Though Not Currently for Sale, Could Be Part of
Broader State Real Estate Strategy
By Linda Collins
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
FORT GREENE — The state has indicated it might sell the Shirley Chisholm State Office Building at 55 Hanson Place in Fort Greene.
And state Sen. Velmanette Montgomery objects.
“This continues the wasteful pattern of selling state buildings and then renting space for state offices from private developers,” she said in an email to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle Wednesday. “It removes easy access to local government offices from the people.”
First reported in the New York Daily News on Tuesday, the state has not confirmed the sale of the circa-1915, 14-story office building, but a spokesperson for the Empire State Development Corp. (EDSC) told the Daily News (and confirmed for the Brooklyn Eagle) that the state is working on a broader plan to cash in on real estate.
“We are still in the planning stages for the downstate region and while the building in question is not currently for sale, a broader strategy for both owned and leased space in New York City is being discussed,” said EDSC spokesperson Austin Shafran.
He also told the News and the Eagle, “As part of the administration’s ongoing effort to re-imagine state government operations, we have been developing a strategy to manage all of our real estate assets statewide. Our goal is to maximize the use of space, minimize costs and achieve significant savings for taxpayers.”
Montgomery said she would fight any attempt to sell the building.
“We would be losing our direct access to government and having to go for that access to Manhattan,” she said. “That to me is blatantly unfair.”
The building currently houses offices for the state Department of Taxation, Office of Children and Family Services, and other agencies.
Montgomery, who is the ranking member of the state Senate’s Committee on Children and Families, has launched a “Save the Shirley Chisholm State Office Building” campaign and is asking residents to complete a survey — which is available at www.nyssenate18.com — about what they want to see in agencies and service for that building.
“I believe the community knows best what the community needs,” she says on the survey page. “Please help to develop a plan to best utilize this valuable property.”
As the Daily News noted, she is pushing to move more of the state’s scattered offices to the building it already owns, as well as encouraging the possibility of renting space out to nonprofits and community groups.
“That makes more financial sense,” she said.
Besides 55 Hanson, the only other state office building in the city is in Harlem, the News said.