Neighbors Outraged Metal Turret Stucco’d in Bed Stuy Landmark District

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The scaffolding has come down at 302 Stuyvesant Avenue, a 19th century apartment building in the landmarked section of Stuyvesant Heights, revealing that the elaborate 19th century pressed metal corner turret has been replaced with stucco.

Neighbors and local preservationists are furious and have contacted Landmarks Preservation Commission to complain. Landmarks told one of them it will send someone out to investigate. Below, a photo of the building from 2012. We also wrote about the tower as it was mid-renovation, and if you click through to that story you will see the tower with its metal covering removed and wall studs exposed.

Here are a sampling of typical comments from neighbors discussing the alterations on the private online forum:

“I agree, looks awful! What a shame.”

“Not only is the mud/stucco thing ugly, the geometry is off: the angle of the walls and the turret don’t match at all!”

“I’m not so sure it’s better today than what it was. A year ago it stood in a state of wonderful potential, whereas now it stands in a state of permanent disfigurement.”

It looks as though a huge section of missing cornice on the side of the building has also been replaced with a new one. The building, which sold to an LLC with a South Williamsburg address for $800,000 last year, has 17 active violations from the Department of Buildings, including several that are Landmarks related.

What do you think of the alterations?

Bed Stuy Tower Down to Studs [Brownstoner]
Second photo by Christopher Bride for PropertyShark

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20 Comment

  • I’m unclear on what people are angry about. Both photos show the top part looking the same.

    • Cate

      In the bottom photo, taken in 2012, the turret is made of pressed, decorated metal from the 19th century with wreaths, garlands, and other details. In the top photo, that original metal covering was entirely removed and replaced with a completely new facade made of stucco, not metal, and which is plain and undecorated.

      If you click through to our earlier story you will also see a photo of the turret mid-alteration where the covering has been entirely removed and the new studs are showing.

      Unfortunately, it’s hard to see the detail in these photos. In person, the difference is very dramatic.

  • This is an example of the kind of ignorant developer that should be banned from being able to own in a Landmark district. Not only because they clearly have no aesthetic sense, but they clearly have no wisdom of the benefits of investing in a Landmark district.
    They paid $800,000 to buy this building, this is clearly a prime candidate to take advantage of the IRS Landmark tax credits. IE: If a developer invests greater than the purchase price in the restoration of the building and they keep it as a rental investment building for the next five years; they can take the whole restoration cost off their income tax bill as tax credits over the next five years. If they do not pay income tax themselves, they can even sell those tax credits.
    IDIOTS!

  • Do you honestly think developers walking around in 18th century clothing have astetic? Lets be thankful it’s not pink brick and full of window cages.

  • I will add that the cornice was also done terribly. You can’t tell from the photos but in person it is not at all continuous. It is completely mismatched. Enough of the existing cornice is there to make the design of the new one from.

    Also look at the windows on the stuccoed bay window. They are completely out of proportion. The rest of the windows while acceptable to the eye have no trim around them. You can actually see the foam insulation. I assume this will be corrected. Considering how much of the building is left to restore, I’m not hopeful they will carry it out in accordance with the historical character of the building or neighborhood.

    I would also like to add: what the hell is the point of landmarks if this happens? Someone at LPC is alseep at the switch.

    Everyone makes such a big deal about getting landmarked, but it doesn’t seem to do any good anyhow. I highly doubt they will put back what was there at this point. They may get fined, but where does the money go??

    Come on landmarks. Do your job.

    • Montrose Morris

      I wholeheartedly agree with you, but in defense of Landmarks, they just don’t have the staff to patrol the streets looking for violations. Last time I looked, they had one or two people who checked for violations for the entire city. All five boroughs! They really do depend on the public to notify them when work like this happens. Sometimes I have pity on the little guys who do incorrect cheap small stuff on their buildings, but I have no pity or excuses for developers who are big enough to buy a building like this, and then think they can get away with this stuff because no one is looking. Stop work orders, fines. Fix it or else. That’s the only way to make our hard fought for landmarked neighborhoods stay worthy of being landmarked.

  • What a shame. Why do these developers use Stucco? Is it really that much cheaper? They ruin house after house with these horrible Stucco facades and now this huge corner building – this looks terrible.

  • daveinbedstuy

    Well, there is a Stop Work Order and 17 Open Violations, including 4 Landmark violations , 2 from this July.

  • Amzi Hill

    I walk pass this building and it is really sad about what they did to it. I really hope that the this stucco is corrected soon. We have too many developers that do not respect historic architecture in Bedford Stuyvesant. Other landmarked areas would have this guy in court!

  • Apparently a block east on that corner at Malcolm X and Hancock a French restaurant is supposed to open soon. Anyone know anything?

    • I walked by 641 Hancock/238 MXB on Wednesday. They are are definitely working on the commercial space, including on a backyard area. It looks like there is a lot more work to be done, so I don’t expect an opening too soon. Speaking of which, Emeline’s is still quiet – without any sign or anything (on the building or on social media, etc.) that they will be opening any time soon. Again, that makes the press release about how helpful SBS was to getting them open seem like a joke. Perhaps they are opening this weekend, but I still can’t believe they have made no effort to publicize, etc.

  • I don’t know at what point in 2012 this photo was taken but I know that part of the facade was damaged pretty bad during Hurricane Sandy- not that what they did looks good, it doesn’t. Better than a tear down but still ugly. The fire that gutted this building sometime around Labor Day about 5-6 years ago made me think it was going to be demolished eventually so I’m glad it’s at least being saved.