A Williamsburg preschool is in danger of closing because its landlord is selling the schoolhouse to a developer.
The city told Bushwick United it needs to leave its Manhattan Avenue preschool building at Meserole Street by the end of the year, according to the school. The facility houses a Head Start Program serving 106 children. Bushwick United spokeswoman Marilyn Acosta said the city told her the new owner plans to tear the place down and build luxury housing on the spot.
“They are letting people build condos and forget about the children,” said Bushwick United spokeswoman Marilyn Acosta. “It is really frustrating and we do not know what to do.”
Bushwick United, an education and social services provider, runs eight other preschool facilities in Williamsburg and Bushwick. There is some extra basement space in its building at 600 Hart St., but not enough to accommodate 106 kids and 18 teachers, Acosta said. That location is also far away from many of the poor families who rely on workers at the Manhattan Avenue space for help navigating services such as food stamps.
The announcement yesterday came the same day that Mayor DeBlasio touted meeting his goal of 53,000 students enrolled in his signature universal prekindergarten program. The city said it is looking for a new facility for the Williamsburg preschool.
“The Administration for Children’s Services is actively working with City Hall, local elected officials, and other city agencies to resolve the question of where the children served at this location will continue to receive early care and education services,” spokesman Christopher McKniff said. “We will continue working to ensure that the best interests of the children are prioritized.”
McKniff declined to discuss whether or how the city negotiated with the landlord, or if it had received an eviction notice.
Bushwick United is not the only preschool in Williamsburg that is threatened by development. The Small World preschool on Ainslie Street has been operating under a dark cloud since the building was sold last year. The building’s occupants, which also include the Swinging Sixties Senior Center, originally received an eviction notice on Christmas Eve of last year, according to staffers, but the ouster has been caught up in litigation since.