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Hasta La Vista, Baby! Demolition of Remsen Street eyesore begins

Demolition is getting underway at 153 Remsen St. where an apartment tower is planned. Photo by Lore Croghan

Brooklyn Daily Eagle

So it begins.

Demolition of Brooklyn Heights eyesore 153 Remsen St. started in earnest Thursday, with a worker telling the Brooklyn Eagle that very, very soon the derelict commercial building will be history.

“In a month or two, this will all be gone,” he said, taking in it and two small neighboring residential and retail buildings, 155 and 157 Remsen St., with a sweep of his hand.

The new owner of the three properties, Upper West Side-based Quinlan Development Group, is planning a 185-foot-tall apartment tower at the site, the Eagle recently reported.

For the first time in years, the door to long-shuttered Saigon Garden at 153 Remsen stood open Thursday, while workers moved in and out.

So, too did the entry door to the apartments at 155 Remsen – where window panes on the upstairs floors have all been removed.

Workers board up empty window frames at 157 Remsen St. above PhysioLogic, which remains in the ground floor of the building. Photo by Lore Croghan

At 157 Remsen, workers walked on a ledge, placing plywood in empty window frames. Below their feet, on the first floor, the last tenant in the buildings, a chiropractic service called PhysioLogic, remained open.

“We'd be done sooner if it weren't for them,” the demolition worker said of PhysioLogic.

PhysioLogic's director, Dr. Rudy Gehrman, did not respond by deadline to a request for comment.

Meanwhile, asbestos abatement is ongoing in his building and the two others through March 28, according to a sign posted at 157 Remsen.

The development site is located on a small stretch of Remsen Street that's outside the boundaries of Brooklyn Heights' historic district – so the city Landmarks Preservation Commission doesn't have a say in what gets built there.

The previous owner of 153 Remsen, the late Fred Musser, let the building fall into disrepair while he made plans to enlarge it and turn it into a boutique hotel. Quinlan let it continue to deteriorate.

Before scaffolding covered it last week, it was a once-handsome stone building gone bad, with smashed windows, torn awnings and graffiti all over it.

Quinlan bought the three buildings for $13.9 million last year, city records indicate.


March 13, 2014 - 4:30pm


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