Long-Blighted Brooklyn Heights Building Racks Up DOB Violations

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After years of slow disintegration, the dilapidated Greek Revival domicile at 100 Clark Street is getting renewed scrutiny from the Department of Buildings, the Brooklyn Eagle reported. The DOB’s Emergency Response Team called out the building’s “partial open roof,” “cracked” and “bulging” facade, and unsafe sidewalk shed, among other complaints in violations last month.

The comments on 100 Clark’s facade are particularly troubling as they could signal a structure on the verge of collapse.

The building is notorious for being the most broken-down home in one of Brooklyn’s priciest neighborhoods. Its saga of decrepitude commenced more than ten years ago in 2004, when a 10-foot-by-10-foot portion of the facade fell onto the street, leading the Department of Buildings to vacate 14 families from the structure. But that was just the beginning.

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In 2006, Penson Companies purchased the building for $3,650,000, apparently making enough repairs to allow people to live there. Three rent-stabilized tenants — paying monthly rents of $550, $617, and $575 respectively — were in residence at the “imminently perilous” 100 Clark in 2008 when a 311 call reported that the home’s floors were buckling.

In response, the DOB famously sent in an emergency demolition crew to tear down two floors of the building on Memorial Day weekend– rendering 100 Clark even less habitable, if you can imagine such a thing.

Then Penson sued the DOB and the Landmarks Preservation Commission for $18,000,000.

That year, Brownstoner wrote:

…what hasn’t been widely noted, is the real reason behind why the owner of the building, Penson Corp. sued to stop the DOB from tearing it down. The short answer: Money (of course). The long answer: The building in its pre-demolished state was about 8,000 square feet… if the building were rebuilt from scratch, would only allow for about 6,700 square feet of space. That 1,300-square-foot difference is worth well over a million bucks in this part of town. If Penson wins the court case, it will get to have its cake and eat it too: The rent-stabilized tenants will be out and it’ll get to restore the building to its overbuilt state.

However, the New York State Supreme Court dismissed the suit in spring of 2010. That fall, Pension sold 100 Clark to its current owner, developer Newcastle Realty Services, for $1,250,000 in cash.

“It’s been a very, very badly neglected building,” Frank Folisi, landlord of the building next door, told The Post in 2008. “Everyone who has owned this building has taken money out of it and not put any money into it. I don’t walk on that side of the street anymore.”

Clark Street eyesore slapped with Buildings Department violations [Eagle]
100 Clark Street Hits the Market [Brownstoner]
What’s Up at 100 Clark Street? [Brownstoner]
Emergency Repair at 100 Clark While Court Fight Continues [Brownstoner]
Emergency Demo at 100 Clark Clears Tenants [Brownstoner]
‘Dereliction of Duty’ in Brooklyn Heights [Brownstoner]

Photos by Barbara Eldredge

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3 Comment

  • This is 1. Dangerous and 2. An eyesore and needs to be dealt with before it becomes even more dangerous and endangers adjacent buildings. More importantly, I don’t want Iron Chef House to have to shut.

  • A good example of when good things easily turn bad. The place is a mess but because of the historic district, no owner was able to do anything reasonable here… Sanity would say we just need to knock it down and build something nice. Maybe the hoops you have to jump through just aren’t worth it.

  • Speaking of neighborhood eyesores: Exactly one year ago today the Brooklyn Heights Cinema turned off its projectors and threw away all its old popcorn and shut its doors forever, after 44 years as a true neighborhood treasure. An immediate, impending condo conversion of the Henry St theater building was the ostensible reason. Since then, there has been no apparent construction or any other activity at the site whatsoever, as the building exterior visibly deteroriates. (In this long past winter, that neglect extended to failure to clear snow and ice from the heavily used sidewalks.) What gives? Does anyone know, or care?