Con Ed: Give Power Plant to Navy Yard
As exclusively reported here a couple of weeks ago, Con Edison is in the midst of some very heavy-duty "spring cleaning" at the historic BMT Powerhouse at 500 Kent Avenue in Williamsburg. Though the utility officially denies prepping the building for demolition, our sources tell us otherwise.
Meanwhile, a November 5th Brownstoner post, confirmed by the New York Post a few weeks later, revealed that the Brooklyn Navy Yard (now a 300-acre, city-owned industrial park) has hatched a plan to fill a long-unused basin at the north end of the Yard, annexing up to 16 additional acres along Kent Avenue including the city vehicle auction lot, a road-salt depot, and a former gas plant site.
Which brings us back to the power plant. The hulking Renaissance Revival structure borders the anticipated Navy Yard annex on two sides, and fits perfectly within the wide range of existing industrial buildings on the former Naval base. The huge, high-ceilinged turbine room could host a set-building business or serve as an additional soundstage for Steiner Studios. The plant is also filled with smaller-scaled industial floors perfect for warehousing or light manufacturing. And the street side fronts directly on the sidewalk, meaning it works with the Navy Yard's proposal to include some retail frontage along the desolate stretch of Kent Avenue.
Handing the powerhouse over to the Navy Yard would avoid the inevitably drawn-out preservation fight: the one where prospective developers insist the structure is too polluted to convert to housing and therefore must be demolished and replaced with a glassy high-rise. Con Ed gets a liability off their books, and the grand old plant gets a second life helping new businesses grow and providing some badly-needed commercial diversity by adding new industrial jobs at a time when blue-collar jobs are rapidly being squeezed out of the city.
Are Renovations Prelude to Demolition? [imnotsayin]
Navy Yard Watch: Multi-Use Complex for Kent Avenue [Brownstoner]
Dredge Report: Brooklyn Gaining Navy Yardage [NY Post]