After years of drama and controversy, the rent-regulated apartments at 406 Albee Square downtown stand empty, ready for the bulldozers. They were acquired by the city as part of a bigger package for $40,000,000 and will be turned into a park, as per the downtown rezoning plan established over a decade ago, in 2004.
The tenements, which have seen more than 100 years of humanity pass through its doors, occupy a clearing in the middle of high-rise development downtown. Directly across the street is the City Point mega-project, where towers as high as 60 stories will eventually be built. Behind it, on the next block over, the 35-story Ava DoBro is under construction at 100 Willoughby Street.
The demolition of these buildings has been years in the making. Most recently, demo was scheduled to take place in 2013, with the park tentatively scheduled to open in 2016, as we reported at the time.
The city has not yet been granted a demolition permit. The application was submitted in 2014, but the permit has not yet been issued.
In addition to lawns, walkways, and gardens, Willoughby Square Park will have an area commemorating the abolitionist movement. Long ago, the area was a hotbed of abolitionist activity, and six houses on nearby Duffield Street, now mostly demolished, were thought to have possibly been part of the underground railroad.
The park will sit over a 700-car underground parking garage, whose proceeds will help pay for the park. The developer is the Willoughby Operating Company, an affiliate of the American Development Group. It will lease the property from the city, as we have detailed in previous posts on the topic.
What is happening here is part of a bigger story of change, as small buildings in the Downtown Brooklyn area give way to high-rise development.