Friday, June 15, 2018

STATEMENT: Council Member Menchaca on Fire Damage to Historic Red Hook Bowne Storehouse

DATE: 6/15/2018
CONTACT: David Estrada
(718) 439-9012 | mobile: (646) 305-5224
For Immediate Release:
STATEMENT: Council Member Menchaca on Fire Damage to Historic Red Hook Bowne Storehouse
The two alarm fire last night at Red Hook’s historic S.W. Bowne Grain Storehouse, on Smith Street is highly suspicious.

It occurred after the Red Hook community raised alarms about recent, potentially illegal construction activity on the roof and after my office and community leaders took steps to start land marking the building. The red brick structure was built in 1886 and is a prime example of the Gowanus area’s rich maritime history.

No one was injured last night and I thank the firefighters on land and water who risked their lives to protect the building and neighboring structures.

While I’m reassured that there is an active fire investigation, I also call for full public disclosure of its findings about the cause of the fire. I am also calling on the Department of Buildings to make a thorough review of permits and violations at the site and to hold the owner accountable for a long series of irresponsible activities there.

The owner of this property, the Chetrit Group, has willfully neglected it and created a local nuisance for many years. Before the fire, my office was engaged with issues like sub-standard fencing, decrepit sidewalk sheds, unpermitted construction and demolition, and illegal dumping there. I also place the owners of this property on notice: I will not allow demolition by neglect or fire to prompt zoning changes that allow residential or other non-manufacturing uses at this site in Red Hook’s Industrial Business Zone.

As the Bowne Storehouse stood abandoned and unrepaired, a vital part of Red Hook’s history was threatened. This fire highlights the urgent need to land mark this part of Brooklyn’s history and I will work with Red Hook Community Activists to continue our efforts for preservation.

Copyright © 2018 Office of Council Member Carlos Menchaca, All rights reserved.
This press release or advisory is from the office of City Council Member Carlos Menchaca

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With the "Protect Our Homes" petition, CORD was formed in May, 2007. This petition arose as an overwhelmingly negative response to the coming of the over-sized 360 Smith Street Development at the corner of Smith Street and Second Place (Aka Oliver House; aka 131 Second Place). This petition, which had well over three thousand signatures, led to a new zoning text amendment in summer of 2008.

To: Our Elected Officials, Community Leaders, The MTA:
(MAY, 2007)

We the undersigned Carroll Gardens homeowners and residents, are appalled by the "as of right" ruling which allows owners and developers to erect buildings in our neighborhood with no regard to the impact they will present to our quality of life and the value of our homes........