Saturday, February 28, 2015

Up or Down?

In 2012 the landmarked McGovern Weir Greenhouse, at Fifth and 25th, was purchased by Greenwood Cemetery, for use as a Visitors' Center.  The greenhouse was in a serious state of disrepair, and needed extensive renovations, but after the purchase the greenhouse was forced to brave the elements for a couple more years without any protection whatsoever.  Its decline continued.  In early 2014, however, an article in the Brooklyn Spectator outlined the cemetery's restoration plans.  At that time the projected completion date for the project was mid-2015.  Plans included the demolition of two wooden buildings adjacent to the greenhouse, which were said to compromise its structural integrity.

While HDC and CB7 expressed delight at the restoration plans, they also expressed concern over demolishing buildings of around the same age as the greenhouse.
We have concerns. . . about approving the demolition of neighboring structures before a plan for replacement is presented and approved,” wrote HDC. “After all, even no-style buildings in historic districts cannot be demolished without Commission-approved replacement buildings.
Are the conditions of the additions so dire that stabilization is not an option?That way, the structures could potentially be reused in future plans, plans which are still being drafted,” HDC continued. 
CB7's Land Use Committee and full board unanimously voted in favor of Green-Wood’s plans to stabilize and restore the property. However, according to committee chairperson John Fontillas, the panel’s support was given “with the understanding that we’ll see the design draft” once it is ready, and that the primary focus of restoration should be on the greenhouse itself before the neighboring buildings.
According to Colleen Roche, a spokesperson for Green-Wood, everyone can rest assured that “the Green-Wood team is working closely with the Landmarks Preservation Commission to ensure that its strict requirements are met.

Renovation work finally began towards the end of '14, along with a new projected completion date of 2016.  It certainly looks like this will be a slow & complicated process.  The buildings slated for demolition have remained standing, and I'd assumed they had been reprieved, but I noticed recently that a permit was submitted in December for the take-down of a "two story structure." Is this the corniced building seen below?  

Here's another shot, from 2011.

If this is the structure in question, is it worth saving?  I think its simple shape complements the ornate design of the greenhouse very nicely.  They look good together.

We'll keep an eye on that permit application.


Fifth & 25th (January '14)
Fifth & 25th (August '14)
Revealed and Hidden on Fifth (January '15)

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