Wreck center: Park Slope armory is empty after $16M rehab

Wreck center: Park Slope armory is empty after $16M rehab
The Brooklyn Paper / Jeff Bachner

This beautifully restored Park Slope armory may look primed and ready to host track and field meets, but don’t lace up your running shoes just yet.

The city has still not selected a private operator to run the athletic facility, even though it has invested $16 million towards rehabbing the building and began soliciting proposals last summer.

On Tuesday, Eric Deutsch, a spokesman for the Department of Homeless Services, which also operates a women’s shelter on site, told The Brooklyn Paper that the city was evaluating the only two proposals it received.

In 2004, the city announced it would rehabilitate the run-down Eighth Avenue building, between 14th and 15th streets, and turn most of it into a privately run athletic center, while still reserving space for the women’s shelter and for area veterans groups.

At the time, the city said the project would be completed by 2006. But that date came and went. Potential operators were supposed to respond to the city’s request for proposals by the end of September, but the city pushed back the deadline at least twice.

The concessionaire selected for the project will have to find a way to make money, while allowing neighborhood schools to use it free of charge.

Meanwhile, community leaders are complaining they’ve been left in the dark.

“The entire project was approached ass-backwards,” said Community Board 6 district manager Craig Hammerman, referring, among other things, to the city’s decision to fund the renovation of the armory and then later ask outside firms to operate it.

“They hijacked the process from us many years ago and left the community in the dark.”