In 2009, Pratt Center helped to transform Engine 212 – “The People’s Firehouse” - into a community and cultural center.
Built in 1869, Engine 212 was threatened with forced closure in the 1970s by a cash-strapped city government. New York City’s poorest neighborhoods were then suffering waves of arson and destructive fires. At the same time, City services, including fire-fighting, were being slashed.
Community members rallied around the firehouse, occupying it for eighteen months until the City relented. Engine 212 was dubbed “The People’s Firehouse,” and the moniker stuck with a group of community activists who came together in support of the firehouse. These activists continued to fight for tenants’ rights and affordable housing in North Brooklyn, and created a nonprofit, called The Peoples Firehouse, Inc.
In 2009, the City awarded The People’s Firehouse and another North Brooklyn community group, Neighbors Allied for Good Growth (NAG), a contract to purchase and restore the old firehouse building. With the support of Pratt Center, the storied building was transformed into the Northside Town Hall Community and Cultural Center, a combined office and community space.
Pratt Center architects and real estate specialists advised the organizations as they developed plans to transform the firehouse. Pratt Center served as the project manager as design and construction was carried out. We are also guided the two nonprofits through the process of merging to create one new organization, with a single board of directors and strong base of funding support.
Reborn as a community center, non-profit offices, and artists’ space, the People’s Firehouse continues to serve as a vital part of North Brooklyn’s community life.
Visit the Northside Town Hall Community and Cultural Center's website.