On Huron Street—between Franklin Street and Manhattan Avenue, and among a mix of newly constructed condominiums and old brownstones in Greenpoint—stands an oversized and out-of-place structure with a white façade. The building is a bathhouse, erected in 1903, as the engraved signage still reads. It was a part of the city’s public health crusade of that era, which erupted due to the insufficient bathing facilities in its crowded tenement houses.
Lately it has been used as a warehouse. Now comes a new chapter: A recent sale has shifted the bathhouse over to a development company that has residential plans for the 5,000 square foot lot.
At the time of construction, the city paid $103,742 for the Huron Street bathhouse. In 1905, when the final payment was made to Fuller & O’Connor, the contractors, city documents show that $380,246 was allocated for bathhouse construction. Accounting for inflation that would roughly equal $9.8 million today. Hot water accessibility was a hot topic in the early 20th Century.
And it was popular. The Huron Street bathhouse averaged 1,000 people per day at its peak, according to The New York Times. Attendance declined until 1959, when the average number of bathers per day was 25, and the Huron Street location was closed. The next year, the Department of Real Estate put the building up for auction.
According to city documents, ownership turned over multiple times between 1966 and 1989, when Luis Copete took over the deed with a $343,000 mortgage. Copete owns and operates Cowood Gilders, a framing and gilding company that has worked out of the ground floor of the 10,000 square foot building for 27 years.
Copete paid off the mortgage just last November. Seven months later, in June 2016, Caro Enterprises, a real estate management and development firm based in Manhattan, purchased the 113-year-old building from Copete under the name “All Blue Huron LLC.” Caro negotiated a price of $2.225 million for the property, which is valued by the city at just under $800,000.
Cowood Gilders are in the process of moving out of 139 Huron Street. The Brooklyn Ink was unable to reach the company to find out whether it is relocating or if the business will close down.
A representative for Caro said that there are residential plans for the property, though no design plans have been drawn up yet. Copete carries the authority to approve or deny demolition while Caro is still making payments, which will not be for much longer. The sale agreement states that all payments must be made by February 2, 2017.