Giving away the firehouse

The City Planning Commission voted yesterday to allow the City to sell a number of firehouses – including our own Engine 212 – with no strings attached. The Community Board, Councilmember Yassky and local activists have pushed hard to keep these buildings be preserved and remain a part of the community – either as firehouses, community centers, affordable housing, etc. What we object to the most is the idea that these firehouses would be sold to the highest bidder, which invariably will mean luxurycondos, and no benefit to the community.

In the case of 212, the building has a highly significant social history as the focal point of community activism in the 1970s. And, its a handsome building.

The light at the end of the tunnel here is that both HPD and EDC have put “holds” on the disposition of the firehouses. A task force of community, council and administration reps has been established to help figure out the best use for these buildings. But through its action yesterday, CPC has cleared the way for a no-strings attached disposition if the task force process should fall through.