The other day we reported that the developers of Essex Crossing had filed a pre-demolition application for two tenements, 400 and 402 Grand St. They pointed out that a demo permit will not be in hand for several months; the city will first require the development team to complete a lengthy checklist. Now similar documents have been filed with the Department of Buildings for another structure on the same development parcel.
In a filing recorded on Friday, BFC Partners (one of four Essex Crossing developers), started the process to tear down 185 Broome St., the old fire house on the north end of site #5. The area where the building now sits will become a 15,000 square foot park. In recent years, the structure served as home to Angel Aerial, a movie prop business. Although the city took possession of the property last summer, the company continues to use the parcel for storage. In the past few weeks, workers have been emptying the building; various items are now strewn throughout the lot.
Under a section in the Seward Park environmental review called, “historic and cultural resources,” the Art Deco building was described in some detail:
This building is the former fire station of Engine Company 17 and Hook & Ladder Company 18. It was built in 1937 by the Works Progress Administration and designed by James T. Treacy. Engine Company 17 was originally located at 91 Ludlow Street (built 1878), and Hook & Ladder Company 18 was originally located nearby on Attorney Street as early as 1897. In 1973, the two companies moved into a new station at Pitt and Delancey Streets that also contained the Seventh Police Precinct. That building still contains the police precinct and Hook & Ladder Company 18. Engine Company 17 was closed in 1991. The former fire station at 185 Broome Street is a two-story brick, stone, and concrete building designed in the Art Moderne style. The Broome Street façade is articulated with multi- faceted brick piers with concrete capitals that provide a sense of verticality to the small, low-rise building. There are two large vehicular entrances. Mostly recently, the building housed a company that provided equipment and props for the motion picture industry. In a letter dated January 12, 2012, OPRHP (state office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation) determined that the former fire station meets National Register Criterion C as a representative example of Art Deco civic architecture.
In addition to the park, site #5 will include a mixed-use building consisting of apartments, a dual-generation school run by the Educational Alliance and a still-to-be-named grocery store. A section of the lot is also being set aside for a possible public school.
Two other sites are included in the first phase of construction, scheduled to begin one year from now. Among them, site #2 (on the southeast corner of Essex and Delancey streets), where a new Essex Street Market is going o be built. Presumably, we’ll be seeing pre-demolition documents sometime soon for the old Essex Market structure, which is not currently used by vendors but is sometimes rented out for special events.
Essex Crossing, covering nine sites of the former Seward Park Urban Renewal Area, will include 1000 apartments, commercial spaces and community facilities encompassing nearly 2 million square feet.