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The demolition begins on Dean Street, with "blighted" 495 Dean (passerby: "effing property stealers")

Contractors for developer Greenland Forest City Partners today began hand demolition of two-story 495 Dean Street, one of two 19th-century houses long owned by the family of Jerry Campbell, which were taken via eminent domain (with the financial compensation yet unresolved, as far as I know).

Campbell was evicted in May from the neighboring, three-story house, after he lost title via eminent domain.

The two-story building, which had lost its roof and most of the second floor by the time I stopped by, is one of three houses left on a 100-foot stretch east of Sixth Avenue that was claimed, as best as I could determine, not because blight magically attached to that parcel.

Rather, at least in initial plans, developer Forest City Ratner planned to use the entire lot between Dean and Pacific Streets for construction staging when the arena was being built simultaneously with four towers.

That plan became financially infeasible, and the downsized arena was decoupled from towers that were supposed to share footings and mechanicals.

The three houses at left, along with a commercial building at Pacific Street and Sixth Avenue, are being demolished for B15 (aka 664 Pacific Street), a 27-story luxury rental building--oh, and with space for a 100,000 square foot public school.

A bitter commentary

As I stood opposite the demolition site on Dean Street, a guy with headphones walked by, muttering loudly enough to be caught on the video below.

I don't know if he was commenting with any specific knowledge of the situation faced by Campbell, or whether he was reflecting the feeling that something is amiss regarding land use issues. "Stealin' somebody else's property, that's all they doin'," he declared. "Fuckin' property stealers."

Falling, and rising

In the distance, the B11 tower, aka 550 Vanderbilt, rises steadily.