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A controversial plan to replace a strip of decaying 19th-century mansions in the Brooklyn Navy Yard with a supermarket inched forward last week when a new developer took over the long-stalled project.
Blumenfeld Development Group will bulldoze decaying estates dubbed Admirals Row later this year to make room for a grocery store and shopping center after the original developer lost control of the project amid a bribery scandal.
The arrival of a new developer ensures residents of the grocery-strapped neighborhood will soon have access to fresh foods, according to Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation CEO Andrew Kimball — whose company battled preservationists intent on saving the former naval housing and wrestled control of the land away from the feds to get the project moving.
“It’s going to be an extraordinary improvement for folks who live near the Navy Yard,” said Kimball.
Blumenfeld Development Group plans to spend $100 million constructing the shopping center and its 250-car lot. But before that can happen the Long Island-based firm — which previously brought a Costco and Target to Harlem — will raze nine of the 11 dilapidated houses built on Flushing Avenue near Navy Street between 1864 and 1901.
The two buildings that are in the best condition — a former officer’s home called Building B and the Timber Shed, which once stored ships’ masts — will be restored and likely converted into a combination of office and retail space, said Blumenfeld vice president Brad Blumenfeld.
Navy Yard honchos blame the Army National Guard, which maintained the property before transferring it to the city last year, for allowing the homes to decay.
“It’s tragic that these historic buildings had been allowed to crumble to the point in which it is not economically feasible to repair,” said Kimball.
But preservationists have long claimed all of the historic buildings could have been shored up and repaired, restoring the strip to its former glory.Reach reporter Natalie Musumeci at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow her at twitter.com/souleddout.
©2013 Community Newspaper Group
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