Bad start at Elk’s Club

The Brooklyn Paper
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Workers began tearing down a former Windsor Terrace Elk’s Club to make room for three new townhouses in the increasingly popular parkside neighborhood — but they got off to a rocky start.

The city halted demolition of the vacant building, which is at the corner of Prospect Avenue and Vanderbilt Street, on May 9, scolding first-time developer and Windsor Terrace native Nick Caraguilo for failing to do the work in a “safe and systematic manner.”

Three days later, the city cited Caraguilo for using demolition machines when all work was required to be done by hand.

But to Vanderbilt Street resident Kryssa Schemmerling, those allegations were nothing compared to the construction worker who berated her for asking about the project, which is just south of the Sealy Street overpass.

“I was curious, so I asked them — in a completely neutral tone — what was going on,” said Schemmerling, who said the innocent question sparked a hostile diatribe from the worker.

“If people don’t stop bothering me, we’re going to put up low-income housing — then people are really going to be happy,” Schemmerling said the worker told her.

Caraguilo — who also lives on Vanderbilt Street— says he is taking the matter seriously.

He also said there will be no low-income housing at the site. Instead, he plans to construct three 30-foot buildings, each offering three middle-income units, one of which is reserved for his parents.

Caraguilo admitted that the project had a rough start, but since its early trip-ups, he spoke with contractors about behavior, attended community meetings to appease neighbors, and, on May 27, received a green light from the city to continue demolition.

Updated 4:01 pm, November 10, 2010
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