Poll: Sound off on the old 68th Precinct station house’s future

Landmark case: City to sue owner of crumbling building
Photo by Steve Schnibbe

They aren’t kidding around.

The owner of Sunset Park’s landmarked 68th Precinct “castle” wants to open a day care center in a long-disused horse stable next to the burned-out station house, a representative of owner Yosef Streicher said this week.

“He felt that it would be useful to have a day care center in the community and thought it was appropriate for the space, but it is all preliminary right now — nothing is set in stone,” Barry Shisgal said.

Streicher plans to build luxury condos on a lot behind the landmark on the corner of Fourth Avenue and 43rd Street, and a plan for a cafe in the actual station house is percolating, Shisgal said.

The owner was sketching ideas for a museum to showcase local artists or Brooklyn architecture, but he may scrap the idea, because it would not attract regular foot traffic, and Streicher wants the ground floor to attract community members to enjoy the 19th-century building’s unique architecture, Shisgal said.

“People only visit a museum once or twice a year, so we really wanted to keep the bottom floor open for the public to come in often,” he said. “We want to make it a place where community members can be comfortable walking in every day.”

The developer is considering using the station house’s top floor for condo amenities such as a laundromat or a gym, Shisgal said.

Sunset Parkers have suggested a public school annex to ease overcrowding in the district or below-market-rate housing, and others have panned the condo plan, charging the redevelopment would lack a community benefit because units wouldn’t be affordable for the neighborhood’s mostly working-class residents.

But Streicher needs the pricey digs to finance restoring the crumbling station house, which must be fixed using more costly, city-approved materials because it is a landmark, Shisgal said.

“Who has the budget to spend $10–15 million to fix it up before you even start putting in whatever community facility you want to?” he said. “If someone does, that’s great, but so far no one has — that’s why it fell apart for so long.”

The commission regulates exterior work that requires a Department of Buildings permit, but does not regulate a building interior’s use, according to a commission spokeswoman.

It will likely take a year minimum to nail down a plan and to get stamps of approval from the landmarks commission and buildings department, Shisgal said.

Streicher is open to suggestions for what should go in the precinct building, Shisgal said.

Reach reporter Dennis Lynch at (718) 260–2508 or e-mail him at dlynch@cnglocal.com.
Glass is in session: The developer plans to build a luxury condo behind potential station house-turned-schoolhouse.
Ben Herzog Architect, PC