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Imagining the Future of a Vacant Lot

Community GardensDesign by Andrew and Nicholas Hunt The Local asked neighborhood designers for their vision of how a vacant lot of East 13th Street (below) might be transformed. Above is the design by architects Andrew and Nicholas Hunt, whose plan includes a farmers market, community garden space, a restaurant and residential units.
lot 3Rachel Trobman

Over the past 40 years, the lot on 13th Street east of Third Avenue has been many things: a home for stray animals, a showcase for street artists, a resting place for the homeless, a dumping ground for clothes.

But one thing it has never been is developed.

And, according to land owner Builtgross Associates, a subsidiary of Milstein Properties, that’s not going to change in the near future as no solid plans are in the works.

“We’re examining several alternatives but haven’t formalized anything yet,” said Anthony Bergamo, vice chairman of executive planning for Milstein Properties. “We’re looking for something that would be good for the community and area businesses.”

For many years, the massive, 23,000-square-foot site, which stretches to 14th Street and is formally known to the city as Lot 15 on Block 469, did serve the community. It was once B.F. Keith’s vaudeville theater and then, later, a single-screen movie called the RKO Jefferson. While it closed in the 1970s, the building’s shell was not demolished until late 1999. It has remained vacant ever since.
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