Developer and architect Alex Barrett of Barrett Design and Development has just bought the Broken Angel building at 4-8 Downing Street in Clinton Hill for $4,100,000. He closed on the site last week and wants to stick with the plans approved by the DOB under the previous developer, which include converting the existing building at 4 Downing to eight residential condos. Those plans also call for a four-story, two-duplex-unit condo building at 8 Downing.
Barrett couldn’t give us too many details, but he knows that 4 Downing will have eight two-bedroom, two-bath units, with two per floor spread across the four floors. While he hasn’t been in touch with former owner and artist Arthur Wood, who made what many consider outsider art out of what was originally a brick tenement building, Barrett wants to incorporate some of Wood’s “quirky design elements” (the few that are still intact). “Our intent is to reference the building’s history but see it occupied as an eight-unit building,” he said.
He added that it was a shame to watch the Broken Angel become so derelict over the last five years, and neighbors were looking forward to the building finally being completed and occupied. (Above, the Broken Angel intact in 2006. Click through to Arthur Woods’ son’s Flickr account for tons more great photos.)
The building is still an open shell with no windows or permanent roof. Wood and developer Shahn Anderson had done some work on it, including reframing the floors and exterior walls, building an elevator shaft and stairs, installing some basic electrical and putting on a temporary roof, Barrett said. However, he plans to tear most of that out and build his interiors from scratch. Also, the Broken Angel’s new owner wants to revive some of the building’s brick details, which date back to its beginnings as an 1880s tenement.
“We want to rehabilitate some of the original details in the building which still exist under all the interventions Mr. Wood put in,” said Barrett, who is known for high-end and harmonious conversions of historic buildings. “The building itself has a lot of nice detail around the entrance and the windows, in the façade. And the ceilings are very high, the windows are quite large.”
Sadly, Barrett will have to dismantle the Angel’s front-yard addition with its crazy roof, the last remaining piece of Wood’s unique creation. The DOB long ago ordered that the addition be removed, because it went against building codes and was built partially on city property. Before Wood was evicted, he threw a pretty epic party and left behind a sad yet defiant note dated May 22, 2013, which you can read after the jump. Also after the jump is a photo of the building as it looks now.