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real estate development

Brooklyn Heights, Landmark Preservation

To Demo Or Not? Landmarks Debates Fate Of Brooklyn Heights Cinema

December 22, 2012

Developers and preservation advocates are playing tug of war as the Landmarks Preservation Committee debates whether to allow Brooklyn Heights Cinema owner Kenn Lowy to hold onto the landmarked 1895 building—or whether to replace it with a planned five-story condo. reports that six votes are outstanding with the Landmarks Commission to approve or deny a proposal to demo the structure. At a November 27 meeting, design revisions for the new building were bandied, which Commissioner Michael Goldblum felt were “too reminiscent of the industrial Art Deco architecture, an inappropriate style for the district.”

Landmarks has not scheduled its next meeting, leaving the fate of the building hanging in the air. Meanwhile, Jane McGroarty of the Brooklyn Heights Association deems 70 Henry Street—one of the last buildings from the 1800s left standing in the area—”one of the handsomest commercial buildings in the district.” Likewise, Council Member Stephen Levin wrote to the Landmarks Commission, “70 Henry Street is a contributing building within the historic district on two levels: It is both architecturally and culturally significant to our neighborhood.”

DNAInfo reports: “To some movie-goers, the building’s muraled ceilings, stained star-patterned carpeted floors, dual entrance stairways and 150-seat sloping theaters hold historical value. The ornate cornice-covered facade and and boxy construction have survived centuries of nearby demolition which claimed most of the other buildings that were made in the same era.”

But according to Randy Gerner, architect of the proposed new building, 70 Henry has been renovated so many times over the last 75 years, including a commission-approved makeover in 1971, it has lost its historic claim. He also says the building, in its current state, is deteriorating.

Lowy says that Caruana has guaranteed the cinema would have a place on the ground floor of the new condo once it reopens, albeit with a rent hike and less space. He’s been told to expect an 18-month displacement, but is grateful to be included in plans for the new building: “I am an eternal optimist. I know we will continue to screen films whether in this building or one that is yet to be built.” (Photo: (remster_9/Flickr)

Source: Brooklyn Heights Blog

From the Web

Brooklyn Heights, Downtown Brooklyn, Real Estate

Barclay’s Center is Just the Beginning

October 9, 2012

Ongoing concerns about Barclays Center’s overall impact on surrounding borough neighborhoods—including Brooklyn Heights—could rise from a low roar to a full-on battle cry, given the mammoth long-term plan that developer Bruce Ratner has in mind for the area. Located at the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic avenues, Barclays is merely the first part to be completed of a planned 16-building complex that would include 6 million square feet of residential, 247,000 of retail and 336,000 of office space.

In a lengthy story about the Atlantic Yards development, The Architects Newspaper reports that the as yet tallest modular construction building in the world—a 32-story residential tower—is slated to add to the Brooklyn skyline. An office building and possibly a hotel would round out the first phase of development, followed by eleven more residential buildings, eight acres of open space, and retail.

Related: Opening Night at the Barclays Center

Ironically, it was NYC planner Robert Moses who first pooh-poohed the idea of a stadium near the space now occupied by Barclays Center, back in 1955. Responding to Brooklyn Dodgers owner Walter O’Malley’s proposal to build a new home for the Dodgers on the site of what is now the Atlantic Center Mall, Moses said, “I don’t want to see a baseball field in downtown Brooklyn at all. The streets will never handle all the cars. (A) stadium would create a China Wall of traffic.” Much more, including more photos, here.

How did we get there from here? Read the Atlantic Yards Report’s definitive primer on the area’s development.

Source: Brooklyn Heights Blog

From the Web

Brooklyn Heights, Real Estate

The Latest On 172-174 Montague’s Street Future Residential Highrise

August 14, 2012

So we were apparently a little tardy in our weekend post about the closing of Montague Street’s Hallmark store. Let’s make good by sharing the latest on the building planned for 172-174 Montague, which will replace the two-story structure that once held Eammon’s and Hallmark.

First, the Brooklyn Eagle reveals that new owner “BH 1 CD LLC,” is operated by principals Eli Stoll and Charles Dayan. A little more digging by BHB shows that the company is based at 499 Seventh Avenue in Manhattan. As previously reported, the 8,150/sf building (and 5,000/sf lot) sold for $12 million. The current 50-foot wide and 95-feet deep structure—which also has a cellar—was originally constructed in 1925, and does not fall within the Brooklyn Heights Landmark District and thus is not subject to its 50 foot height limit. According to Property Shark, the building was most recently assessed at a value of $1,699,650.

With a C5-2/DB zoning designation, the property is approved for 60,000 buildable square feet and “significant air rights,” with a demolition permit already issued by the Department of Buildings, the Eagle says. Originally, an application was filed to construct a 19-story, 66-unit mixed-use residential building—but was nixed by DOB July 10.

Besen & Associates, which brokered the deal, says the seller Robar, LLC (a private investor) “resisted the temptation to sell his air rights on several occasions after receiving unsolicited offers,” according to David Davidson, who represented the seller with Besen’s Lynda Blumberg. That includes a bid from the developer of the 34-story Archstone luxury rental next door, at 180 Montague Street. It was built in 1999, and sold in 2006 to residential REIT Archstone Smith for $101 million.

Source: Brooklyn Heights Blog

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