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Although the Timber Shed and Building B are set to be preserved and restored by the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, the transfer of Admirals Row from the U.S. Army National Guard Bureau could take a year or more. Given the Federal Government’s track record of inaction in recent decades, two New York City preservation groups are calling for special measures to be taken to ensure that the buildings don’t decay beyond the point of no return in the meantime. The Municipal Art Society is deeply concerned that a heavy snow this winter could cause irreparable damage to the Timber Shed, said Vin Cipolla, president of MAS. The Timber Shed, which once housed wooden ship masts, is the only remaining building of its type in the nation, and it is of exceptional national significance. Once stabilized, the building is imminently reusable and would contribute tremendously to the sense of place and urban design of this development project. The New York Landmarks Conservancy couldn’t agree more. “The National Guard has been woefully negligent of its duty and promises to stabilize and preserve the Timber Shed,” said Peg Breen, the Conservancy’s president. “Now that preservation engineer Robert Silman has determined that the building can be stabilized and eventually reused,” she added,” the National Guard must protect the Shed from potential damage this winter.”

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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]