Search Brownstoner

by

When we passed by the Timber Shed in the Navy Yard recently, the roof was gone. In May, the building was stripped down to the rafters, beams and posts while they reinforced the structure. But it looks like the brick sides are going back up. The frame structure peeking over the top appears to be scaffolding. The Navy Yard is rebuilding this historic building brick by brick.

Timber Shed Is Just a Skeleton [Brownstoner]

by
7


All the bricks are gone from the Navy Yard’s Timber Shed, one of the two historic buildings slated for preservation amidst the supermarket development here. The Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation began removing the bricks this spring (the bricks will be preserved) and the developer, Blumfield Development Group, is tasked with actually reinforcing the structure. In the picture after the jump, you can see how the ceiling frame is sinking in. This extensive restoration will be done to national preservation standards — no word on how long it’ll actually take.
Work on the Timber Shed Ramps Up [Brownstoner]

by
1


Work began last Friday on the Timber Shed, one of two Admiral’s Row buildings that were slated to be preserved under a 2009 agreement between the federal government and the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation. (The other nine historic buildings are heading for the scrap heap.) After being reinforced back in 2011, the historic structure lay fallow while plans for a large adjacent supermarket fell apart under a cloud of scandal and got put back together again. More recently, there have been some questions about whether the shed was beyond repair. Andrew Kimball, president of the Navy Yard, assures us, however, that it will be preserved and the removal of bricks is just a part of the stabilization process. The stabilized structure will ultimately be handed over to the developer, Blumenfeld Development Group, who will perform the restoration to national preservation standards that will make them potentially eligible for historic tax credits.

by
5


Earlier this week Sens. Schumer and Gillibrand wrote to Secretary of the Army John McHugh saying that Navy Yard officials should be allowed to have access to Admiral’s Row in order to make emergency repairs to the Timber Shed and Building B, and yesterday Community Board 2 joined the chorus. According to City Room, CB Chairman John Dew sent a letter to the army outlining “the board’s disappointment that there are no plans in the document to stabilize the Timber Shed, the last structure of its type in the United States.” Last month there was word that the army had determined that the Timber Shed was beyond repair and should be demolished despite plans to preserve the structure and Building B if the Navy Yard ends up redeveloping the site. The City Room story notes that the likely transfer of Admiral’s Row to the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation still needs to be agreed upon in writing by the National Guard Bureau, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historical Preservation, and after that the site still needs to go through an environmental review that probably won’t be finished until September.
CB2 Weighs in on Admirals Row Preservation [The Local]
Sens. Schumer & Gillibrand Pitch in to Save Admiral’s Row’ Buildings [Daily News]
Photo by Barry Yanowitz.

by
9


NPR has an update on Admiral’s Row that looks into whether the Timber Shed at Admirals Row is reaching its expiration date. The story notes that despite pledges that the Timber Shed was one of two historic Admiral’s Row buildings that would be preserved as part of the site’s redevelopment, “at the end of last month, the National Guard Bureau sent out a letter saying its engineers had declared the Timber Shed beyond repair and recommended it be demolished. Kristin Leahy, the Cultural Resources Program Manager for the National Guard, said the Guard wants to turn the building over to the city as is.” Preservationists and even the CEO of the Navy Yard are not cool with this news: “Still, Lisa Kersavage, from the Municipal Art Society, said was shocked to get the news. ‘It seems to be the decision was based on finances instead of what they should have been focusing on how can they mitigate the demolition of some clearly very important historic buildings,’ Leahy said. Andrew Kimball, CEO for the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, said changing the requirements could endanger the deal completely. He said the developer still wants to include the Timber Shed in the redevelopment plan. But he said they could only do that if the federal government acts expeditiously. ‘They need to stabilize the Timber Shed and B or allow us and our development partners on the site to stabilize the Timber Shed and moves forward with the site transfer,’ Kimball said.” Yes: Sucky all around. Once again, the National Guard Bureau seems to have sat on its hands too long, thus endangering a precious Brooklyn relic and potentially messing with the Navy Yard’s redevelopment plans. Not that this comes as a total shock.
On Historic Admirals Row, Fear That the End Is Near [NPR]
Preservation Groups Sound Admirals Row Alarm [Brownstoner]
BREAKING: Admiral’s Row Renderings Released [Brownstoner]
Timber Shed Gets Reinforced [Brownstoner]
Timber Shed Might Not Be Saved After All [Brownstoner]
It’s Curtains for Most of Admiral’s Row [Brownstoner]
Rendition of the Timber Shed by Lucy Sikes c/o NPR.

by
3


In May of 2009, after decades of neglect by the Federal Government and years of wrangling among preservationists and Navy Yard officials, it was announced that the Timber Shed and one of the historic residences on Admiral’s Row would be preserved while the nine other residences would be demolished to make way for, among other things, a supermarket. This past April, though, finding that the Shed was in worse structural shape than they originally thought, National Guard representatives said that it was possible that the historic structure would not be preserved but that it might instead be “something with the same footprint that is similar in type and feel,” a ridiculous idea in our opinion. Since then the site has been left to continue its decomposition, though concern about the brick wall along Navy Street led to the sidewalk being fenced off a few months ago. Then at the end of last week, a large new supporting structure went up along the wall. According to an n official at the National Guard, “it is being done so that in the event that the Timber Shed collapses, the large structure located only three feet within the wall, will not fall toward the street and injure anyone.” No word on the timeline for determining the final fate of the structure itself though. UPDATE: There is a meeting scheduled for November 17 with the “consulting parties” to discuss the future of the Shed.
Timber Shed Might Not Be Saved After All [Brownstoner]
It’s Curtains for Most of Admiral’s Row [Brownstoner]

by
13


The National Guard Bureau, the Federal agency charged with evaluating the historical importance and preservability of Admiral’s Row, held its fifth consulting meeting yesterday in downtown Manhattan with three dozen or so representatives of preservation groups, city agencies and other interested parties. As you may recall, almost a year ago the National Guard Bureau announced that only the Timber Shed and Building B would be preserved, a plan that the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corp. has structured its recent RFP for development of industrial and supermarket space on the six-acre plot around. According to Kristin Leahy, Cultural Resources Program Manager, Building B was a no-brainer: It’s the oldest and best preserved of the residences and will be the least expensive to restore. (The National Guard, which has only been in the driver’s seat since 2007, was unable to tell us which Federal agency bore the responsibility for allowing the buildings to fall into such bad shape.) The Timber Shed was picked for its historical significance alone (it’s the last of its kind still standing in the U.S.), and recent inspections by engineers have revealed it to be in even worse shape than initially assumed.

We were alarmed to learn that the recent findings about the building’s structural condition have re-opened the question of whether the shed will be preserved and restored to its original form or, alarmingly, whether it will instead be disassembled and replaced with “something with the same footprint that is similar in type and feel,” according to Leahy. “That’s still up for debate.” Earlier this week, Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corp. president Andrew Kimball said ground would not be broken until late next year. Before that occurs, according to Leahy, a three things have to happen on the Feds’ end: 1) The Army Corps of Engineers has to conduct another appraisal of the site’s market value; 2) Building B needs to be stabilized and protected from the elements; 3) A decision regarding the preservation of the Timber Shed (to restore exactly or to rebuild a similar building) needs to be reached. Once those three things are done, the city will have to make its decision on whether it wants to buy the property with whatever strings it comes attached with; the city is also free to do its own appraisal and try to bargain on price. If for some reason the city ended up passing (which seems unlikely at this point), the property would have to go through the lengthy GSA disposal process.

by
2


Biking past the Timber Shed at the southwest corner of the Brooklyn Navy Yard on Thursday we spotted a couple of men in hard hats poking around in a second-story window. (As you may recall, the Timber Shed is one of only two structures on Admiral’s Row that was slated, as of last May, to be preserved.) The spotting was curious enough to merit an email to the National Guard Bureau to see what was up. Turns out that The Guard recently performed a structural assessment of the historic building and, not surprisingly, found that it was “unstable and may be further vulnerable to collapse with impending weather conditions.” (And that was before the biblical rains of this past weekend!) As a result, The Guard has asked the city to cordon off the sidewalk and bus stop outside the shed and will be moving ahead quickly with efforts to stabilize (i.e. brace) the building. There was another structural assessment performed on Friday, the results of which we hope to have soon. In this case, time continues to be the enemy of preservation, so let’s hope that this stabilization process can forestall any worsening of the building’s condition to a point where those who want to tear it down will get their way. Meanwhile, in related news, we haven’t heard a peep about how the RFP process for a 40,000-square-foot supermarket adjacent to the Timber Shed is going.
It’s Curtains for Most of Admiral’s Row [Brownstoner]
Navy Yard Kicks Off Supermarket RFP Process [Brownstoner]