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Landmarked Brooklyn Lyceum will become a Blink Fitness

Buffing it up: Developer plans to turn Brooklyn Lyceum into a gym

The Brooklyn Paper
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Muscles aren’t the only thing being built at this gym.

The developer that bought Park Slope’s landmarked Brooklyn Lyceum last year has benched its plans to turn the beloved former performance venue on Fourth Avenue into condominiums and will instead lease the space to a fitness-center chain — but it says it needs to get the building itself into shape first.

Real estate company Greystone announced Monday that it has inked a deal with Blink Fitness to take over the 107-year-old bathhouse between Union and President Streets.

But first, it claims it needs to remove the chimney and parapet, add signs, put a new entrance to the front of the building, stick an air-conditioning unit on the roof, and replace the current windows with what it says will be “historically-accurate” replicas — all of which will require approval from the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission.

Greystone says the chimney and parapet are neither historic nor functional, and that the new entrance is needed to make the building wheelchair accessible. It says the makeover will leave the facade in better condition than it is in right now.

“The exterior will not only be kept intact, but it will be restored to its original beauty,” said Greystone spokeswoman Karen Marotta.

But the building’s former owner claims the modifications will change the original “character” of the building, and hopes the landmarks commission turns down the plan when it reviews the changes on July 21.

“It goes against anything the landmarks commission should be approving,” said Eric Richmond, who ran a neighborhood arts venue in the building for almost two decades, and had long foretold that the building would become a Duane Reade pharmacy once he left.

Richmond first purchased the then-decrepit structure in 1994, and turned it into a popular local performing-arts venue — best known for its annual community production of “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

But he became embroiled in a years-long financial dispute with his former architect that left him with $5-million in liens on the property, and the building went into foreclosure. Greystone then snapped it up for $7.4 million at an auction in October last year, when it also bought the lot next door for another $12.5 million, where it plans to erect a 12-story apartment building.

But Richmond is still fighting to get the property back, which he says should never have been auctioned off in the first place. He filed a lawsuit in February against the bankruptcy judge who okayed the sale in order to pay off his creditors, claiming she did not give him enough time to file an appeal.

Richmond says he’ll keep fighting the judge until the building is his again. In the meantime, he issued a warning to the future tenants that if he wins his legal battle, any lease for the building would dissolve.

“I wouldn’t be signing a lease with Greystone,” said Eric Richmond. “If the only way they have a lease is through the violation of law by a judge then the lease doesn’t matter.”

Greystone expects to wrap-up construction on the property, as well as the new apartment building next door, in 2016.

Reach reporter Allegra Hobbs at ahobbs@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–8312.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Tyler from pps says:
So, the property is actually going to return to a similar purpose for which it was built... interesting.

(Side note. How long did Eric Richmond think his creditors should have waited for the $5 million?)
July 14, 2015, 8:12 am
Charles from Bklyn says:
The new boring Brooklyn ... pump it up.
July 14, 2015, 9:54 am
jjm from c. hill says:
I.can definitely see this place getting robbed every wk...just like everything else in ''tony" park slope.
July 14, 2015, 9:56 am
Tyler from pps says:
jjm -- You can see a $16/month gym getting robbed every week? What are they stealing, the Muscle Milk from the fridge or the soap from the locker room?
July 14, 2015, 10:42 am
Charles from Bklyn says:
Tony Park Slope? We've been kicking robber's butts in this neighborhood for years, and the bat at my door is proof. Why do you think there is low crime in PS? Jim, you're a real jerk to think everyone in PS is Tony, whatever that means.
July 14, 2015, 11:10 am
Joey from Clinton Hills says:
maybe he's talking about theft in the locker room?
July 14, 2015, 11:23 am
jjm from c. hill says:
Just look at all of the other gyms in the surrounding downtown area. Nothing but locker room looters, yes joey. Charles, how about asking that lady that got pistol whipped a couple wks ago if crime is low in PS. I've been telling you guys time & time again that the thieves are NOT stupid. They are watching every little high price development thats going on & they're drooling over who the next distracted & affluent mark is gonna be. But hey, yall dont listen for sh*t.
July 14, 2015, 12:25 pm
jjm from c. hill says:
Also, the at&t store got robbed a couple wks ago too in PS. Did they catch them yet? NO!!!
July 14, 2015, 12:28 pm
Tyler from pps says:
Do you have a point buried in all of that nonsense, jjm?!

I guess everyone should move out (run!) and all of the businesses should close. Right?

And, yes, a lady being assaulted 3 weeks ago is a clear indication of an unbelievably high crime rate. I'm scared to leave the house because of that incident several weeks ago. I mean, we could use statistics and facts, but I think I'll stick with jjm's assessment.
July 14, 2015, 1:01 pm
jjm from c. hill says:
Im not saying to move out or anything but you just gotta understand that this is BROOKLYN. Dont go walking around thinking you're in la-la land. You 've got people struggling to pay rent & other basic essentials meanwhile, you've got people with more then enough funds to live anywhere. The people from the projects & so forth arent wasting too much time doing local stick-ups anymore. They're coming to park slope & surrounding areas for their come-ups & have been doing so for the last several years. The more new developments & newcomers, the more targets. Its that simple.
July 14, 2015, 1:21 pm
lyceum guy from slope says:
What the reporter left out was that Greystone's representatives made several misrepresentations to the community board. They also showed either a complete lack of understanding of zoning, building and fire code or they were blowing smoke in the hopes, accurate as it turned out, that the community board was just going to rubber stamp whatever the big developer proposed. Sad.

Also, to Tyler, the judge, Carla Craig, has steadfastly repeatedly refused, against all laws and precedent, to address documented fraud by William Sandler of Troutman Sanders to bail out Arthur Cornfeld and David Topping (Damn Yankees Parentage). And perjury to boot.

Now if you had your mortgage company committing fraud and perjury, would you fight that out? I bet you would.

Looks like the judge has decided that a possible violation of a contract whose recourse is a court case is more onerous than fraud upon the court.

Any business that step into this pile of doodoo deserves the losses it is going to get.

They are deep pockets though. Blink is owned by Equinox which is in turn owned by The Related Companies of the giant EB-5 west side development. No connections there. Nope. Clean as a whistle.
July 14, 2015, 2:43 pm
Mario from Clinton Hill says:
I am so tired of that wannabe "jjim" using this board to pretend he's a "homie" and slur every minority with whatever slurs can come out of his tiny little imagination.

Get real, get a job, and get on with your life!
July 15, 2015, 11:34 am
Robin from Brooklyn says:
lyceum guy - I have heard of mortgage lenders that won't even accept a payment and foreclose anyway - is that what happened? Were you trying to pay them and they refused because they could get more in a foreclosure sale? If so I hope the judge comes down on them like a ton of bricks.
July 16, 2015, Noon
Karl from Park Slope says:
Wow, Robin makes a really good point. You know, when I first read about this, my thought was "Look, you take out a mortgage, you don't pay it, this is what happens. It's not an injustice if this was the only way the creditor was going to get paid."

But that's because I thought he was defaulting on the mortgage. If he was making regular payments and they foreclosed anyway then that is an OUTRAGE and we shouldn't take it any more! I am highly confident once this gets in front of a judge the judge will say "Wait a minute, you can't foreclose if you were getting paid!" Game over for those clowns.

Keep fighting the good fight, lyceum guy!!!
July 18, 2015, 1:46 pm

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