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.

Recent Stories

Ed Higgins Gets ‘Mail Art’ Retrospective at Van Der Plas Gallery on Orchard Street

Fresh off featuring his art in Ludlow Coffee Supply, the Van Der Plas Gallery of Orchard Street is now dedicating a full artist retrospective to the late Ed Higgins. Higgins, known as a pillar of the “Rivington School” movement in the 1980s Lower East Side, and for his unique “Mail Art,” died last December at […]

Hypebeast Officially Announces its Division Street Conquest

Hypebeast is hyped for the Lower East Side. The Hong Kong-based fashion and lifestyle publication, Hypebeast, is moving to the seven-story commercial loft building at 41-43 Division Street in due course. A vinyl banner stretched across the frontage announces the forthcoming arrival. Plans for the 21,000 square-foot space, and its conversion, have been in the works […]

Chinatown Garment Industry Hanging by a Thread

Once a hub of manufacturing for the city’s garment industry, there are only a few remaining factories in Chinatown from a peak in the hundreds. The localized industry, which once employed thousands of immigrant women and men, sparked an area restaurant boom in the 1970s. Yet, began to decline in the late 1980s when manufacturers started […]

Residents Unite Against Developer Plans to Swap Park for Parking on LES Waterfront

Residents on the Lower East Side waterfront may soon lose more publicly accessible outdoor space. The developer of a new super-tall plans to reduce a children’s playground to a parking lot. As excavation work commences on Chetrit Group’s 70-story, twin-towered development at 265 South Street, tenants in the adjacent building – Lands End II – […]

Chinatown Homeless Murder Suspect Still Awaiting Trial

More than two years since the horrific murder of four homeless men in Chinatown, the suspect has yet to be held accountable for the crimes. In the early morning hours of October 5, 2019 Randy Santos stalked, then allegedly bludgeoned to death Cheun Kwok, Anthony Manson, Florencio Moran and Nazario Vasqez-Villegas while asleep on the streets. In […]