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With demolition of a family shelter, the last existing residences in this phase of property condemnations will be eliminated


Forest City Ratner Company is in the process of demolishing 603 Dean Street, one half of the 94 unit residential family shelter formerly known as the Pacific Dean Annex.  The shelter's residences are the last to be demolished in the project footprint during this phase of the project.  In 2009 the project was changed so that property would be acquired by the State and FCRC in at least two phases.  The completion of the condemnation process for three small, still inhabited residential buildings on Dean Street will not occur until some unscheduled time in the future.  

In the 2006 FEIS, the ESDC estimated 171 residential units and 410 residents would be directly displaced by the project.  That number did not include the shelter's family residences.

The shelter is located on block 1129 which is part of the project's second phase.  It is being demolished to make way first for construction staging, and later an accessory interim surface parking lot for the Barclays Center anticipated to have as many as 1100 spaces.

FCRC states their long term plans are to build housing on the shelter's current location.  Currently the developer has no financing for any housing, and the project agreements give the developer at least 25 years to complete the project's second phase.

If the environmental review for the ModGPP in 2009 had included a supplemental environmental impact statement, (SEIS), like the one recently ordered by New York State Supreme Court Justice Marcy Friedman, it may have provided the community with a platform to advocate for changes to the project like retaining existing housing inside the footprint.  Judge Friedman has now ruled the ESDC's approval of the ModGPP is invalid and that the ESDC must conduct an SEIS.  It is now certain by the time the ESDC completes the SEIS, with the exception of the three Dean Street buildings, all pre-existing residential housing will be demolished within the project site.

The Pacific Dean Annex, (shown to the right in 2009 following the demolition the Ward Bread Factory next door), was controversial when it was established.  The owners eventually were fined by then New York State Attorney General Elliot Spitzer for taking money from the not-for-profit they ran, (Praxis), to establish the Pacific Dean Annex as a for-profit operation.

For nearby residents the shelter was often a source of noise and security concerns.  But over time, some residents of the shelter became known to, (and friendly with), their neighbors, in part because the stay of some families in the shelter lasted as long as several years.  Some of these residents turned to local civic organizations like the Dean Street Block Association, 6th Avenue to Vanderbilt for assistance with construction-related impacts as well as to join in community celebrations.

When it was closed in January 2010, the public was told the shelter would be demolished soon thereafter.  Residents were given roughly a month to move during the Christmas holiday period.  According to shelter officials at the time, no relocation assistance was provided to the shelter residents by the developer.  BrooklynSpeaks sponsors raised funds to alleviate moving costs for the families.

(Contribution from Gib Veconi, video Wayne Bailey, photo Tracy Collins)

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