It's been years since the early 19th century Timber Shed has graced Admiral's Row, but the historic storehouse is finally back.
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]
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]
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.
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.
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.”
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]