By pure coincidence, I happened to walk by the former home of Engine Company 204 at 299 Degraw Street between Court and Smith Streets, while surveyors were taking measurements of the old firehouse building. The doors were wide open, providing a glimpse into the dusty, empty space that has stood empty since it was shuttered in 2003, when the city decommissioned the firehouse.
The City had planned to sell it, but the idea was quickly abandoned after local officials, community leaders (and actor Steven Buscemi) joined forces and fiercely protested the move. The City finally backed down and agreed to lease the property to a not-for-profit organization that will benefit the community.
The Brooklyn Philharmonic promised to re-develop the 4,250 square-foot, two-story DeGraw Street firehouse building into the BP Music Center. It will include administrative offices and space for CREATE, its art partner. Space will also be made available to the community as meeting rooms, classrooms and practice space. The City has allocated $1.6 million towards the renovation.
The work is slated to begin soon and will most likely be completed in 2012.
Just as an aside, I remember accompanying first my daughter's and a few years later, my son's pre-school class to the firehouse so that the firemen of Engine 204 could tell the kids all about fire safety. That was in the early 90's. I bet many who grew up in the neighborhood remember taking a field trip to visit the firehouse.