A Decade in the Making, Henry Street Settlement Finally Closes Deal on Historic Firehouse

The Henry Street Settlement finally closed the deal on an historic Lower East Side firehouse.

A decade in the making, the transfer transpired exactly two years after Mayor Bill de Blasio executed resolution 835, thereby approving the sale of 269 Henry to the organization for the bargain price of $1. Thus ushering in a new chapter for the social service and arts agency, which will remodel the building into a community facility.

The four-story firehouse at 269 Henry Street has been sitting vacant since shortly after 9/11. The iconic structure – built in 1884 and previously owned by the city – once housed Engine Company 15 which subsequently folded into Ladder 18 a few blocks north on Pitt Street.

Construction is set to commence sometime in the coming months and conclude in 2020. When the smoke clears, so to speak, the remodeled firehouse – designed by Beyer Blinder Belle – will add some 6,700 square-feet of space dedicated to the Neighborhood Resource Center/Parent Center. The program will offer free walk-in services such as crisis intervention, financial counseling, legal services, parenting support, and access to benefits like low-cost health insurance, food stamps, and social security. The building itself will be renamed the Dale. Jones Burch Neighborhood Center, thanks to “generous gifts” from the Burch Family that helped the organization secure this property.

As previously reported, the push to annex this firehouse next door is a decade in the making. Indeed, approval for a community facility at 269 Henry was actually handed down by City Council in April 2007. At the time, Congresswoman Maloney even noted that the “firehouse was built as a community resource, and so it should remain,” a reference to the potential alternative of developers snatching the property.

“We are eagerly anticipating this critical addition to the Settlement,” Executive Director David Garza noted in a recent press release. “Traditionally an anchor for the community, the firehouse will again play the role of ‘first responder’ for families in crisis – this time ADA-compliant and accessible to all.”