Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Demolition visible at Dean Street row houses (but what about the Construction Update?)

Since the week beginning September 22, the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC), in its Atlantic Yards Construction Update, has alerted community members that demolition would begin at 487 Dean Street (block 1128, lot 89) and at 489 Dean Street (block 1128, lot 88), two structurally sound row houses just east of Sixth Avenue, targeted (along with the three houses to the east) to become a staging area for arena construction, should it ever begin, and later a tower, oh, nearly seven times taller, at 272 feet.

While interior demolition work may well have occurred, only this week did demolition become truly visible, with the windows hollowed out of the buildings. It can't be pleasant for the neighbors next door, who are plaintiffs in the pending eminent domain lawsuit.

Oddly enough, the Construction Update sent out November 17 omitted these buildings (see map at bottom).

(Photos above and below by Tracy Collins. Note the Spalding Building across Sixth Avenue in the background; if and when Forest City Ratner demolishes this industrial building that was renovated into loft condos, we'll know there's no turning back.)

What the Blight Study said

Regarding 487 Dean Street, the ESDC's Blight Study found a highly alarming cracked sidewalk and a few squiggles of graffiti. It stated:
Unsanitary and Unsafe Conditions
The sidewalk along the 6th Avenue side of lot 89 is in poor condition. In some places, the sidewalk is cracked and crumbling and in others, it is poorly patched (See Photograph B). Weeds grow along the curb for the length of the lot. In addition, as shown in Photographs C and D, graffiti has been painted on the western fa├žade of the building, which faces 6th Avenue.
Indications of Structural Damage
A structural due diligence survey has not been conducted for this lot. The visual assessment did not indicate that the building structure is substantially compromised.


Regarding 487 Dean Street, the ESDC's Blight Study stated, in part:
Unsanitary and Unsafe Conditions
No unsanitary or unsafe conditions were identified as part of the visual assessment.
Indications of Structural Damage
A structural due diligence survey has not been conducted for this lot. The visual assessment did not indicate that the building structure is substantially compromised.


At right is a photo I took in the summer of 2006.

The ESDC's map

The ESDC also circulated a map (click to enlarge) regarding the demolition status of property in the footprint. I've circled the buildings at issue. Note that the largest single property, in dark gray, is the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's Vanderbilt Yard.

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