By Raanan Geberer
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The long saga of plans for a supermarket at the former Admirals Row at the Brooklyn Navy Yard took a big step forward on Wednesday when the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corp. (BNYDC) announced the developer for the site.
That developer is Nassau County-based Blumenfeld Development Group. Among its best-known projects are East River Plaza in Manhattan, Bulova Retail Plaza in Jackson Heights and Gotham Plaza in Harlem.
Blumenfeld should not be confused with the actual supermarket operator (such as A&P, Gristede’s, D’Agostino’s, etc.), which will be chosen later.
In addition to the 74,000-square-foot supermarket, according to BNYDC, Blumenfeld will also develop 86,000 square feet of retail space and 125,000 square feet of industrial space as part of the $100 million development.
The development is expected to create more than 500 permanent jobs in the nearby Fort Greene area, which is home to several low-income housing projects. The plan was OK’d by the City Council in November 2011.
“This takes us a step closer to fulfilling our promise to the community to not only bring a major supermarket with fresh produce and groceries to the area but also add new industrial space and hundreds of permanent jobs,” said Andrew Kimball, president and CEO of the BNYDC.
The project will rise on the site known as Admirals Row, now home to 12 rundown former officers’ houses that were allowed to deteriorate after the original Navy Yard military base closed in 1966.
The Eagle visited the site, at that time owned by the National Guard, in 2008, and found that in many cases, the wooden roofs had caved in. In at least one case, a tree was growing through the former floor. The lawns were littered with beer bottles, and birds flew through open windows.
The controversy about what to do with the site pit historic preservationists against those, such as Councilwoman Letitia James, who argued that a supermarket was essential to Fort Greene. Like many low-income areas, it has limited shopping options.
As for the Development Corporation’s management, it argued that after 40 years of deterioration, the cost of rehabilitating the houses was too prohibitive.
However, two historic structures, Building B and the Timber Shed, will be restored and incorporated into the new development. The Development Corporation has already begun stabilization work on both buildings. The timber shed is so named because during the 19th century, wooden masts for sailing ships were made inside.
The Development Corporation has established aggressive community participation goals for the redevelopment of Admirals Row, including 30 percent of the overall contract values awarded to certified minority/women-owned businesses and an additional 10 percent of contracts targeted to local businesses.
Workforce goals for the construction phase of the project include 45 percent of jobs to be held by minorities and/or women and a local workforce goal of 25 percent.
“Brooklyn Navy Yard will soon be home to a major supermarket and retail space, creating hundreds of jobs for residents in Farragut, Whitman, Ingersoll, Fort Greene Houses and beyond,” said U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, a Brooklyn resident. “I am hopeful that this effort will transform this side of the thriving Brooklyn Navy Yard into a dynamic and functional space for all members of this great community.”