Dyker Heights

Dyker Heights group endorses Angel Guardian landmark

March 5, 2018 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The Angel Guardian Home complex takes up an entire city block and contains four buildings dating back to 1899. Eagle photo by Paula Katinas

The effort by a group of neighbors to convince the de Blasio administration to declare the Angel Guardian Home in Dyker Heights an official city landmark is gaining momentum, according to a community activist, who said that support for the proposal is growing by the day.

Fran Vella-Marrone, president of Dyker Heights Civic Association, said her group “is in full support of landmark designation for the Angel Guardian Complex” a four-building property at 6301 12 Ave.

A group of local residents calling themselves the Guardians of the Guardian has petitioned to the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission to place on the Angel Guardian Home on its calendar for consideration as a landmark.

“Together along with the Guardians of the Guardians, we are calling for the entire site to received landmark designation. From its Ecclesiastical Beaux-Arts style buildings to its lush green gardens, this site meets all of the required criteria including architectural, historic and cultural,” Vella-Marrone told the Brooklyn Eagle in an email.

The Angel Guardian Home was established by the Sisters of Mercy, a Catholic order of nuns, in 1899 as an orphanage. The Sisters of Mercy recently sold the site to an unnamed buyer for a reported price of $23 million, a real estate transaction that is raising eyebrows in Dyker Heights.

Turning the buildings into landmarks would likely prevent the new owner from tearing them down or installing major changes to the facades of the structures.

Neighborhood residents are concerned that the Angel Guardian Home site, which is roughly the size of three football fields, will be converted into luxury condos. Members of the Guardians of the Guardian are advocating for senior citizen housing to be built there.

The Angel Guardian Home has historic significance in the community, according to Vella-Marrone, who said it “has had a major impact on our community and those it served.”

The property is unique “and should be preserved in its entirety,” Vella-Marrone said.

The landmarking effort got a boost last week when a group of elected officials that included Public Advocate Letitia James, state Senators Marty Golden and Simcha Felder, Assemblymember Peter Abbate and Council Members Justin Brannan and Carlos Menchaca wrote a letter to Landmarks Preservation Commission Chairperson Meenakshi Srinivasan to request landmark status for the Angel Guardian Home.

“This complex occupies an entire city block between 12th and 13th Avenues, between 63rd and 64th Streets and includes a central administration building, nursery building, reception and intake building and a laundry building. These structures retain an exceptional degree of integrity and remain completely intact since the date of their construction, in 1899,” the lawmakers wrote.

In their letter, the elected officials expressed concern over the recent sale of the site.

“We are very concerned over the future ownership of the site, which, at this time, is not known. We fear that the change in ownership is a direct threat to losing this complex, which has been an important part of our neighborhood for over a century. Landmarking will ensure that these historically significant, beautiful structures will remain in Dyker Heights for future generations to enjoy,” the lawmakers wrote.

The elected officials also noted that there are currently no city landmarks in Dyker Heights.

“This scarcity of LPC-protected architectural resources in southern Brooklyn is cause for great concern, and it communicates a strong lack of parity for our districts compared with several other Brooklyn neighborhoods who benefit from landmarks. Dyker Heights’ building stock is being eroded away and has faced alterations over several generations, but the Angel Guardian complex has remained intact. This is the most remarkable collection of buildings in the neighborhood,” the lawmakers wrote.

The Angel Guardian Home buildings deserve to be recognized as landmarks, according to Brian Kaszuba, chairman of the Zoning and Land Use Committee of Community Board 10.

“We feel that the type of architecture and the type of style of the buildings is worthy of landmark status,” he recently told the Eagle.