A historic Sunset Park building remains in ruins, but potentially for not much longer.
After years of neglect and continued deterioration, the former 68th Precinct building in Sunset Park at Fourth Avenue and 43rd Street, landmarked in 1983, may finally get some attention, with the Landmark Preservation Commission (LPC) putting plans in motion to sue the current owners of the building, the Brooklyn Chinese American Association, which purchased the space back in 1999.
Originally, the non-profit organization had plans to transform the former precinct, built in 1886, into a community center. However, since the purchase, there has been minimal progress made towards fixing the building and turning it into a useful space for the community.
The planned lawsuit came to light after an LPC attorney sent an e-mail to a staff member of Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams that was obtained by Executive Director of Sunset Park Restoration Tony Giordano. The letter outlined future steps that would be taken with the building, located on Fourth Avenue and 43rd Street.
“Draft legal papers have been prepared to bring a lawsuit against the owners of the landmark and the matter has been referred to the New York City Law Department for legal action,” said the memo. “The first step will be for a letter to be sent to the owner of the landmark from the Law Department advising the owner of the impending lawsuit unless immediate action is taken to address the situation. Next I will make a site visit this month (multiple site visits have occurred over the past 5 years).
“I am hopeful that prior to a lawsuit commencing, or shortly after our first court appearance, the owner will sell the landmark to someone who will be able to quickly obtain permits and make the necessary repairs,” the memo continued.
Despite the years of inaction, Giordano, who also runs the popular Facebook page Sunset Parker, expressed his confidence that the stalemate will soon come to an end.
“Personally I feel 100 percent positive that this will be resolved to the community’s satisfaction before the middle of the year,” he said. “I have followed what has happened with the building and for the first time in over 40 years I am confident, thanks to the borough president, that our building will be safe for future generations.”
That’s something that Sunset Parkers look forward to seeing.
“The building has potential,” said Ramon Oyola. “It would be nice if it would finally be restored. That’s what I would do, not knock it down but restore it. It should be used for a good purpose.”
By press time, a request for comment had not been returned by the Brooklyn Chinese American Association.