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Earlier this month residents in seven Brooklyn city council districts had the opportunity to vote on whether or not to fund a large number of projects using money allocated by the city to each district. The process, known as participatory budgeting, is designed to give citizens more of a voice in how city funds are spent. And now council members representing three of those Brooklyn districts have announced the results of the vote.

In District 39, which runs from the Columbia Street Waterfront, Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens through to Park Slope, Kensington and Windsor Terrace, eight projects were funded, including $150,000 for greening Union Street and 9th Street, $250,00 for building a story telling garden at the Park Slope Library (pictured above) and $200,000 for draining a chronically muddy path in Prospect Park. A full list of projects approved by voters in district 39 can be accessed here.

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Brownstoner columnist Suzanne Spellen, who writes under the name Montrose Morris, has been chosen by the Historic Districts Council as one of the recipients of its Annual Grassroots Preservation Awards. The nonprofit group advocates for historic preservation, and helps local community organizations in their work to preserve and improve their neighborhoods.

“We’re thrilled to be honoring Suzanne,” Historic Districts Council Executive Director Simeon Bankoff told us. “Through her columns, she’s introduced readers to the interesting histories of the buildings they pass every day and, hopefully, made people go out of their way to see these buildings for themselves. More than that, through her research, her writing, her tours and her work with the Crown Heights North Association and more, she’s become a steady, solid force for preservation in Brooklyn.” (more…)

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Renderings released Tuesday by Rybak Development at a Community Board 15 meeting show the developer is planning an ambitious mall with condos above as well as a large public plaza in Sheepshead Bay.

The glass-fronted retail space is broken up with zig zagging and horizontal concrete divisions, and the whole thing comes to nearly a point at one corner, like the prow of a ship. (Perhaps the marine look is a reference to the nearby waterfront area.) The architect of 1809 Emmons Avenue is Brooklyn-based Zproekt.

The renderings were first published by Sheepshead Bites. The developer plans eight stories with 50 to 60 condos. Rybak will need a zoning variance to build that many apartments, which is where the big public plaza comes in. (more…)

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We were excited to see the long-crumbling porch on one of Stuy Heights’ most important houses is getting a redo when we passed by recently. The landmarked house at 339 MacDonough Street stands out in many ways.

It is one of three big, standalone wood-frame houses on huge lots on the block — a rarity in these parts, although not on this special block. (more…)

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We found three previously unpublished renderings of the huge Chetrit hotel-apartment-retail complex going up at 500 Metropolitan. They reveal the complex has a name: The M500. Sounds like something out of a Bond film. Should go well with the smoldering interior renderings interior designers Raad Studio released earlier this year.

The new renderings are at least the fourth set from as many architects. Kutnicki Bernstein has stuck with the basic concept — a wedge-shaped complex — and given it more definition.  (more…)

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Swallow Cafe will open its third outpost this week, this time in Cobble Hill, at 156 Atlantic Avenue, where the Lebanese restaurant Tripoli has been for decades. Tripoli is not closing; the two businesses will share the space, according to the signage in the window.

Swallow Cafe will serve breakfast and lunch in addition to coffee and other drinks. The cafe’s owner, Mike Saleh, anticipates opening Tuesday or Wednesday. In time, he hopes to start serving weekend brunch, he said.

Saleh was born and raised on Atlantic Avenue, and had always dreamed of operating a business near where he grew up, he told us. (more…)

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More units at Two Trees’ rental building at 60 Water Street in Dumbo are hitting the market this week. We toured the glassy building Friday and got an eyeful of its incredible views of the Brooklyn Bridge as well as a look at the garden being built on the roof, above, and one of the new units.

Click through for a new rendering of the garden and its water feature. The unit we toured is a two-bedroom, two-bath apartment on the 16th floor.

Coming this week are studios, one-bedrooms and two-bedrooms on the 16th, 17th and 18th floors. Also, there is a deal: Two months’ rent will be free the first year. (more…)

367 7th Avenue

Since the 1970s, the storefront at 367 7th Avenue in Park Slope has been shuttered. In January of 2014, the whole building was on the market, asking $3,499,000.

It turns out the building belonged to a reclusive artist, Leo J. Bates, who used the retail space as his studio, a story in The New York Times over the weekend revealed. The neighborhood changed dramatically over the decades, but still the space remained locked.  (more…)

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We caught the demolition of the People’s Pleasure Palace, built sometime around 1900 at 1674 Broadway in Ocean Hill, last week and over the weekend. For decades, this has been a building supply store called Henry Distributors, aka Henry’s, and an important employer in the area.

As we have detailed in previous stories, this large and strangely shaped parcel will become supportive housing, along with the very large empty lot across the street at 1696 Broadway. Owner Stan Henry is one of the developers, along with SUS and Alembic Community Development, and someday the retail space on the ground floor of this building will include another Henry’s hardware store. The two buildings will be known as the Henry Apartments. (more…)

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For years now, an anonymous Brooklyn Heights resident has been taking his frustration with the U.S. Postal Service to the streets. Graffitied mailboxes outside his front door remained tagged, even after he submitted unfulfilled requests to the department for refurbishment.

All of this led the sort-of street artist to take matters into his own hands and personally restore them. He estimates he’s repainted about 20 pieces of public property in recent years, including mailboxes, lampposts, call boxes, tree guards, and bike racks.

He’s been profiled in local media and is well-known in the Heights for his efforts, which are technically illegal. Here’s a peek at some of his best work, and what some of it looked like before he “tricked out” chosen objects. (more…)

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Big changes are in the works for Pavilion movie theater, a beloved Park Slope institution that has been showing signs of wear. (In recent years it has been in the news for bedbug infestations.)

Developer Hidrock Realty plans to turn the movie house at 188 Prospect Park West into a 24-unit apartment building, but will leave the exterior intact and possibly include a new movie theater in the retail space as well. The developer, which has owned the building since 2006, filed an application for an alteration permit Wednesday, The Real Deal reported. (more…)

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Now taking applications for seven affordable rentals: 96 Brooklyn Avenue. If you’ve spent any time in north Crown Heights, you’ve probably seen this eye-catching 1880s Queen Anne building. Designed by noted 19th century Brooklyn architect firm Parfitt Brothers, it’s landmarked but has crumbling and hidden under overgrown shrubbery for years.

Nonprofit housing developers NIA JV LLC and ELH Management LLC acquired it in 2013 with plans to turn it into seven affordable rentals and restore the exterior as per LPC requirements, as we detailed at the time. (ELH Management also handled the award-winning restoration of Montrose Morris’ Imperial Apartments on the corner of Pacific Street and Bedford Avenue in Crown Heights.)

Also now taking applications are seven more affordable rentals in other historic buildings in Crown Heights and Bed Stuy, as this online notice from HPD and New York City Housing Connect details. The deadline to apply is May 13.

Rents range from $877 a month for a studio to $1,541 for a three-bedroom. Income requirements range from $36,680 for one person to $120,240 for a household of six. Check out the online notice for more details on rents and income. (more…)