After decades of neglect, a historic castle-like building in Sunset Park, Brooklyn may now be restored to its 19th Century glory. Developer Yosef Streicher is planning a $5 million restoration of the former 68th Precinct Station House located at 4302 4th Avenue, after which it will be home to a community center and a cafe, The Brooklyn Daily, first reported. An adjoining lot will see the construction of a residential building with ten luxury condos, also undertaken by the same developer.
The castle, as you'd think most castles do, has a storied past. It was built in the Romanesque Revival Style in 1886 by architect Emile Gruwe to house part of the Brooklyn Police force at the time, according to the city's Landmarks Preservation Commission. In fact this style of architecture was commonly used for police stations at the time, and can still be seen today at the 83rd Police Precinct in Bushwick, and the former 75th Police Precinct Station House at 484 Liberty Avenue in East New York. The latter of the buildings only somewhat bears a resemblance to the original building today.
After the city's police force was consolidated in the 20th century, the building eventually became home to the 68th Precinct. It stayed there between 1929 and 1970. The Precinct was moved to a new building in the neighborhood after that year, and the castle has remained vacant since. The interiors of the building were damaged by a fire in 1980, but the structure itself has remained intact. The building was landmarked in the 1980s.
The city sold it in the same decade, and in the years since its ownership has bounced between a couple of community groups, namely the Brooklyn Chinese-American Association and Sunset Park Music Group, according to Atlas Obscura. Both tried to make it a community center but were unable to. The former group finally sold the building to Streicher in August 2015 for $6 million.
Now Streicher is considering a number of concepts and designs to restore the building, but is most likely to select a design put forward by Brooklyn-based architect Ben Herzog, who has worked extensively on a series of townhouses in the borough, and specializes in renovation work.
Since the building is landmarked, any proposal will still have to be approved by the Landmarks Commission before the project gets a final seal of approval.
Here are some other proposed designs:
· EXCLUSIVE: Keep company! Plans for 'castle'-like Sunset Park station house include condos, community center [Brooklyn Daily]
· SUNSET PARK'S 68TH PRECINCT [Atlas Obscura]
· Fate of Sunset Park's Abandoned Police Station Still Unknown [Curbed]