July 22 will mark the latest public showdown over the fate of the Navy Yard’s Admirals Row — the string of old mansions along Brooklyn’s Flushing Avenue that has pitted preservationists who extol the homes’ dilapidated grandeur against the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation and residents of the Farragut Houses, who support a plan to raze the buildings and erect a much-needed grocery store.
The Brooklyn Paper reports today that a public hearing is scheduled for July 22, and that Councilwoman Letitia James of Clinton Hill has recently adopted a more conciliatory tone, presumably in an effort to reconcile the competing demands of her constituents:
Councilwoman Letitia James now says “some” of the tumbledown, historic houses in the Brooklyn Navy Yard should be saved, though she still supports the city’s plan to tear down the rotting Admirals Row to build a much-needed supermarket.
But James, who in the past was squarely on the side of the city’s plan which called for razing all 10 structures, hasn’t gotten too sentimental about the dilapidated buildings, many of which served as homes for high-ranking naval officials.
Ms. James told The Observer, however, that she has not altered her position. "I’ve always supported preserving some of the homes, if it’s cost effective," she said, adding that the supermarket remains her top priority.
While the Navy Yard falls under the jurisdiction of the quasi-public Navy Yard Corporation, Admirals Row remains under the aegis of the National Guard.
According to The Paper, "The National Guard wants to sell the land, and according to local law, must give the city first dibs. But because of the houses’ historic significance, the Guard must also go through an arduous public comment and historic review process."