Brooklyn Lyceum Slated for Auction

The Brooklyn Lyceum on 4th Avenue and President Street on the border of Park Slope and Gowanus is headed for a foreclosure auction. The café and theater space in the former bath house is facing a lien of over $5 million. The property is owned by an LLC run by Eric Richmond who converted it to a cultural space in the 1990s–it now has three separate stages. According to The Real Deal, the lien consists of four separate mortgages taken out between 2003 and 2006. The building was a public bathhouse from 1908 until 1937 and re-opened as a city-run gymnasium in the 1940s before closing in the early 1970s. It was then used by a transmission repair business. It was placed on the National Register for Historic Places in 1985, and had been landmarked a couple of years prior to that. The building is scheduled to be auctioned on February 28 at 360 Adams Street in Brooklyn.

Brooklyn Lyceum Building to Hit Auction Block [The Real Deal]
Building of the Day: 227 Fourth Avenue [Brownstoner]

Photo via PropertyShark

53 Comment

  • Townie

    Milwaukee tried to repurpose a historic natatorium in the early 80′s… went bankrupt and the city foreclosed for back taxes. It was raised to make way for a playground.

  • dash

    Interesting- I always wondered about that building. Maybe too much of a beast for the owner to keep in good repair. I’m really glad it’s landmarked and I hope the new owner will breathe some new life into it. (and not ass it up!)

  • minard

    note to bottom fishers and people who carry large amounts of cash in their briefcase:

    This building is a NYC landmark.

  • Great location for a brewpub. Dinosaur Barbecue is going to be right around the corner. Just a bit too far from the arena, though.

  • Jay-Z should turn it into a club. Seriously. Would be huge. (Not that I would go.)

  • Turn it into a bank. Or at least another Trader Joe’s.

  • no-permits

    i hope this guy does us all a favor and let’s the auction go through without trying to delay the inevitable. it would be nice to see this building restored and repurposed.

  • How have we reached a point in NYC development where people are clamoring for *more* Duane Reades? No, thanks.

  • psloper, You have to go to a Duane Ready to get your drugs?!. There are at least three independent, friendly pharmacies on 7th Ave alone. Please patronize them.

    I really hope the building is not converted to chain retail.

  • It would make a terrific Duane Reade – perfectly placed. The pharmacies on 7th are way too far for most people that far down in the slope & gowanus, nor are there many ‘general merchants’ selling the everyday items that a typical large drugstore now sells.
    As for lamenting it as a “chain”, nothing is stopping a Neerguard independent from opening such a store….

  • Regardless, the most likely scenario is frankly residential

  • After the mayor successfully reduces the size of most new apartments to 150 square feet, we will need to bring back neighborhood bath houses because private, in-unit bathrooms will be available only for the wealthy (and people who bought before a certain point in time). Everything old is new again.

  • I suggest that some developer buy it, demolish it by neglect, then build a huge new building on site. LPC doesn’t seem to mind that these days.

  • expert_textpert

    LOL to park slopers seriously wanting this to be a Duane Reade.

  • All you silly little people lamenting a chain (or expensive residential) taking over this building ought to consider who has the $ to sink into this dilapidated structure and then maintain (what 16,000+sq ft) and make a decent enough return to justify it.

    I am sure all you loved that Mr. Richmond utilized this place for eccentric little uses, events and concerts (not to mention pithy little signs outside the subway). But while he was doing this (and apparently pulling $5m out as well) the building was deteriorating significantly. I am not sure what planet some of you people live on – do you want to save this magnificent structure or do you prefer that it slowly fall apart past the point of saving?

  • I say turn it back into a bath house for hipsters; they could use it. Seriously, Trader Joe’s would be a great move, the area needs more grocery stores.

  • The important point here is that the Richmonds (supposedly Eric bought it in partnership with his sister) were bad at upkeep, but milked this building for all it was worth; $5 million in loans attests to that. They charged high rental prices for crap facilities, and I was there for events twice when the power went out; even wiring was substandard. It’s been almost 20 years with nothing really done. Scaffolding goes up and comes down, for no purpose. Netting keeps masonry and terra cotta chunks from falling to the sidewalk. It’s a beautiful building that needs SOMETHING done for it to survive, and they never even replaced the decayed windows or removed the trees growing from the cracks in the cornice. I can’t say for sure that the lenders will recoup their loans, but at least it will be in better hands regardless of who buys it.

    • Dude, the power went out at the super bowl stadium. Get a grip. And if it needs something done, where have you been? He bought it…you gotta deal with it. And now it’s up for auction, and the people who think they are not hipsters on Brownstoner want… a Duane Reade? Pathetic. At least there were actual cultural events at the Lyceum. Why do you assume it will be in better hands by whomever buys it? Money doesn’t equal upkeep.

      • The building is a cultural landmark
        – having someone raid it for $5m and do nothing to help keep it from falling down isnt forgiven because he had a couple of flea markets and concerts.

        and while $ =/ upkeep; upkeep = money

        Unfortunately at this point only a large retailer or residential developer has the pockets capable of getting this building back into shape.

      • maybe you should raise some capital – blow it all on fixing it up – and then see how easy it is to make it back as a “cultural institution”

  • I got married there! We paid nothing to rent it, but a lot to decorate it and make it look like a wedding. It was an awesome space and very dramatic, but it could definitely use some better upkeep. The bathrooms were disgusting and our caterer wanted to kill us for making him work out of that kitchen. It would be great to keep it for events, there’s really nothing else like it.

  • East New York

    This could definitely work as a Duane Reade. Like brklynmind said, this is a huge land marked building that is deteriorated and will take a crap load of $ to get up and running. Who has that kind of development $ and can also build something that will recoup the investment? Aside from residential, that would be a chain outlet. A Duane Read would include a pharmacy and provide a legitimate service to the community.

  • minard

    Part of the problem this building faced was that it was zoned industrial so it could not be converted to apartments as of right. A couple of developers bought it and looked into it but ultimately walked away and it landed in the hands of the fellow who basically just milked the building of all its equity. Now that all of Fourth Avenue has been rezoned, it should not be hard to convert this to beautiful apartments. The current condition does not matter all that much as it would have to be entirely redone anyway. So I am hoping to see the long-awaited residential conversion as soon as it is wrestled from the clammy hands of the current owner.

    • no-permits

      you think this would look good as a residential building?! i think about that place on union and gap from last week.

    • no-permits

      “Part of the problem this building faced was that it was zoned industrial so it could not be converted to apartments as of right. A couple of developers bought it and looked into it but ultimately walked away and it landed in the hands of the fellow who basically just milked the building of all its equity. Now that all of Fourth Avenue has been rezoned, it should not be hard to convert this to beautiful apartments.”

      not that i support this guy richmond, and i like you minard, but you have no idea what you’re talking about.

  • but of course this brownstoner where many people like to talk all big about what other people should do with their money/property.

  • East New York

    “Now that all of Fourth Avenue has been rezoned, it should not be hard to convert this to beautiful apartments.”
    **

    Of course! Why didn’t anyone else think of that! All you need is a qualified developer, deep-pocket financing and the right marketing plan. Simple!

    I with DH. It’s really easy to spend a lot of $ when it belongs to someone else.

  • What about that dude who wanted to build the Cycling Thunderdome or whatever in Brooklyn Bridge Park? He’s got the scratch and the free time.

  • how come nobody suggested a really big nail salon?

  • I’m sure that Ratner, with his deep pockets, history of erecting quality, beautiful buildings, could do something wonderful with this. (sarcasm!)

  • NeoGrec

    If it has to be a retail chain, could we at least get a classy one like Room and Board or Crate & Barrel? Please, NOT Duane Reade!

  • dash

    Duane Reade was bought out by Walgreens, which is taking over America. No thanks.

  • 4th Avenue: Street of Dreams. Like the 68th station house at 43rd Street, lose the landmark money-pit label and you can do something with reasonable money. Otherwise, an on-site casino wouldn’t give you a return-on-investment.

  • As someone who lives right by this building and spends a lot of time on 4th Ave, I totally agree with everyone who wants a Duane Reade. The 7th Ave Neergard is too far and so is the 9th St/6th Ave CVS. A big chain drugstore is needed in this spot. And maybe the bottom floor/basement could be made into a new access (with an elevator) to the subway platform!!

    • as someone who gave my heart and soul to this building and its mission (and for the record got more than a little hurt in the process) I still say, this statement, this sentiment, is pretty disgusting. How lazy are you? Nine blocks is not far, you are built to be motile, brooklyn needs chain stores like it needs smallpox. Go back to Ohio, people like you are the reason New York looks more like jersey every day.
      I don’t agree with the way the man handled his business, but I love the building. Please go move to la, you are the definition of the problem.

      • NY doesnt look like Jersey (and most of the people who say that are people from Ohio who come here to live out some romantic NYC fantasy they saw in the movies)
        Real New Yorkers (and anyone else that is quasi reasonable) recognizes that life requires a balance and so while it is great to support that small mom and pop shop, some of us have lives beyond making a political statement by where we buy our toilet paper and tampons.
        And yes 1mi (you have to walk back genius) is too far to go to get a prescription filled or get cold medicine….especially when you are sick.

        • I walk eight miles home every day sick or well, you people are lazy. You are made to be motile, we used to give birth on the ground and move on. Get over it. get your goddamn tampons from target and leave cultural institutions alone. I was born and raised here and it makes me ill how people choose convenience and the ability not to have to shift their fat asses about over things of value and importance. And yes I am irrationally angry because I cannot believe how much you people you people who live in brooklyn because you want to be part of culture and wear that so snobbishly on your sleeve I cannot believe how vapid and empty you are. You are just gross.

  • dannyhellman

    Sandman is right. The Lyceum/Bathhouse bldg. would make a FANTASTIC new location for the PS Food Co-Op.