The city will not raze Sunset Park’s landmarked old 68th Precinct Station House on Fourth Avenue to make way for a grade school. Instead, the state has approved plans to preserve half of the building’s facade and gut the rest to accommodate the school.
School Construction Authority reps raised the controversial possibility of knocking over the crumbling landmark to erect a 300-seat school last summer, but couldn’t move forward with plans until the State Historic Preservation Office okayed the project. Officials rehashed the design and settled on a compromise that saves most of the facade but sacrifices the horse stable, much to the locals’ rejoicing.
“At least to me, the stable is the least interesting part of the facade,” said Jeremy Laufer, district manager of Community Board 7. “If we are able to preserve the rest of it and at the same time gain a modern school — I think that is a good compromise.”
The castle-like turret, and the exterior facing Fourth Avenue and 43rd Street will be cleaned and spruced up once shovels hit the ground.
Officials sought to preserve as much of the structure as possible, but it was decided that the extra space gained by razing the neighboring stable house would be too much of a boon to overlook, according to a School Construction Authority spokeswoman.
The current owner, Yosef Streicher, bought the land for $6 million in 2015. Streicher originally aimed to rehab the graffiti-covered castle and horse stable into a daycare facility, and erect luxury condominiums on a vacant portion of the lot. But he agreed last summer to sell the site to the city for a school.
The School Construction Authority will go to the Council for final approval in July, after which the city will purchase the property. Once that is squared away, officials will embark on a year-long design process followed by up to three years of construction.