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A rundown and altered Second Empire-style wood frame house at 40 Cambridge Place in Clinton Hill is getting a total redo using Passive House technology. The exterior will be restored to match its twin next door, including windows that appear to be double hung, because it is in the Clinton Hill Historic District.

The missing porch and altered bay window will be restored. The inside will be retrofitted according to Passive House standards, according to DOB permits.

Right now, the whole thing is shrouded in scaffolding — as is the house next door at 46 Cambridge Place. (That may be to protect it. The house did recently have some work going on inside, but apparently it’s not related to this project.)

When 40 Cambridge was a House of the Day in 2011, we said it had lots of details in and out but appeared to need work. Click through the jump below to see what the exterior looked like in 2012 and to see the house under construction now.

The house last changed hands for $740,00 in 2011. The owner plans to obtain a new certificate of occupancy but will keep it as a two-family, according to permits.

This should be an interesting one to watch.

House of the Day: 40 Cambridge Place [Brownstoner] GMAP
Last photo below by Nicholas Strini for PropertyShark

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Mayor de Blasio’s housing plan won’t bring affordable units to low-income areas but it will destroy the character of the most expensive neighborhoods in Brooklyn, said housing experts — including real estate execs — in a Wall Street Journal article yesterday. Here are the deets:

*In low-income areas such as East New York, no one is building market-rate housing now and no one will build market-rate housing in the future, even if the mayor succeeds with his plan to upzone the area to allow bigger and taller buildings, because the math just doesn’t pencil out.

*Meanwhile, the mayor’s plan would work beautifully in higher-income areas such as Park Slope and Williamsburg — except that Bloomberg-mandated “contextual zoning” height caps make it impossible.

Mayor de Blasio is pushing to wipe out those hard-won height caps with a “text amendment” to the building zoning code (as we mentioned in yesterday’s article about the zoning controversy in Prospect Lefferts Gardens). If he succeeds, new buildings and additions 15 to 30 percent higher than what is allowed now will quickly sprout throughout Brooklyn’s most expensive and tony areas and beyond, from Cobble Hill, Park Slope, Williamsburg, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Bed Stuy, Crown Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens — anywhere land is expensive and prices and rents support luxury development. (more…)

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The exterior of the apartment building going up on a prominent corner across from Saratoga Park in Bed Stuy is just about done, and the inside looks like it’s getting close too. When we passed by 838 and 840 Halsey Street this morning, workers were breaking up the sidewalk in front to make space for plantings.

Back when this project was starting, we feared it would be the cheapest possible type of new “Fedders” construction. Happily, that is not the case.

“While not great architecture, at least it’s not a Fedders, as we all feared,” a neighbor told us yesterday. “I would be happier if the glass railing at the top had been a cornice instead, but overall it’s not as bad as it could be.”

One caveat: Saratoga Park is ringed with uninterrupted rows of 19th century architecture on two sides (but not this side). That view is an important part of the experience of the park, in much the same way the more ancient architecture surrounding the Place des Vosges in Paris is. We hope that won’t change.

This particular building replaced two long-empty lots. The property is part of the proposed Stuyvesant East Historic District. The Stuyvesant East Preservation Action League has been working to landmark this area. We are keeping a close eye on what is happening with another huge lot farther down the block at the corner of Macon and Howard Avenue, at the end of one of the intact historic rows facing the park.

What do you think of how this building is turning out?

840 Halsey Street Coverage [Brownstoner] GMAP

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After requesting some changes, the Landmarks Preservation Commission yesterday approved this striking crystalline facade design for an adaptation of a 19th century factory in Dumbo, The Real Deal reported. The commissioners shot down a similar version of the design for 10 Jay Street last month, and ODA Architecture returned yesterday with a few tweaks.

The updated rendering, above, has more steel panels and added brick slab edges peeking through between the metal and glass facade pieces. (more…)

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After a year of drama and disruption, last night’s Community Board 9 meeting was relatively sane and productive, but the highly anticipated vote on the controversial letter to City Planning to request a zoning study of Prospect Lefferts Gardens did not happen. Here is what did happen:

*The letter was sent back to the land-use committee for a vote because the previous vote turned out to be invalid. People were voting who weren’t actually members of the committee, and the vote was taken after the meeting had already been adjourned, which is against the rules. We were expecting a presentation on the land-use committee’s recommendation, but perhaps because the matter was sent back to committee for a vote, there was none.

*Acting chair Laura Imperiale and MTOPP leader and activist Alicia Boyd agreed on something: Now there is a new threat to the existing character of the neighborhood — and all neighborhoods in Brooklyn and New York City. A “text amendment” to the building code, buried in Mayor de Blasio’s “Zoning for Quality and Affordability” plan, would effectively wipe out hard-won height limits in “contextual zoning neighborhoods,” allowing new development 20 to 30 percent higher across the board. The board has two weeks to comment.

Also, City Planning plans to meet on the topic today at 4 pm at Spector Hall at 22 Reade Street in Manhattan. A community rally is scheduled to take place before the meeting, at 3 pm at City Hall.

*MTOPP has asked the D.A. to investigate Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams (more…)

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The Landmarks Preservation Commission this morning voted to landmark the proposed Crown Heights North III Historic District. The vote was unanimous.

It was a very short meeting, about 15 minutes. The vote took place after a quick presentation about the proposed district, which had been “calendared” way back in June 2011.

Some noteworthy features of the district, which includes 640 buildings between Brooklyn and Albany avenues, are the quaint one- or two-block stretches of Hampton, Revere and Virginia places. These blocks feature Colonial and Renaissance Revival homes, as well as a collection of two-family “Kinko” houses (shown above) built between 1907 and 1912. Designed by Mann & McNeille, every house includes two duplexes, each of which has its own front door, house number, stairway, porch and cellar. 

The Crown Heights North Association and members of Community Board 8 were jubilant about the vote, which they’ll discuss at an upcoming town hall meeting. “I think it’s wonderful,” said CB 8 member Adelaide Miller, who’s lived on Virginia Place for 67 years. “I go into areas where they tore down beautiful churches and buildings, and I’m happy that won’t happen here.” (more…)

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The architects at OPerA Studio took a crumbling townhouse at 463 Carroll Street in Gowanus and transformed it into a modern four-bedroom home with new facades and Juliet balconies. The client was a developer who intended to sell the house.

“The concept was to create a modern dwelling that retained the warmth and texture of a traditional townhouse,” OPerA’s Thomas Barry told us. Exposed brick walls and warm reclaimed wood in the window surrounds and stairs help balance out the house’s modern feel.

“The deep wood window surrounds create a play of shadows on the facades while providing a natural materiality, but rendered in a modern formal vocabulary,” he continued. “This balance is carried inside with the details of the stairs and the continuation of the play of warm and cool material combinations.”

The house required major structural repairs. The underlying wood frame structure was so termite-damaged that the “brick facades were literally hanging on nothing,” Barry said. OPerA Studio removed the facades, shored up the unstable wood framing, repaired the foundation and replaced the cellar slab. Then new facades were built at the front and back with a 2-by-6 wood frame. Half the floor joists were replaced.

After the renovation, the 2,400-square-foot home has three and a half baths, a blindingly white chef’s kitchen, gas fireplaces and a double-height master bedroom on the third floor. It hit the market with renderings in the fall of 2013 and sold for its aggressive asking price, $2,649,000, last December.

Click through to see photos from before and after the renovation. What do you think of how it turned out?

Major Renovation in Works at 463 Carroll Street [Brownstoner]
Photos by OPerA Studio

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The striking infill going up at 443 Bergen Street in Park Slope — a sliver of a Passive House with a solar panel covering most of the facade — is still under construction. From the outside, not much appears to have changed since we checked it out in May. Construction was supposed to wrap last summer, according to the construction fence, so we assume they’ve been busy finishing the interior.

The solar panel — which some commenters said is more style than substance since it would catch more energy on the roof — dominates the house. There is also some raw-looking wide wood cladding, windows, and a little bit of stucco.

We wouldn’t want every house in Brooklyn to look like this, but here we think it’s an interesting contrast with the surroundings. We also like the stepped massing at the top, and the overall navy-white-wood color scheme — it’s jaunty. Click through to see more photos.

Passive House Condos Nearly Finished on Bergen Street in Park Slope [Brownstoner]

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Yesterday, we told you Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams was looking into the controversy over the Pierhouse hotel, aka 1Hotel. (To recap: The building at 60 Furman Street, including bulkheads on the roof, is about 30 feet taller than a 2005 community agreement specified and is blocking part of the view of the Brooklyn Bridge that agreement sought to protect, but is NOT blocking the legally protected Brooklyn Heights Special Scenic View District.) Turns out Brooklyn Bridge Park has already responded to his letter.

A spokeswoman for the park also had this to say about our story yesterday and the allegations from community group Save The View Now:

We were happy to respond to Borough President Adams’ questions about the Pier 1 development, which complies with all scenic view protections from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, and also with BBP’s General Project Plan. We’re looking forward to completing the project, which will supply critical funding to keep the park safe and well-maintained for millions of visitors for years to come.

Above, the Pierhouse hotel and condos under construction in late January. Click through to see the park’s letter to Eric Adams.

Pierhouse Coverage [Brownstoner]

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We’re excited to tell you that the Landmark Preservation Commission will vote Tuesday morning on whether or not to designate the proposed historic district Crown Heights North III. It has been in the works for years, and the hearing for calendaring the vote was held way back in 2011!

It looks like this will be a quickie vote. The agenda item on the LPC calendar allots 15 minutes. Also, the item did not go up on the LPC calendar until just a few days ago. We’re not sure what that all means, but we hope it’s good news for the preservationists and neighborhood residents who’ve worked so hard to make this happen. (more…)

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Two Trees has put up construction walls and started excavating Domino Sugar Site E, a former vacant lot the developer turned into a temporary community space, park and garden called Havermeyer Park. The inland site sits across the street from the main factory on Kent Avenue, between South 3rd and South 4th streets.

Two Trees broke ground there earlier this month, kicking off construction of the first building in its huge redevelopment of Domino. As reported, the building at 317 Kent Avenue will be a SHoP-designed, 16-story tower with 522 rentals, including 105 affordable units. Construction is expected to finish in 2017. The developer has also promised to rebuild the park next door to Domino and open it this summer. Yay!

Meanwhile, across the street, workers have finished carting away the remains of the demolished buildings on either side of the landmarked Domino factory. The abandoned cranes have also been pulled away from the water’s edge, and they’ll eventually be incorporated into a five-acre waterfront park with a High Line-style “artifact walk.” Click through to see what’s behind the fence at the main Domino site.

Domino Coverage [Brownstoner]

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