Red Hook

Demolition of historic Red Hook warehouse put on hold

June 6, 2019 Lore Croghan
UPS is doing a new engineering analysis of this still-standing portion of the Lidgerwood Building. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan

Community advocates who are working to save Red Hook’s Lidgerwood Building got promising news from its owner, UPS, which has torn down part of the historic foundry.

Following high-level executive conversations with U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez, the delivery giant ordered a new engineering analysis of the portion of the 1880s industrial building that faces Valentino Park, Velazquez’s office confirmed on Wednesday.

This park-facing exterior stands in a ring of 19th-century factories that give the waterfront park a sense of time and place. Valentino Park is a cherished recreation space for Red Hook residents and a favorite spot of visitors watching the sun set beside the Statue of Liberty.

“While the analysis is taking place, UPS has said no additional demolition of the Coffey Street façade side will take place, though demolition will continue on other parts of the site,” the offices of Velazquez and City Councilmember Carlos Menchaca, who both represent the area, said in a joint statement.

“We thank all the community stakeholders who made their voices heard to date and UPS for working with us,” they said.

‘Cautious optimism’ from elected officials

“These are positive developments and reasons for cautious optimism,” the politicians said, while promising to keep a close watch on the situation at 202 Coffey St.

UPS spokesperson Glenn Zaccara told the Brooklyn Eagle that UPS’s Chief Information and Engineering Officer Juan Perez’s June 4 decision to do a new study of the building was “informed by community desires to preserve a portion of the south facade of the Lidgerwood Building.”

UPS has promised to leave this part of the Lidgerwood Building untouched while it does an engineering analysis. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan
UPS has promised to leave this part of the Lidgerwood Building untouched while it does an engineering analysis. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan

The company shocked Red Hook advocates by starting demolition at the property on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend without responding to activists’ repeated pleas to meet.

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Last week, workers demolished a portion of the historic property on the corner of Coffey and Ferris streets at the edge of Valentino Park.

They have left a big stretch of the park-facing building untouched.

A site for film shoots in recent years

UPS bought the Lidgerwood Building for $37.25 million last year and paid $303 million for surrounding properties, city Finance Department records show. It’s going to build a new facility on the site.

The company created a dedicated email address — [email protected] — that interested parties can use to send UPS ideas about the project.

Lidgerwood Manufacturing Company, the property’s original occupant, made equipment that was used in the construction of the Panama Canal and the main dam of the Croton Falls Reservoir.

Demolition is continuing on parts of the Lidgerwood site that do not face Valentino Park. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan
Demolition is continuing on parts of the Lidgerwood site that do not face Valentino Park. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan

In recent years, the Lidgerwood Building’s interior was rented out for still-photography shoots and movie and TV filming. Episodes of “Gotham” and “Boardwalk Empire” were shot inside.

A community meeting that UPS President of Global Affairs Laura Lane promised to hold in order to discuss Red Hook advocates’ ideas about preserving the Valentino Park-facing facade has been postponed until UPS “has additional information to share,” the statement from Velazquez’s and Menchaca’s offices said.

Follow reporter Lore Croghan on Twitter.

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