Rep. Bob Turner (R–Sheepshead Bay) is coming to Brooklyn — and he’s moving to our old address!
The GOP lawmaker is opening a borough district office next month at the same Sheepshead Bay Road spot between Voorhies Avenue and Shore Parkway where Courier Life’s award-winning staff reported community news for more than 30 years before relocating to downtown Brooklyn in 2009.
Turner will take over part of the fourth floor in the five-story office tower that replaced our one-story headquarters, which is lovingly remembered in the community as “the old Bay News building.”
“I am looking forward to opening my Brooklyn district office to better serve local residents,” Turner said, not mentioning his new address’ storied history.
Turner beat Assemblyman David Weprin by collecting 54 percent of the vote in the heavily Democratic — though conservative-leaning — district that includes Sheepshead Bay, Marine Park, Gerritsen Beach, Bergen Beach, and Midwood.
Yet Turner may not be in his new Sheepshead Bay digs for long.
GOP leaders responsible for updating legislative district maps must eliminate two congressional seats in New York to conform with population shifts outlined in the 2010 U.S. Census. It’s been rumored that Turner’s district — at least the Brooklyn side of it — will be on the chopping block.
The congressman is still running for reelection this fall and may face a strong challenge from Democrat Assemblyman Rory Lancman (D–Queens).
Turner’s new landlord said Turner’s office lease ends in December, when the legislator’s current term comes to a close.
“Depending on what happens in the next election, he’ll be back,” said Alex Finkelshteyn.
The Bay News was founded as a newsletter for families of Brooklyn soldiers in World War II. In 1977, the paper moved from its original office on Flatbush Avenue in Midwood to the one-story bunker-style building on Sheepshead Bay Road, where it stayed for more than three decades before relocating to Metrotech.
Turner opened a Queens office in his bi-borough district shortly after taking office last September — but it took him nearly six months to find space in Brooklyn, fueling rumors that he might not set up shop here.
Delighted Sheepshead Bay residents said now they’ll have easy access to Turner whenever he’s home from Washington D.C.
“It’s great that he’ll be nearby,” said Tom Scalese, of the Sheepshead Bay Plumb Beach Civic Association. “Once he settles in people can go to his office with problems.”
But others said the congressman’s presence wouldn’t make much of a difference.
“It won’t impact me,” said Igor Bartashoff, the owner of Spot Cafe on Jerome Avenue. “He’s not going to sit in the office every day.”