Henry Street Settlement Breaks Ground on New Firehouse Facility it Acquired for $1

Posted on: November 13th, 2017 at 5:00 am by

The Henry Street Settlement just entered the next phase of its push to redevelop an iconic Lower East Side firehouse.

Work is now unofficially underway at the long-vacant, yet historic, 269 Henry Street. The nonprofit organization held a ceremonial groundbreak to mark the occasion on Friday afternoon.

Actual construction is set to commence sometime in the coming months – there are no building permits on file with the Department of Buildings – and will 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 (moving from 281 East Broadway). 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.

Photo: Henry Street Settlement

Included here are the latest renderings of what the new facility will look like.

As previously reported, the effort to annex the 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. The city officially transferred ownership to the Henry Street Settlement in exchange for $1.

Photo: Henry Street Settlement

“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.”

The historic firehouse at 269 Henry Street – built in 1884 and previously owned by the city – had been sitting dormant since shortly after 9/11. It once housed Engine Company 15 which subsequently folded into Ladder 18 a few blocks north on Pitt Street.

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