A lone doorway peeking out from shiny new cladding is the only original detail left exposed at a former arsenal in Sunset Park at 6301 2nd Avenue.
Originally known as the New York State Arsenal, construction on the massive structure started in 1925 and wrapped in 1926. It was designed by Sullivan W. Jones, state architect for New York from 1923 to 1928.
Plans for refurbishing the exterior were filed in December 2014 and it looks like the bulk of the work is now complete, with little other than the massive scale and the lone doorway left to give a clue to its original use.
Underneath the sleek new cladding are the thick concrete walls of the original structure, which when built — before the construction of the BQE — was considered to be located in Bay Ridge and often referred to in press coverage as the new Bay Ridge Arsenal.
Sullivan purposefully designed a fortress-like structure, ideal for the original use of storing National Guard equipment. The building, referred to by the Brooklyn Daily Eagle as “the finest and most modern equipped National Guard State Arsenal in the United States,” also had training space and, supposedly, there were plans for a tunnel to connect it with the Brooklyn Army Terminal, located directly across 2nd Avenue.
The construction of the new arsenal was not without its problems. About 48 families had to be evicted from tenements located on the property, with some holdouts refusing to move. Then an error in the bid process caused a slight delay and finally, in 1930, just a few years after completion, major cracks began appearing on the surface of the concrete.
The facility was closed in the late 1950s and the very characteristics that made it ideal for storing arms eventually led to a new use as a storage facility. Extra Space Storage has rented out self-storage units in the building since at least 2012 — the building is owned by an LLC that purchased the property in 2005.
Based on the metal framing in place, it looks like the historic doorway may remain intact.
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