Sunset Park

Condos planned for Sunset Park’s landmarked 68th Police Precinct Station House and Stable

Eye On Real Estate

January 13, 2016 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The new owner's architects and engineers are reviewing several design concepts for the planned condo conversion of the 68th Police Precinct Station House and Stable. This is one. Rendering courtesy of Brooklyn Police Castle Inc.

The castle is going condo.

That’s the word from the new owner of the 68th Police Precinct Station House and Stable, a decrepit Sunset Park architectural gem that looks like a red-brick castle.

The Romanesque Revival-style landmark at 4302 Fourth Ave. has been vacant since the mid-1970s and in dire need of repairs for decades.

Yosef Streicher told the Brooklyn Eagle he plans a condo conversion of the historic property and would include a child care center in the former precinct station house.

“We would like to build 40,000 square feet if possible. That’s what we’re fighting for,” he said.

Streicher bought the landmark for $6 million this past July through an entity called Brooklyn Police Castle Inc., city Finance Department records indicate.

Before he can move forward, he must, of course, win the city Landmarks Preservation Commission’s approval for his proposed restoration and adaptive reuse plan for the old precinct headquarters.

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The combined size of the precinct station house — which is the building that’s thought of as a castle — and the stable is 19,000 square feet, owner’s rep Barry Shisgal told the Eagle.

The 21,000 square feet of proposed new construction would be an “extension with approximately 10 condos” on the 43rd Street side of the property where a driveway now stands, Shisgal said.

Perhaps portions of the top floors of the castle would be put to residential use, with some condo units having rooms in both it and the new extension, he said.

A “community facility and a luxury café” would be opened in the existing buildings, the owner’s rep said.  

The developer is thinking of including a small museum in the existing landmark, Shisgal added.

Streicher’s architects and engineers are now reviewing several design concepts for the planned project.

The developer plans to invest $5 million to restore the landmark. Extensive shoring is needed, floors and ceilings must be reconstructed and support beams must be replaced, Shisgal said.

Despite the castle’s fragile state, its interior is “majestic,” he said. “You stand inside and you’re in awe.

“We intend to restore this property to its glory days. It’s a treasure. It’s literally a treasure.”

He thinks that in three months, presentation materials for the proposed project will be finalized and ready for a Community Board 7 review, then a Landmarks Preservation Commission hearing.

Roof repair when Mario Cuomo was governor

A sign behind a chain link fence that surrounds the property touts an Environmental Quality Bond Act Project.

Gov. Cuomo’s name is on the sign. As in Mario Cuomo. The date on the sign is 1986.

The bond money was used mostly for roof repair. Otherwise, the place is a hot mess, to put it mildly.

“Unfortunately, we’re seeing it continue to rot away,” Jeremy Laufer, Community Board 7’s district manager, told the Eagle.

“Hopefully the owner will be able to bring it back to its former glory,” he said.

Streicher told the Eagle he’s up to the task of restoring the castle and thereby improving the quality of life in Sunset Park.

“We feel we can do the job,” he said.

A prior purchaser paid $15,000

The long-locked-up landmark was designed by architect Emile Gruwe and built in 1886. It is one of the very few 19th-Century Brooklyn police stations still in existence. It was designated as a city landmark in 1983.

Want to know what previous purchasers have paid for it over the years? Of course you do. These details came from Finance Department records unless otherwise noted:

* The City of New York sold 4302 Fourth Ave. at auction in 1974 for $68,000 to Gen-Aro Construction Corp.

* In 1979, the city took possession of the old precinct headquarters in a tax-lien foreclosure.

* The City of New York sold it at auction in December 1984 for $15,000 to the Sunset Park School of Music. A restrictive covenant in the deed stipulated that the property be used for not-for-profit music education for a decade.

* In 1999, the music school sold the castle to an entity connected to the Brooklyn Chinese-American Association. According to a Daily News story, the price was a bit more than $200,000.

* In January 2015, the Brooklyn Chinese-American Association sold 4302 Fourth Ave. for $2.6 million to an LLC with Ami Ariel as its authorized signatory. Online listings identify Ariel as the head of real estate firm G-Way Management. That LLC sold the landmark to Streicher a few months later.

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