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

Posted on: October 27th, 2017 at 5:00 am by

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.”

Recent Stories

This Guy was the First Customer at Trader Joe’s on the Lower East Side

People queue for anything. Here on the Lower East Side, it was for the Friday morning debut of Trader Joe’s on Grand Street. After years of hype, anticipation, and plenty of delays, the specialty grocer is finally a reality. It occupies 30,000 square-feet in the basement of The Rollins building at Essex Crossing (aka Site […]

City Council Holds Public Hearing Today on ‘Small Business Jobs Survival Act’

After languishing for over thirty years, a lifeline might be thrown to struggling small business owners. City Council later today is holding a public hearing for the polarizing Small Business Jobs Survival Act. Only in the last couple years has the forsaken legislation gained traction, owed in large part to the #SaveNYC grassroots campaign founded […]

The Bowery Lighting District Just Lost its Biggest Store, Lighting by Gregory

The Bowery Lighting District is reeling after losing its biggest store. Lighting by Gregory – located between Kenmare and Broome Streets for decades – faded from the landscape last week. The business shuttered, leaving behind multiple storefronts at 156-158 Bowery for the take. Apparently the company is in the throes of Bankruptcy filing, and the […]

When the Rear Garden Grows the 28-Story Public Hotel

For the last year, 215 Chrystie Street has been the address of Ian Schrager’s posh Public Hotel (and condos). Before the 28-story development, though, this city parcel was the rear yard, and garden, for the Thelma Burke building on Stanton Street. The New York Times just published a new feature, “How a Garden for the […]

Founded on the Lower East Side, B’nai Brith Celebrates 175 Years

The oldest Jewish service organization in the world began here on the Lower East Side, and this year celebrates a major milestone. B’nai Brith International (“Sons of the Covenant”) – now in its 175th year – was founded on Essex Street in October 1843 by a dozen immigrants of German-Jewish descent. Of course, at that […]