While I was in New Windsor for the USCF Policy Board meeting, I had the opportunity to take a brief look at our much maligned USCF head office.
This reminded me that I am involved with a building in Brooklyn which I believe would be almost ideal for the USCF headquarters. The building is located at 24 Sixth Avenue. I have a picture of the building on my web site at http://www.samsloan.com/spalding.jpg
I know everything about this building because I helped negotiate the purchase for the present owner. I have studied the entire history of this building, going back to the original blueprints. I also worked in the building for two years until I was fired by Miss Kaneyasu, the new Japanese wife of the present manager (not because I did anything wrong but because she plain didn't like me).
The advantages of the building are that it is very large, with 75,000 square feet of floor space, easily big enough to accommodate all of the facilities of the USCF so that the USCF would not have to pay rent any more, plus a full basement.
All divisions of the USCF could be housed there, including books and equipment, the magazine and office staff, and there would still be room left over to rent to somebody else. With the extra space, we could even put a chess club (no gambling allowed) and book shop on the top floor.
The building is near downtown Brooklyn and is across the street from Atlantic Terminal, which is he biggest transit point in Brooklyn and is the Brooklyn terminus for the Long Island Railroad plus is the subway station for almost every subway line in Brooklyn, including the 2, 3, 4, 5, D, N, Q, R and so on lines.
The building has an internal loading dock for trucks and a freight elevator.
The main disadvantage is that the building is old and is short on modern amenities. It is a historic building, one of the largest in Brooklyn, and was built by Mr. Spalding himself.
The building is not officially for sale, which is good because I know that the USCF is not in a position to buy a building at the moment. The present manager has big plans to do a cooperative conversion on this building. I believe those plans will never come to fruition because the building would require a million dollars in capital improvements to bring it up to residential code.
There is no rush. I do not believe that anything will change with respect to this building for the next year or three (which is good because I still have all my stuff stored in the basement). However, if the USCF were interested in buying this building, I could contact the actual owner in Japan (who does not speak a word of English incidentally) and it is possible I could get it for a reasonable price, especially since he is growing impatient with this never-ending cooperative conversion plan.
This idea first came up in 1996 when Al Lawrence was talking about selling the New Windsor office. I even talked to Tom Dorsch, who was then a candidate, about it. Dorsch said he would come by, but never did.
Things have not changed in the last three years and might not change in the next three, but I really believe that this building would be almost ideal for USCF purposes, plus it would bring the organization closer to its members.
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