The Real Deal New York

Brooklyn Lyceum could become Duane Reade or condo, owner says

February 13, 2013 10:00AM

The owner of the financially-strapped Brooklyn Lyceum said that the arts haven could turn into a Duane Reade or a condominium complex unless he can avoid an upcoming foreclosure auction, DNAinfo reported.

Eric Richmond acquired the 8,000-square-foot building at Fourth Avenue and President Street in 1994 and converted it from a crack den into a creative space for aspiring artists, which has seen performances from musicians such as Fiona Apple and Jose Gonzalez. But a lengthy and expensive dispute with an architect has left the building with more than $5 million in liens, and a judge ruled that it would be put up for a foreclosure auction, as The Real Deal previously reported.

Richmond is rallying supporters to attend a Feb.19 hearing on the building’s fate. On his website, he shared his fears about what could happen to the space. “”If we are successful, the Lyceum survives,” he wrote. “If we lose, who knows what will become of the building: condos? a Duane Reade?”

The Lyceum’s uncertain future mirrors the case of the nearby Coignet Building on Third Avenue and Third Street, which was also recently put up for a sale or lease. [DNAinfo]  –Hiten Samtani

  • no-permits

    “If we lose, who knows what will become of the building: condos? a Duane Reade?”

    those sound like great ideas.

    this place is barely a artist haven. it’s completely underutilized and falling apart.

    • donnybrook

      what happened to all that mortgage money?

  • Progress

    Wouldn’t it be great if it were a Duane Reade? Think of all of the people who would get to enjoy it’s beautiful architecture. Hard to think of a better way to get more people to enjoy it.

  • AK

    That would be a terrible shame. I hope there is an organization out there trying to stop it from being misused.

  • Michael Lanzi

    I grew up on President St. between 4th and 5th Avenue. I remember playing ball in front on the “Bath House” as we called it on President Street. We used to draw a box on the wall of Strober Brothers building supply, which was the building that was opposite the bath house. That was our strike zone for a game of baseball. I lost a lot of balls in that building. People would try not to park there cars near 4th avenue, because your car might not be there when you returned, or parts of it might have been used as a spare parts for someone else’s car. As soon as a part was taken from a car, i.e. the wheels, then it was open season on that car and many more parts would be taken. There were a few fires in the bath house, and the space between the metal gate and the building was an easy dumping ground for mattresses or any other item that you were looking to get rid of.
    It may sound horrible but it was a great block to grow up on. Every night all of the kids and their parents would come outside and sit on their stoop and talk. The block was alive with all the neighbors. The 4th of July was an event. I think we lit off more firework on our 1 block than some professional firework displays do today. When it was all done, everyone would come out with their brooms and clean up all the mess.

    The area was often called South Brooklyn (yes I know it is not really south Brooklyn), not so often Park Slope. Down on 4th Avenue was all manufacturing or automotive businesses, not 1 condo or apartment building until around 9th street. If you went down to 3rd Avenue you were in a different world, no restaurants or hotels, just commercial and manufacturing. There was no one walking around down there after 5:00pm.

    On 5th Avenue, Associated was there but it only occupied 1 storefront, not the 4 or 5 that it does now. Ali and Abdul were the owners, and I think they are still running it. There was the donut shop right next to Associated and Manufacturer Hanover Bank across the street on the corner of 5th and Union St. (now a gym). There was the A S Pork Store, Guarino Bakery, Ben’s Meat Market, Joe’s shoe repair, the Social Club (Mafia Run), Pioneer Supermarket, DiNotte Pizza (Al Di La), Aunt Suzie’s, and the funeral parlor (where that French restaurant is on the corner of Carroll and 5th). These stores were all from Union Street going toward 1st St., on the other side of Union St. was rough. As you got closer to Flatbush there were a lot of empty storefronts.

    I hope the Bath House is restored to glory, either as the Brooklyn Lyceum or as some other type of operation that the entire community has access to, hopefully not a condo building. It has been around a long time, been through some rough times, and deserves its day in the sun.

    In reviewing my post I see that although I am 37 years old, I am starting to sound like an old man reminiscing about the good old days.