12/18/14 10:45am

Wash Hull, Muni Building, Arch and Design, 1903

In 1903, a young architect born and raised in Brooklyn won the most important architectural competition of the new century. Against all odds, this relative newcomer beat out well-known and experienced architects like the Parfitt Brothers, William Tubby and Rudolfe L. Daus, and was awarded the commission to design the Borough of Brooklyn’s new Municipal Building. Washington Hull was the talk of the town.

You can catch up on Mr. Hull’s upbringing and early history in Part One of this story. He was still establishing his solo career after working as a draughtsman and head of that department for McKim, Mead & White. He left that firm along with two co-workers, and they started their own office as Lord, Hewlett & Hull.

They seemed to be golden, winning a couple of good commissions, including a Reading Room building for Grace Episcopal Church in Brooklyn Heights and a precinct house in Kensington. They also came in second in a competition to design the Philadelphia Museum of Art. And then they landed the big one: the multi-million dollar mansion for Senator William Clark on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan; a building that was to be the largest, most expensive house in New York City. (more…)

12/18/14 10:00am

1068 Fulton St. EN 1

An eight-story mixed-use building will replace the former Elks Lodge building at 1068 Fulton Street near Classon Avenue in Bed Stuy, next to the Clinton Hill border. Architect Nataliya Donskoy filed a new building application yesterday for an eight-story, 41-unit development on the 5,900-square-foot site.

The project will have 4,796 square feet of ground floor retail, a rec room, roof terrace and 21 underground bike storage spots, according to Schedule A filings. Demolition applications have been filed but not yet approved for the existing building.

Building of the Day last year, the apartments were originally built as row houses in the 1870s, and a black chapter of the Elks began meeting there in the 1920s, eventually attracting more than 1,000 members.

Building of the Day: 1068 Fulton Street [Brownstoner] GMAP

12/18/14 9:30am

1776-prospect-place-1-121814

Three huge lots equal in size to almost an entire block have been leveled to make way for a huge public housing project in Ocean Hill. The property was formerly the Prospect Plaza housing project, home to 1,200 people, which NYCHA emptied out in 2000, promising to rebuild. When we visited a year earlier, the empty, boarded-up apartment houses were still standing.

At 1776 Prospect Place, pictured above and after the jump, the demo work started in May and was signed off on in October. An application for a new six-story building with 101 apartments was disapproved this month. The building that previously stood there was 15 stories.

The area immediately around the public housing sites consists of empty lots or empty apartment buildings, adding up to about eight desolate lots on two and a half blocks between Saratoga and Howard avenues and Prospect and Sterling places, close to Eastern Parkway in Ocean Hill.  Click through to see more photos of the site.

City Finally Moves to Redevelop Vacant Housing Project in Ocean Hill [Brownstoner] GMAP (more…)

12/18/14 9:00am

420-kent-avenue-2-121814

The long-stalled high rise development at 420-444 Kent Avenue on the waterfront in south Williamsburg is finally seeing some action. ODA Architects filed permits for 18- and 22-story towers there yesterday, following Spitzer Enterprises’s purchase of the property over the summer, New York YIMBY reported.

We expect the new design will be a great improvement over the last one, although no new renderings have been released. As for the specifics of the plan, they are similar although one tower will be shorter by two stories. The two buildings will have 449 units. If the old waiver still applies, 20 percent of the units will be affordable.

ODA is known for its low-rise buildings that resemble boxes in unusual configurations; its towers are similar but sleeker.

The site was formerly home to the Kedem Winery. The sale has not yet hit public records. Click through for a look at an old rendering from the previous owners.

Permits Filed: ODA Designing 18 and 22-Story Towers at 420 Kent Avenue [NYY] GMAP
What Could Sprout at Stalled Kedem Winery Site in South Williamsburg [Brownstoner]
1970s tax photo from PropertyShark; Rendering via Vos Iz Neiaas (more…)

12/18/14 8:30am

593-decatur-street-121814

A New Leader for Brooklyn Children’s Museum [NY Times]
A Clothing Store in Brooklyn Reminds Men to Take Risks [NY Times]
Leak in Newly Installed Green Roof at Barclays Center Delays Game [NY Daily News]
Brooklyn Heights Construction Checklist [Eagle]
Santa, or Is That Spider-Man, Arrives Early in Brooklyn Heights [Eagle]
Hanukkah Menorah Lighting Illuminates Borough Hall [Eagle]
Revealed: 79 Clay Street in Greenpoint [NYY]
Regus Sets up Shop in Forest City Office Building in Brooklyn Heights [TRD]
European Investor Buys ODA-Designed The Bergen for $52.2 Million [NY Post]
Fulton Mall Clothes Shop Targets “Low- and Middle-Income” Shoppers [DNA]
500 New Trees to Be Planted in Greenpoint With Grant Money From Oil Spill [DNA]
Japanese Group Purchases Red Hook Warehouse for $5 Million [DNA]

12/17/14 4:30pm

clinton hill multifamily

Seven-Story Mixed-Use Building, Public Plaza to Replace El Greco [Sheepshead Bites]
Displacement of Bushwick Tenants: An Artists’ Advocate Weights In [BK Brief]
Spike Hill Has Closed, and Just Sold off Its Beautiful Old Bar [B+B]
PLG’s 115 Ocean Goes for a Boatload: What’s Next? [Q Parkside]
The Story Behind the Small Gingerbread House at 351 Court Street in Carroll Gardens [PMFA]
Brooklyn’s Esplanade, Manhattan Beach [Forgotten NY]
How Much for an Eco-Friendly Two-Bedroom in Williamsburg? [Curbed]
Watch Park Slope Drivers Turn Sidewalk Into Car Lane [Gothamist]

Photo by Juni Safont

12/17/14 4:00pm

69 vanderbilt avenue wallabout 122014

We’re sad to report that the city plans to demolish the crumbling mid-19th century wood frame at 69 Vanderbilt Avenue in the Wallabout Historic District. The HPD filed an emergency demolition permit last week.

A complaint from June said the house was shaking and leaning, and the DOB report said “front porch is unstable…neighboring houses may be in danger.”

Back in August after the construction fence went up we speculated the city had no plans to tear it down. Unfortunately, we were wrong.

“The New York Landmarks Conservancy has had No. 69 on its endangered list for years,” said the New York Times’ Christopher Grey in 2010. “There are only two ways it could get off the list, and right now it’s more likely to go feet first.”

Thanks to Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership for the tip and the photo.

69 Vanderbilt Avenue Coverage [Brownstoner]
Photo by Myrtle Avenue Revitalization Project LDC

12/17/14 3:00pm

697-703 Bushwick Ave, CB, PS

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Tenement buildings
Address: 697-703 Bushwick Avenue
Cross Streets: Corner Suydam Street
Neighborhood: Bushwick
Year Built: 1889
Architectural Style: Queen Anne
Architect: Theobald Engelhardt
Other Buildings by Architect: In Bushwick – Ulmer Office and Brewery, Arion Hall, St. Mark’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and School, Frederick Cook house, Bossert house, and many more row houses, churches, tenements, mansions, breweries, banks, hospitals, factories and warehouses in the old Eastern District and elsewhere in Brooklyn
Landmarked: No, but part of a proposed Bushwick Avenue Historic District

The story: By definition, a tenement is a building with multiple tenancy, nothing more sinister that that. In 1867, the New York State defined it as “any house, building, or portion thereof, which is rented, leased, let, or hired out to be occupied or is occupied, as the home or residence of more than three families living independently of one another and doing their own cooking upon the premises, or by more than two families upon a floor, so living and cooking and having a common right in the halls, stairways, yards, water-closets, or privies.” The term became forever attached to horrible, crowded and substandard slums populated by the poorest of the poor, giving a stigma to all multiple unit dwellings that wouldn’t disappear until the first quarter of the 20th century. (more…)

12/17/14 2:00pm

1453 bedford avenue marche rue dix 122014

The couple behind Senegalese spot Cafe Rue Dix last week opened a clothing and housewares boutique with an unusual contemporary interior next door at 1453 Bedford Avenue in Crown Heights. Marché Rue Dix sells a variety of vintage items, including clothing, shoes, ceramics and jewelry.

It also offers new accessories and textiles designed by Crown Heights locals, such as jewelry designer Lisa Levine, candles, coffee and tea. Husband and wife Lamine Diagne and Nilea Alexander hope to sell their restaurant’s signature Senagalese hot sauce in the future.

The space, located between Park and Sterling, is open from 11 am to 9 pm Wednesday through Sunday. Click through to see the interior. GMAP

(more…)

12/17/14 1:30pm

476 east 18th street ditmas park 122014

This freestanding Colonial Revival wood frame with a porch in Ditmas Park could not be more attractive, but it’s going to need a lot of work. We suspect leaks and mold may be an issue, going by the photos in the listing, and it will probably need all the other usual upgrades as well.

The front of the house, located at 476 East 18th Street, was used as a doctor’s office, but the partitions and extra bathroom in the hall look easy to remove.

Even so, the house appears remarkably intact, with all its moldings, doors, staircase, and stained glass. It’s landmarked and has been in the same family for decades, according to public records. It was designed by architect A. White Pierce in 1901 for Charles Cooper, a mechanic, according to the designation report.

The listing says the house needs TLC and is being sold as is. What do you think of it and the ask of $1,550,000?

476 East 18th Street [Corcoran] GMAP

12/17/14 1:00pm

821 halsey street bed stuy 122014

This two-bedroom, one-bath condo in a former tenement at 821 Halsey Street is nicely designed, but on the small side for a two-bedroom. (PropertyShark and the listing put the unit at 780 square feet, but we suspect that might include the stair.)

The living room is narrow at 8 feet and 10 inches but must get a lot of light from the skylight and window. The unit has a private terrace in the back and on the roof, and it faces Saratoga Square Park. An open house is scheduled for Sunday.

Back in 2009, it sold for $275,000, or $352 a square foot. Now the new ask is $549,000, which works out to about $704 a square foot, at least. Do you think that’s where condos in far east Bed Stuy are these days?

821 Halsey Street, #3B [Halstead] GMAP

12/17/14 12:15pm

93 decatur street bed stuy 122014

Although technically this is a one-bedroom apartment on the parlor floor with some original detail, we’re underwhelmed. Perhaps the new renter can clean up the kitchen area a bit, but for now it looks like a big jumble with appliances plopped down in the middle of the parlor and not much room for anything else. It’s hard to see the inlaid floors and mirrored mantel. Do you think $1,700 a month is reasonable for this?

93 Decatur Street [Charles Rutenberg] GMAP