Keep company! Plans for ‘castle’-like Sunset Park station house include condos, community center

Keep company! Plans for ‘castle’-like Sunset Park station house include condos, community center
Ben Herzog Architect, PC

It could be this castle’s fairy-tale ending.

The landmarked, keep-like 68th Precinct station house in Sunset Park may finally get a makeover after decades of decay. Owner Yosef Streicher plans to sink nearly $6 million into the crumbling building, which has been vacant since the 1970s, to return it to its former glory, the developer’s spokesman revealed on Jan. 7.

“The landmarked castle on the corner of Fourth Avenue and 43rd street in Brooklyn is a rare architectural and historic treasure,” Streicher spokesman Barry Shisgal said. “Mr. Streicher is planning to invest an additional $5 million in restoring the castle to its original glory.”

Streicher aims to put a high-end café and a community center in the century-old station house and build 10 glassy, luxury condos on an adjacent lot, Shisgal said.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission designated the structure in 1983 and must approve changes to the building’s exterior, records show. The city sold it to a non-profit in 1985, stipulating it turn the site into a community center, according to the deed. But the group never made good. The property changed hands in 1999 and again in 2012, when the Brooklyn Chinese-American Association purchased the property intending to build a community center.

But it couldn’t cobble together the money to pay off outstanding buildings violations and restore the building per city landmarks guidelines. The structure continued to deteriorate, and the city threatened to sue the Brooklyn Chinese-American Association if it didn’t fix it up or sell. It unloaded the site to Streicher for $6 million last year, but the developer never returned this paper’s calls for comment.

The residential designs are preliminary — the latest rendition depicts a glass-façade building located in a strip of land behind the existing buildings that appears to have an entrance on 43rd Street. Streicher has not filed plans with the Department of Buildings, and the Landmarks Preservation Commission did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The precinct building and its neighboring horse stable first opened in 1892. What will potentially become a community center was originally designed to strike fear in would-be criminals’ hearts, according to a former Brooklyn police honcho.

“A man about to commit a crime would stand appalled at the sight of a station house such as this,” said Brooklyn Police Commissioner Henry Hayden at the building’s 1892 unveiling, according to historic issues of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

Reach reporter Dennis Lynch at (718) 260–2508 or e-mail him at dlynch@cnglocal.com.