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Raise the hoof: Stables’ new owner seeks city’s okay to turn old barn into swanky human-horse housing

Barn reborn: The new owner of Kensington Stables, concrete magnate John Quadrozzi, Jr., wants the city to sign off on his plan to redevelop the crumbling property into a mixed-use structure that includes a new state of the art facility near Prospect Park.
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He’s on his high horse!

The Red Hook industrialist who recently bought Kensington Stables unveiled plans to turn the beleaguered barn into a “state of the art” horse-riding facility for Prospect Park–goers — but first wants the city to sign off on an application to upzone the property so he can build revenue-earning housing above the pony palace.

“We want to sit down with the city and go over the things the park needs to make it really viable for a horse stable,” said concrete magnate John Quadrozzi, Jr., whom this newspaper revealed as the barn’s dark-horse buyer last December.

Quadrozzi’s proposal calls for building seven new stories atop the stables, which would contain 12 rental units that he said will rake in cash and allow him to rebuild the dilapidated barn that is still under a city-issued vacate order after inspectors in December discovered a partially collapsed roof, rotten ceiling joists, and bulging brick walls that a Department of Buildings spokesman called a “significant safety hazard.”

And once the barn is renovated, the tycoon said he plans to re-brand it as Prospect Park Stables, and hopes to move forward with a latent plan to turn a patch of the nearby green space into a premier equestrian trot spot.

“Something as wonderful as an actual riding arena in the park would be a home run,” Quadrozzi said.

The local councilman said he is open to permitting development of the stables in some form — whether through a zoning variance that would allow for a taller mixed-use structure, or by selling the air rights above the barn to a builder working on a nearby project — but that he would first need Quadrozzi’s firm, long-lasting commitment to maintain a community riding facility for far longer than the five years he agreed to in his deal to buy Kensington Stables from its former owner, the Blankenship family, which was forced to sell the property to pay off debts accrued by its late patriarch.

“John made a commitment for five years — that’s not long term preservati­on,” said Brad Lander (D–Kensington). “I want to make sure we really conserve the long-term future of the stable.”

Quadrozzi said he has no problem with agreeing to maintain stables indefinitely as long as the city okays his plan to make the property profitable.

As part of his makeover of the stables, Quadrozzi wants to piggyback on an agreement between the Department of Parks and Recreation and local equestrian organization Gallop NYC to bring a riding arena to Prospect Park’s Parade Ground, located just a block from the tycoon’s Caton Place barn.

The Parks Department secured funds for the enclosed arena via a joint grant from Lander and Borough President Adams in 2014, and designs already exist, according to Gallop’s head Alicia Kershaw. But the project stalled when the future of Kensington Stables fell into jeopardy, and Gallop allowed a transfer of the funds reserved for the riding arena to the city’s Economic Development Corporation so that agency could put the cash towards a bid to buy the barn, Kershaw said.

“When it looked like the only way to stave the stables was to move the money and buy them, we authorized its repurposing,” she said.

Now that Quadrozzi purchased the facility, however, those funds are expected to revert to the arena project, and the barn’s new owner — whose concrete company once rebuilt part of Prospect Park’s bridle path — hopes to partner with Gallop by offering the group stable space in exchange for use of the riding grounds, he said.

“We’d love to host Gallop’s horses and be able to access the arena,” Quadrozzi said.

And leaders of the Prospect Park Alliance, which maintains the meadow in conjunction with the city, remain amenable to bringing the arena to the green space, according to Lander.

But local equestrians should not expect to trot around the facility anytime soon, according to Kershaw, who said it could take several years before the arena plan makes its way through the city’s slow-going approval process for capital projects. “If everybody today said, ‘Lets do it,’ it’s at least three years away,” she said. “It could happen, but it’s not happening in a short time.”

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Updated 5:25 pm, March 14, 2018: This story has been updated to include new commentary from John Quadrozzi, Jr., in which the owner agreed to maintain a stable indefinitely if the city approves his plan to make the property profitable.
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Reasonable discourse

BrooklynGersh from The WT says:
Why stop at 7 stories? The building should be four stories higher than whatever the zoning allows, with 30% set aside for below-market-rate housing. The solution to the housing crisis is simple: ore housing.

My slogan: "Don't say 'Neigh' to horses AND housing!"
March 14, 9:46 am
K. from ArKady says:
Sunny, spacious 2 bdrm, 1 bath. Manger in basement. Beware of panhandlers.
March 14, 11:12 am
Andrew Porter from Brooklyn Heights says:
In summer, the heady smell of hot horses and steaming poo will wend its way upward, into the windows of anyone foolish enough to have them open.

Not a great selling point for apartments there, IMHO...
March 14, 11:20 am
Mike from kensington says:
The entire barn needs to be demolished. Those animals are kept in small stalls, seems like some never get out during the day. This place is past its time, Brooklyn has moved on. Get off your high horses
March 14, 6:49 pm
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
It will be called The Alpo, named after the place the former residents went.
March 14, 8:02 pm
Marcus from Prospect Heights says:
Five years is tomorrow.
March 14, 9:52 pm
Marcus from Prospect Heights says:
Make it a century
March 14, 9:55 pm
Mr. Ed from the Bridal path says:
This is our last stable in the Brooklyn Metropolis. Let's do everything we can to make it work.

Build up, build out, make an arena, whatever.

Just get it done before the horse gets out of the barn and where all asking ourselves, "who let the horse out, who, who"!
March 15, 1:35 am
Alison from Windsor Terrace says:
Sounds like Ed would have the horses dressed as clowns and curtsying beneath a circus tent, if he could.
March 15, 2:14 pm
Mr. Ed from the Bridal Path says:
I'd rather the people dressed and acting as clowns as they typically do.
March 16, 9:16 am
Mr. Ed from the Bridal Path says:
I'd rather the people dressed (and acting) as clowns as they typically do.
March 16, 9:17 am
Diane Salino from Former Parks Mounted Officer says:
Years gone by, trailered my horse to a local competition at Kensington Stables. Outdated, derelict, atrocious facility -- accidents waiting to happen rapidly became accidents happening. Splintered boards, exposed nail heads, insufficient space, height, ventilation... an exercise in neglect and cruelty. Years later, visiting site for Parks Mounted Police, still no improvement. Shame on KILL-sington.Shame on the BoroughOf BROKE-lyn.

Worse than anything, only two options for the horses: Either rigid confinement to their miserable stalls -- or, suffering at the hard hands of speed monger weekend riders who assumed that riding was about little more than one hour of dragging and hanging on reins and bits, while pushing their sweat-lathered mounts to spaghetti western speeds.

Never once noticed any real green space provided for these poorly-housed, over-
worked animals-- i.e., a place where they could turn out to graze, free-roam and socialize (Horses among the most gregar-
ious creatures) -- a space where the burden of confinement, tack and rider was not forced upon them, daily, in the stable and on the riding trails.

The proposed riding arena does not address the equine's most basic, fundamental needs. Rather, it addresses the rider's interests, exclusively. Don't see one hint of anything in the proposal/planning that would work to the benefit of the horses. Instead, the proposed arena will only mean "Same horse sh-t, different day," for these unfortunate inner city tenement slum equines.

As for any hipster elitist lunatic who'd choose to live above a stable, a few choice words of advice: 1) Contract for loads of fire insurance; 2) Ditto, for rodent//insect extermination services; 3)Invest in a high-end set of nose plugs. Note: Ear plugs not necessary. Horses way more quiet than your neighbor one door over. Happy Trails-- And may the horse be with you... NOT.
March 16, 12:28 pm
Whoa from Prospect Park says:
Seems that the "Long Winded" Old School-er hasn't been in touch with modern stables lately where you can eat off the floors and odor is no more.

They should also know that open space for turnout is in the plan as well as larger stalls. This is planed to be a "Modern Brooklyn Stable" after all. Maybe even a "Concierge".

And just imagine how much a devoted horse owner will pay for an apartment above where their horse is boarded and just across the street from where they'll ride. Special!

Perhaps the above comment was intended for all pet owner in NYC that leave their pets cooped-up at home waiting for their owners to have time for a walk outside. "Naysayer" no more please.
March 16, 2:53 pm
Quick Draw McGraw from Wild Wild West says:
We've come a long ways since the OK-Corral

https://ny.curbed.com/2017/6/1/15721774/nypd-mounted-unit-stables-mercedes-house
March 19, 8 pm
Janet from Park Slope says:
Whether it's fair to the horses to keep them in a city stable or not is a discussion for another day. But why are we presuming that a facility used by a small number of Brooklynites needs to stay at all? Especially since those horses and their custodians leave horse manure aplenty in the Prospect Park pedestrian and bike paths, making the Park harder for mainstream residents to enjoy.
March 27, 4:46 pm

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