A year after Cook Inlet Housing Authority demolished the old Brewster’s building to make way for new development, the property’s future is still in flux.
The concrete-covered lot at the corner of North Bragaw Street and Mountain View Drive wraps around Surf Laundry & Cleaner, a well-loved neighborhood landmark and one of the oldest commercial buildings on the street. Redeveloping the former Brewster’s site without including the laundromat would be difficult, according to the housing authority. When CIHA last tried to acquire the laundromat, its owner – local businesswoman Ami Pyune – refused.
But CIHA is persistent. The nonprofit organization is still working to acquire the property, a CIHA executive told the Mountain View Community Council Monday.
“We’ve got a lot of great things on the intersection already with the library and the Red Apple, Credit Union 1, and we see this [location] as an essential focal point,” said Mark Fineman, CIHA’s vice president of project management and construction. “We think that the laundromat is really an important part of the neighborhood … and if we did any sort of development, I think we’d like to keep the laundromat.”
There’s a catch. The ground beneath Surf Laundry is contaminated with solvents from an old dry cleaning machine, according to the Department of Environmental Conservation. The proximity to the Brewster’s property means that ground could be contaminated as well.
To understand the scope of the problem, the housing authority seeks to classify both properties as Brownfields — federally designated sites where redevelopment is hampered by pollution. The properties would then be eligible to receive an environmental assessment through the DEC. The assessment would determine the extent of the contamination and pave the way for remediation and future construction, Fineman said. That process can take months.
So for now, there’s still no clear plan for redevelopment, just an empty lot on one of the busiest corners in Mountain View.