(Brooklyn, NY – April 19, 2021) The New York City Departments of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Design and Construction (DDC) today announced the completion of a $31.6 million project to refurbish and upgrade an historic building on Flushing Avenue in Brooklyn that currently houses DEP water tunnel and shaft maintenance staff. The three-story building exhibits a Neo‐Classical/Neo‐Egyptian style of architecture with an exterior façade featuring walls made of masonry, stone, and brick. Funding for the project was provided by DEP while DDC managed the construction.
“Operating and maintaining the City’s vast water infrastructure requires DEP to be present in nearly every community across the five boroughs and we strive to integrate our facilities into the neighborhood, including this historic building in south Williamsburg,” said DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza. “We thank our partners at DDC for managing the rehabilitation and for helping us to preserve the unique character of the building, and its role in the history of the neighborhood and City government.”
“This historic building, which houses a vital and under-appreciated water supply function, has been fully reinforced and waterproofed and is now ADA-accessible with upgraded lighting, environmental controls and fire alarm systems,” said DDC Commissioner Jamie Torres-Springer. “We’re proud of this project, which was undertaken with great care to preserve the character of this 120-year-old structure.”
“I commend DEP and DDC on the completion of upgrades to the DEP facility on Flushing Avenue in south Williamsburg. Our city's ailing infrastructure is in serious need of improvement, and prioritizing infrastructure projects while demonstrating integrity and respect for the historic character of buildings serves as a model for what we are capable of,” said Council Member Stephen Levin. “It is critical that we also be active partners in our preservation efforts to preserve historic buildings and landmarks where possible. This work helps maintain the community, serves the needs of our DEP water tunnel and shaft maintenance staff, and protects the drinking water across the five boroughs for over 8 million New Yorkers. Job well done!”
“With the completion of upgrades to the DEP’s water tunnel and maintenance building in south Williamsburg, the City has once again demonstrated how the physical infrastructure that makes New York work can also be beautiful, historic and meaningful to the community,” said Assembly Member Emily Gallagher. “On behalf of my entire district, I want to congratulate and thank all the departments, leaders, experts and workers who made this possible.”
Erected circa 1904, the building is roughly 105,000 square feet in size and occupies a full city block in the south Williamsburg neighborhood, bordered by Flushing Avenue, Kent Avenue, Little Nassau Street and Taaffe Place. The structure was designed by Warren & Wetmore, an influential architectural firm active in the early 20th century that also designed Grand Central Terminal, among other city landmarks. Although the building is not designated a New York City Landmark, its appearance and design elements are of landmark quality and, therefore, it was refurbished and upgraded in order to preserve the historic character of the building.
The restoration included masonry façade repair; a new roof; skylight replacement; structural rehabilitation, including new steel framework and concrete for the garage floors and ramps; and repairs to the parapets and lintels of all windows. A new HVAC system to heat and ventilate the garage was installed along with new hot water heaters, electrical heaters, gas fire heaters, new electric panels, and a climate-controlled map room with an automatic pre-action fire sprinkler system. The water service line and gas lines were replaced, and a new main power distribution panel was installed with new electrical lines. A new wet fire alarm system and a dry fire alarm system were installed, which can be operated both manually and electronically. These improvements, including waterproofing and fireproofing, will allow the facility to continue to operate under the safest standards for the foreseeable future.
Additional work included a new woman’s locker room and bathroom; the installation of handicap accessible ramps and lifts; and new steel staircases, including railings and security cages. The building currently houses office space, a machine shop, garage, locker rooms and storage space for DEP’s water tunnel and shaft maintenance staff. Lighting for several offices and the cellar level of the garage were also upgraded.
Originally, the facility was commissioned by the Street Cleaning Department, an early version of today’s Department of Sanitation. It cost approximately $300,000 to construct and included a blacksmith’s workshop, wheel-wright works, and 250 horse stalls. In 1934, the Department of Water Supply, Gas & Electricity purchased the building, then known as the “Brooklyn Department of Street Cleaning's Stable and Chateau,” from the Department of Sanitation. The Department of Water Supply, Gas & Electricity was consolidating their repair facilities at the time, which were spread across the borough, and chose the building as their new headquarters. The agency obtained over $400,000 in funding from the Works Progress Administration (part of then-President Franklin D. Roosevelt's historic New Deal program) to completely retrofit the building in 1936.
About the NYC Department of Design and Construction
The Department of Design and Construction is the City’s primary capital construction project manager. In supporting Mayor de Blasio’s long-term vision of growth, sustainability, resiliency, equity and healthy living, DDC provides communities with new or renovated public buildings such as firehouses, libraries, police precincts, and new or upgraded roads, sewers and water mains in all five boroughs. To manage this $15.5 billion portfolio, DDC partners with other City agencies, architects and consultants, whose experience bring efficient, innovative and environmentally-conscious design and construction strategies to City projects. For more information, please visit nyc.gov/ddc.
About the NYC Department of Environmental Protection
DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing approximately 1 billion gallons of high-quality drinking water each day to more than 9 million residents, including 8.3 million in New York City. The water is delivered from a watershed that extends more than 125 miles from the city, comprising 19 reservoirs and three controlled lakes. Approximately 7,000 miles of water mains, tunnels and aqueducts bring water to homes and businesses throughout the five boroughs, and 7,500 miles of sewer lines and 96 pump stations take wastewater to 14 in-city treatment plants. DEP has a robust capital program, with a planned $20.1 billion in investments over the next 10 years that will create up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year. For more information, visit nyc.gov/dep, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.