Red Hook

Here’s your chance to sound off about UPS’ plans for the historic Red Hook building

There’s a community meeting tonight about the Lidgerwood Building.

July 9, 2019 Lore Croghan
There’s a community meeting tonight about UPS’s plans for the south facade of the Lidgerwood Building. Eagle file photo by Lore Croghan

Delivery giant UPS has come to town to meet with the Red Hook community about the fate of the Lidgerwood Building — which UPS stopped tearing down thanks to U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez and Laura Lane, the company’s president of global public affairs.

This morning, Lane is scheduled to host neighborhood activists on a tour of the historic 202 Coffey St. foundry, which overlooks Louis Valentino Jr. Park and Pier. The get-together is strictly invitation-only and closed to the press.

Tonight at 6 p.m., the UPS executive plans to attend a community meeting about the property hosted by Velazquez’ representatives and City Councilmember Carlos Menchaca at the Hamilton, an events venue at 120 Hamilton Ave. Velazquez cannot attend herself because she will be in Washington, D.C., for congressional votes.

A Facebook posting about the meeting says “UPS will engage Red Hook community members and leaders to address concerns regarding their project at 202 Coffey St.” and will “share new plans for the south facade of the Lidgerwood Building.”

The company is planning to construct a new facility on a massive, multi-property site that includes the Lidgerwood Building.

Last year, UPS bought the historic building for $37.25 million and paid $303 million for the adjacent properties that make up the rest of the development site, city Finance Department records show.

Velazquez intervenes

Lane reached out to Red Hook activists after the corporate giant initially failed to respond to their pleas about preserving the south facade of the 1880s Lidgerwood Building, which faces Valentino Park. Instead, demolition crews started tearing down the iconic edifice on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend.

“We will be good neighbors in this community and bring a facility that reflects the beauty and historic character of the area,” Lane said in a recent email to a tour invitee that was shared with the Brooklyn Eagle.

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After workers tore down a chunk of the Lidgerwood Building’s south facade, Velazquez contacted Lane, who pledged demolition would stop while a new engineering analysis of the former foundry was undertaken.

A substantial portion of the Lidgerwood Building’s south facade is intact. Eagle file photo by Lore Croghan
A substantial portion of the Lidgerwood Building’s south facade is intact. Eagle file photo by Lore Croghan

As the head of UPS’s D.C.-based public affairs department, Lane is in charge of the company’s government relations in the more than 220 countries and territories where it does business.

The veteran lobbyist, who previously worked for Citigroup and Time Warner, did a seven-year stint in the U.S. Foreign Service early in her career. As a State Department officer at the American Embassy in Rwanda in 1994, Lane was in charge of evacuating U.S. citizens from the country at the start of its civil war, her online bio says.

In its early years, the Lidgerwood Building was a foundry that manufactured equipment which was used to construct the Panama Canal and the main dam of the Croton Falls Reservoir.

In recent years, the building was used for photo, film and TV shoots including episodes of “Gotham” and “Boardwalk Empire.”

Follow reporter Lore Croghan on Twitter.

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