PARK SLOPE — A South Slope child care center for low-income children is slated to be torn down and replaced with condos, developers said.
The Shirley Chisholm Day Care Center on 14th Street and Sixth Avenue will be demolished early next year so American Development Group can build townhouses and a condo building on the site, American Development Group CEO Perry Finkelman said.
The new development will consist of three townhouses facing 14th Street, a four-story building with seven "very large" three-bedroom condos facing 13th Street, and a 40-car parking garage, Finkelman said.
Right now the entire lot is taken up by the Shirley Chisholm Day Care Center, which has leased its space since 1995. The center's lease expires at the end of the year and its operators have been notified that they must leave the building, Finkelman said.
The day care, operated under a contract with the Administration for Children's Services, serves low-income families from around Brooklyn, including many parents who work in Park Slope but live elsewhere, center officials told DNAinfo New York in 2013 when the building was sold.
Among them is Antonio Alonso, who said Tuesday that he and his wife are scrambling to find a new day care for their 4-year-old son Angel. The Sunset Park residents have applied to several other centers, all of which are significantly more expensive than Shirley Chisholm, he said. Alonso works in a warehouse and his wife works part-time.
"I don't have any choice — I've got to find a place where he can go," Alonso said. "What can we do?"
Lorna Holford, an assistant teacher at the center, said parents were "distraught" about the closure. "A lot of parents were depending on it," Holford said of the center, which also has some pre-K seats.
Families pay a sliding scale at Shirley Chisholm depending on the size of the family and income level; the average fee is $15 a week for full-time care. Children aged 2 to 5 attend the center.
A year ago the center served 95 families and had a waiting list of 150 to 200, officials told DNAinfo in 2013. Now 33 children attend the center, an ACS spokesman said. He said the agency "has worked closely with the Shirley Chisholm Day Care Center to inform families of the upcoming center closure and is actively working with the program to outline alternative placement sites in the surrounding area for the children they currently serve."
Finkelman noted that the city was offered a chance to buy the building but declined to do so. The ACS did not immediately respond to a request for comment on why the city didn't purchase the property.
American Development Group filed initial paperwork with the Department of Buildings this month and hopes to begin demolition at the site next spring, Finkelman said. Plans for the buildings' facades haven't been finalized, but Finkelman said the development will take its design cues from the block's existing homes.
“I'm inclined to make it a more traditional exterior look as opposed to the more modern look other developers have done in the neighborhood,” Finkelman said. "I think this will blend right in and be phenomenal."
American Development Group has built several luxury housing developments around the city. In Park Slope, the developer renovated a former school and turned it into 15 condos at 910 Union St., near Grand Army Plaza.