Plans revealed for Angel Guardian while demolition begins on St. Rosalia

May 3, 2018 Meaghan McGoldrick
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Plans for the storied Angel Guardian Home have finally been revealed.

According to The Brooklyn Daily, the site’s long-mysterious developer Scott Barone has finally been given some wiggle room in his confidentiality agreement with the historic site’s owners, the Sisters of Mercy, and has revealed his intentions for the site: “A senior center, affordable housing, senior housing and perhaps a school.”

According to The Daily, Barone — the founder and president of the Manhattan-based Barone Management — stated “that he has already had meetings with the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) about the century-old main building, but his current plans are to preserve it as part of the final design, though he’s not yet sure what would go there.”

The home, located at 6301 12th Avenue, was sold at the end of last year.

Plans are expected to be finalized, Barone said, within the next two to three months, given approval from the Vatican.

The Daily reports that “60 percent of the block-sized property bound by 63rd and 64th streets and 12th and 13th avenues will be devoted to market-rate condos, with an additional 15 percent earmarked for affordable housing and the last 25 percent split between senior housing and perhaps a school.”

These negotiations were teased by State Senator Marty Golden at a Friday, April 20 rally to save the Narrows Senior Center — the last remaining lease-holder within the storied 140,000-square-foot, block-long Angel Guardian Home. The rally was one of three organized by Pauline Castagna, a local supporter of both the home and the center. All three were also supported by the Guardians of the Guardian, a grassroots group of neighbors set on saving the Angel Guardian Home, its senior center and, most recently, St. Rosalia Church.

If given the green light, Barone will reportedly offer the Narrows Senior Center a long-term lease at its current rent when the new buildings are complete.

The site was built in 1902, according to city records, and served as an extension of the Convent of Mercy, housing hundreds of orphans and eventually acting as a formal adoption agency until the 1970s.

In 2003, the Angel Guardian Home merged with St. Mary’s of the Angels Home to form the MercyFirst network of agencies. Up until late last year, the campus – which spans the entire block – housed the offices for the Sisters’ foster care program as well as a senior center, which, operated by Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens, was once safe until June.

“We want to maintain this building, we want to maintain this property and, most of all, we want to keep our seniors here,” contended Fran Vella-Marrone, president of the Dyker Heights Civic Association and active member of the Guardians at the April 20 rally. “That’s what this is all about.”

Meanwhile, demolition has already begun on St. Rosalia, another Dyker Heights institution which was founded in 1902 as an Italian national parish. Its sale, first announced last spring via a decree from the Diocese and first reported by this paper, was met with disappointment from local residents.

Its 21,000-square-foot lot, being prepped for sale as a blank slate, is just blocks away from the Angel Guardian Home.

A spokesperson for the LPC told this paper in March that it had received a request to evaluate St. Rosalia Church and that it was “under review.”

The same spokesperson, when asked for an update, said Thursday that “after carefully reviewing the building’s architectural and historical qualities, LPC determined that it does not rise to the level of significance necessary for consideration as a potential individual landmark. We appreciate the importance of the building to its community, but in a city the size of New York, with its many religious structures, the Commission must be very selective in choosing examples of this building type for designation as individual landmarks.”

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