoning of Stables-adjacent lot should offer some land to barn owner, beep urges

Saved: The owners of Kensington Stables, which was set to go to auction on June 22, instead are working out a deal with the city to purchase the barn, which will continue to operate as a public horseback riding facility once the negotiations complete.
Photo by Jordan Rathkopf

Say “hay” to your new neighbor!

A developer proposing to erect a nine-story, mixed-use building next door to Kensington Stables must consider the beloved barn in its plans, according to the borough president, who implored the builder to work out a land-use agreement with its neighbor in exchange for the city signing off on a rezoning request necessary to construct the mostly residential high-rise.

“I believe that the Kensington Stables are such a unique asset to Brooklyn, especially because of their close proximity to Prospect Park,” Adams said in written recommendations given as part of the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure. “These were crafted in pursuit of broader community considerations, in particular the preservation of an invaluable resource that is one of our borough’s most treasured amenities.”

Adams’s request — part of a 13-page set of purely advisory recommendations on the project sent to Council, which will ultimately decide whether or not to approve the rezoning — asks developer 57 Caton Partners LLC to reserve Ocean Parkway–facing land on its Caton Place parcel between E. Eighth Street and Coney Island Avenue for the barn, and work out a deal to sell or cede that portion of the property to Kensington Stables’s new owner John Quadrozzi, Jr., so that the concrete magnate turned equestrian entrepreneur can use it in his planned makeover of the riding facility, which he renamed Prospect Park Stable.

Providing Ocean Parkway–fronting land to the stables would benefit the business and — by extension — the larger community in two ways, according to Adams.

Firstly, it would cut down on horse riders’ trips from the facility to Prospect Park, because they could exit the stables directly onto Ocean Parkway and make a much shorter trot to Brooklyn’s Backyard than they do from the barn’s current staging area on Caton Place, which requires riders to navigate their horses down E. Eighth Street and then Ocean Parkway before reaching the lawn.

And secondly, such a deal would allow Quadrozzi to keep the aging stables — where the roof partially collapsed late last year, forcing the city to issue a partial vacate order that has since been lifted, although other violations remain, records show — open throughout the two or so years it will take for him to transform the facility into an eight-story building with new residences above the renovated barn, a project in need of its own city-approved upzoning.

The beep didn’t offer the developer any carrots in exchange for playing nice with Quadrozzi, but urged Council to think twice about approving the rezoning without first ensuring negotiations take place.

“[Adams] urges Council, as part of its consideration of the requested rezoning, to seek disclosure of the status of such negotiations from 57 Caton Partners, LLC,” his recommendation read.

Councilman Brad Lander, whose Council vote on the rezoning will likely seal the project’s fate as it sits in his district, could not be reached for comment on Adams’s recommendations because he is on vacation, a rep said.

Quadrozzi, whose Brooklyn Equine firm will operate the barn he finalized his purchase of earlier this year after winning it at auction last year when long-time owners the Blankenship family put it on the block to relieve debts on the property, also called on the city to move forward with a stalled plan to spruce up Prospect Park’s riding infrastructure — including the construction of a new arena — as part of his grand scheme for the stables’ future.

Neither Quadrozzi nor a rep for developer 57 Caton Partners LLC returned messages requesting comment by deadline.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Good neighbor: The builder wants to erect a nine-story, mostly residential tower at 57 Caton Pl., next door to the stables.
Photo by Caleb Caldwell

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