Housing going up at Angel Guardian Home site: School also slated to be built at location

February 27, 2020 Paula Katinas
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The future of the Angel Guardian Home is starting to take shape.

Construction is well under way on a residential building at the site that will contain 115 market-rate units, Community Board 10 officials confirmed.

The gigantic property at 6301 12th Ave., which stretches from 12th Avenue to 13th Avenue between 63rd and 64th streets and is approximately the size of three football fields, is also slated to get a 600-seat elementary school and a community facility within the next few years.

The school will be constructed near the 13th Avenue end of the 140,000-square foot property.

The residential housing currently under construction is located in the middle of the vast property.

“That middle portion of the property is the largest piece,” Dyker Heights Civic Association President Fran Vella-Marrone said.

Plans have not yet been finalized for the exact use of the community facility that would be established in the original Angel Guardian Home building at 6301 12th Ave., but Board 10 officials and leaders of the Dyker Heights Civic Association said they’re hoping to see the building converted into a senior housing or assisted living facility.

“There is a deed restriction in place for the main building that keeps it as a community facility,” Board 10 District Manager Josephine Beckmann told the Home Reporter. “The hope is that it will become senior housing.”

The building under construction will contain 115 residential units.

The Angel Guardian Home had a storied history in Dyker Heights, and residents and community leaders were shocked when the property was sold in 2017.

The Sisters of Mercy, the Catholic order of nuns which owned the property, sold the entire, 140,000-square-foot campus for $37 million to development firm Barone Management.

Scott Barone, the owner of Barone Management, told the Home Reporter last year that he was committed to seeing a school and senior housing spring up at the site. “And I’m happy to say that we’re in the process of delivering on both,” he told this newspaper in 2019.

The site had served as an orphanage sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy for more than 80 years. It later became an adoption agency, placing thousands of children with new parents.

In 2003, the Angel Guardian Home was merged with another charitable institution, St. Mary’s of the Angels Home, to form the MercyFirst network of agencies.

From that time until 2018, the main building housed a foster care program operated by MercyFirst.

In addition, the Narrows Senior Center, a facility run by Catholic Charities Brooklyn & Queens, leased space at the site for many years.

The senior center closed in 2018, despite a public outcry and protest demonstrations, and the center’s members were dispersed to other centers.

As soon as word leaked out in 2017 that the sprawling campus was in the process of being sold, a group of Dyker Heights residents eager to save the original building and convert it to senior housing formed a committee called Guardians of the Guardian.

Meanwhile, efforts are under way to convince the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission to declare the main building a landmark, a move that would preserve it.

“That building isn’t going anywhere,” said Vella-Marrone, who added that the civic association has been working with the property developer.

The New York City School Construction Authority purchased a 24,000-square-foot section of the Angel Guardian Home campus with the goal of building a 600-seat, K-5 school there.

Construction has not yet started on the new school, which will become a part of School District 20 when it opens.

Councilmember Justin Brannan said he is pleased that a school will be built.

“District 20 remains one of the most overcrowded districts in the city and this new public school will honor the legacy of the Angel Guardian Home by continuing the tradition at this site of making the lives of children better. Full city blocks like this are rarely developed in CB10 and I am thrilled that this development will have real tangible benefits to the community,” Brannan told the Home Reporter in an email.

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