Thursday, January 29, 2009

City Secures Rest of Willoughby Square Park Properties

Brownstoner covers the City acquisitions to create Willoughby Square:

It looks like we were on to something when we reported the city's acquisition of two properties in the Willoughby Square Park footprint earlier this month. Now the rest of the pieces of the puzzle have fallen into place: Public records show that the city has taken title to nine properties through the process of eminent domain. The properties include 392, 402, 404, 406, 416, and 418 Albee Square as well as 223, 225 and 229 Duffield Street. Based on our understanding of how the eminent domain process works, the owners will not receive full compensation from the city until appraisals are completed. A few of these buildings still have some rent-controlled tenants in them who are being relocated by HPD. As for the city's plans for the project, the RFP process for both the landscape design of the 1.25-acre park and the development of the 700-car underground parking garage have been completed but the contracts have not been awarded or announced yet.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Surviving '08 and hope for '09

227 Duffield keeps on keeping on, and the press keeps noticing. Curbed puts Duffield on its list of three "Threatened Neighborhood Landmarks That Are Somehow Still Standing":

The houses, on Duffield Street in Downtown Brooklyn, found themselves the target of the city's eminent domain policy as politicians eyed--er, a parking garage, for the space. Given the economic situation, this one's anyone's call as to how it will end up. Our prediction: Underground Railroad-themed parking garage! Yes? Good?

AMNY put Duffield #4 on list of 10 to save at the end of 2007. Here's their recent follow up:

Nos. 231 and 233 Duffield Street
New plans for this block of homes included an Underground Railroad museum and sale of air rights for a new hotel. But negotiations between the owner and developer have stalled, and the project may be scaled back.

Finally, the Brooklyn Paper puts Duffield on "90 to watch in ‘09!":

67. Abolitionist monuments: The city announced plans to create a $3-million, four-part abolitionist memorial throughout Brooklyn, with plans to start a museum in the former Underground Railroad houses on Duffield Street, set to start in the new year. We’ll believe it when we see it.

There are several factual errors in all these... AMNY should know that 227 Duffield is the most prominent of the Abolitionist homes, and that 233 is owned by a strong advocate of the history. He is not selling, but the developers at V3 have already gotten control of 231 and have applied for a permit to destroy the building.

We do hope, as implied by the Brooklyn Paper, that the city's abolitionist memorial will include Duffield Street. That's not part of the city's plan, but the the groups awarded the contract have the opportunity to include Duffield. Let's hope they do!

I remain hopeful about establishing a museum at 227 Duffield this year. Keep posted for news.