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Hanson sale halted — for now

The Brooklyn Paper
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A nearly century-old Fort Greene building, home to a warren of municipal offices and a day care center, has been temporarily spared the fate of its similarly historic neighbors: conversion into luxury condos.

The state-owned building at 55 Hanson Pl., at South Elliot Street, won’t go the way of the Williamsburgh Savings Bank building before it — at least not this summer.

“We’ve convinced [the state Office of General Services] that the building should not be sold, and now we’ll have to convince the governor,” said Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries (D–Fort Greene), whose district office, like those of some other state officials, is located in the building.

General Services handles the sale of other agencies’ buildings, but hasn’t sold one of its own since the 1990s.

State officials have never said that the building is officially for sale, but Councilwoman Letitia James (D–Prospect Heights) sounded the alarm after hearing rumors of a sale — and a subsequent conversion to residential use in the hotter-than-hot neighborhood.

In April, Jeffries warned that any sale would “intensify the gentrification sweeping across central Brooklyn, and make New York complicit in economic activity detrimental to working families, the middle class and small business owners. That would be a grave development.”

This week, he promised to make his and the “considerable community opposition … known to the governor.”

The Assemblyman and state Sen. Velmanette Montgomery (D–Prospect Heights) plan to meet with the governor or his staff in early June. General Services Commissioner John Egan plans to do a walk-through of the building later that month. It is only after all of those steps are complete that a final decision will be made.

“We’re going to conduct a financial analysis of continued ownership of building,” said Paula Monaco, a spokeswoman for the state agency that oversees the building. “Over the summer we’ll do some community outreach. After those items are complete, we will then come up with a recommendation for what should be done.”

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