Brooklyn Lyceum on the Auction Block

The Brooklyn Lyceum, a former public bath house in Gowanus used since the 1990s as a café and performance space, is slated for foreclosure this month.

The building's owner, an LLC headed by Lyceum founder Eric Richmond, is facing a $5.05 million lien on the property.

In September, a New York State Supreme Court judge granted a final foreclosure judgment on the building, which is scheduled for public auction on Feb. 28 at 360 Adams Street in Brooklyn.

The building, at 227 Fourth Avenue at President Street, served as a public bathhouse from 1908 until 1937, serving 150,000 area residents.  The city re-opened it and ran it as a gymnasium from the 1940s to the early 1970s, when it was converted to an auto repair shop. Richmond, who bought the property at auction in 1994, has converted it into a theater space and café.

The $5 million lien on the property is a bundle of four separate mortgages granted between 2003 and 2006.

Richmond discovered the building, then a haven for crack addicts and pigeons, in 1991 while out bike riding with his sister, a photographer.

I've always welcomed press releases from the Lyceum, a reliably off-beat, funky, unpretentious cultural outpost.  I bought a print by a Brooklyn artist at the Lyceum crafts market, and will never forget hearing poet Galway Kinnell read in the Lyceum Cafe.

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