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What To Do With 232?

Vacant lot at 232-240 Smith St. continues to languish, despite fuming neighbors, multiple infractions and a midsummer rumor it would become a bank.


The neglected lot at the corner of Smith and Douglass Streets continues to languish months after owners publicly stated it would be sold to a bank. Fed up neighbors are now wondering if that story was simply a ruse to deflect further 311 calls.

The 5,000-square-foot site at 232-240 Smith St. is currently overrun with plants and occasional vermin. Fenced in by unstable plywood that teeters illegally on the sidewalk and often collapses, the lot has long raised the ire of locals as well as the Department of Buildings—it has racked up more than $150,000 worth of unpaid fines since 2008, when a stop work order was filed for unsafe construction conditions. 

Owners Claire Palermo Barbuto and Vincent Barbuto of Son Claire Realty LLC told DNAInfo in June 2012 that they planned to sell the property to a bank. Since that time, nothing appears to have changed and Patch was unable to reach either for comment. 

Assuming the alleged bank deal fell through, what would be the best thing to happen to that wasted space? Is another bank really needed on that block or, as one reader recently suggested via e-mail, would it be better dedicated to a "really great furniture store"? 

What would you do with the space? Tell us in the comments below.

Robbie Mangano October 05, 2012 at 03:34 PM
Throw an all ages multi-media art school there, please.
Warren street October 05, 2012 at 03:51 PM
A community garden where we could all grow vegetables, beautiful flowers and much more...
Donald October 05, 2012 at 07:18 PM
This would be an awful location for a community garden. In order to make it work, it would have to have a high, probably chain link, fence around it, and all manner of trash would be thrown over it from people passing on the street. In the winter it would be a dead block and probably get filled with cigarette butts from the bar/restaurant crowd that would find it a convenient place to linger for a cigarette without bothering people. Secondly, there is a deep pit where the basement of the former building once was, that needs to be filled - which doesn't come cheap. As for a school, it would have to be small. The lot is significantly smaller than the space that Hannah Senesh School takes up.
Jason Untulis October 05, 2012 at 11:49 PM
Of course, part of the problem here is the LLC... if they were actually on the hook for the fines, there would have action on this a long time ago...
Carmen October 06, 2012 at 01:37 AM
It was actually called "The Bike Shop", and has since moved down Court Street near 9th. And the hispanic place was actually 2 parts with separate entrances out side and a connecting doorway inside. It was called "Otero's"; one side was a bar with live music on the weekends, and the other side was a spanish food restaurant. My grandparents took me there every weekend to eat and stay for music. The food was fantastic, not the greasy stuff you find now.

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