What we know about
731-733 Bergen St.
What has been going on at 731-733 Bergen Street for the past 12 years?
731-733 Bergen Street has been vacant since 2008 when the warehouse that used to sit there was demolished.
In 2015, the lot’s owner filed plans to develop a 15-unit condominium complex on the two adjacent lots. The plans were never approved.
In 2018 a portion of the fence closing the lot off from the street collapsed onto the sidewalk. Since then, the owner has received multiple complaints and has been charged with various violations. The owner has never addressed these violations.
Left uncared for, the lot has become a home for trash, weeds and rats. Because of the collapsed fence, the property has been under a stop work order since October of last year. A $1,500 civil penalty issued by the DOB in February of 2020 for the owner’s failure to address the collapsed fence remains unpaid.
What is going on at 731-733 Bergen Street now?
In September of 2020, a handful of neighbors took it upon themselves to begin cleaning up the trash that had accumulated on and outside the lot. They lifted the collapsed fence off of the sidewalk and installed a small, latch-less gate.
Inside the lot neighbors built raised beds, filled them with soil and planted seeds in order to grow a modest but diverse crop of greens, root vegetables, beans and peas to supplement a weekly produce giveaway at a nearby community garden, organized in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since September, a growing group of friends and neighbors have been gathering at 731-733 Bergen St. every Sunday from
12-3pm to continue rehabilitating and revitalizing the lot, to share food, knowledge and ideas for the future of the space. Since September, the group has built a functioning hot compost pile, built cold frames and hoop houses, harvested greens, planted cover crops, and led a guided tour of the area's trees.
What will happen to 731-733 Bergen Street?
It appears that the lot’s owner still intends to develop the 15-unit condo complex he filed plans for 5 years ago. However it remains unclear when construction can begin so long as the stop work order remains in place and while the various permits that appear on the DOB’s website still sport a DISAPPROVED job status.
A growing group of neighbors are determined to see 731-733 Bergen St. be more than wasted space. Amidst an unresolved public health crisis, with unemployment rampant and a recession looming, it is becoming increasingly difficult to see what collective benefits the construction of more million-dollar condominiums has to offer the community. For that reason, people are calling for a democratic intervention into the future of the lot so as to ensure that whatever becomes of the space, it reflects the needs and desires of the community and the city at large.
Let us know what you would like to see at 731- 733 Bergen Street by filling out THIS FORM