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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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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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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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The New York Landmarks Conservancy and Brooklyn Historical Society are hosting events and tours later this month to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Landmarks Law. The law made possible the creation of the city’s first historic district, Brooklyn Heights, in 1965. (Above, row houses in the Heights.) On Monday, March 30, Gregg Pasquarelli, principal of SHoP Architects, will discuss the firm’s plan to transform the landmarked Domino Sugar Factory on the Williamsburg waterfront. Cathleen McGuigan, editor-in-chief of the Architectural Record, will interview Pasquarelli at the Brooklyn Historical Society at 6:30 pm. Tickets are $10.

The next day, the Landmarks Conservancy will host a series of free panels and tours at the Thurgood Marshall Courthouse in Foley Square, in Manhattan. There will be tours of the courthouse from 5 to 5:45 pm, followed by a panel discussion with Kent Barwick, former LPC Chair and President Emeritus of Municipal Art Society; Andrew Berman, Executive Director, Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation; Peg Breen, President, The New York Landmarks Conservancy; Paul Goldberger, Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic; Phillip Lopate, author and essayist; Gene A. Norman, former NYC LPC Chair and Principal of Architecture Plus!. See the full schedule for the events, which will happen Tuesday, March 31, from 5 to 8:30 pm at 40 Foley Square.

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Marketing has started to fill the retail space at a landmarked building in Stuy Heights that upset neighbors in July when the new owners stucco’d the turret in violation of the landmark rules. If you check out the brochure for the store space, you will see an attractive architectural rendering, above, that shows what the building at 302 Stuyvesant Avenue would look like if restored per the LPC guidelines.

We reached out to a few locals to ask them what they would like to see come into the space. Here are a few comments we received:

*A bed and breakfast with a good bakery with great whole wheat and that fennel raisin one by Amy’s bread and Eli Zabar’s bread and Maison Kayser baguettes. Like a Union Market?
*I would like to see a place for coffee and pastries, especially on a snowy, cold day. But I would be happy for a sandwich shop.
*Bookstore!
*Doggie daycare! But I’m biased haha
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*FRESH BAGELS a la Bergen Bagels.
*Art gallery and performance space that supports local artists and a yoga/dance studio.

The “prime” retail space at the corner of “iconic” Stuyvesant Avenue and Hancock Street is 2,000 square feet (plus a basement of equal size), according to the brochure. The store space has 14-foot ceilings and can be divided into two spaces if desired. Forest Park Properties is handling the leasing.

According to the law, no tenants can move in until the landmark violations are corrected. Right now the building has a stop work order. We reached out to one of the co-owners for comment, but did not hear back, and the agent declined to comment, so we don’t know what they are planning. But we are hopeful the start of this search for a retail tenant means the owner is busy working to restore the building. Click through to see more photos.

What do you think of the rendering and what would you like to see at this corner?

302 Stuyvesant Coverage [Brownstoner]

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The 19th century former police station at 4302 4th Avenue in Sunset Park has been flipped and is now on the market for $6,000,000, according to a story in DNAinfo. The crumbling Romanesque Revival style building on the corner of 43rd Street has been decaying for years, despite its landmark status, and the LPC issued a “failure to maintain the building,” otherwise known as “demo by neglect” to the longtime owner, the Brooklyn Chinese-American Association.

That group is still listed as the owner on public records, but TerraCRG, which is marketing the property, and a spokeswoman for the LPC told DNAinfo the site had recently sold.

The property is being marketed as a potential conversion to apartments. It consists of a two-story building with 5,952 square feet and a three-story building of 14,040 square feet. They require a gut renovation as well as exterior restoration, according to the story. The property also has 14,567 square feet of air rights.

We hope this is the start of better days for this corner.

Former Sunset Park NYPD Precinct House Hits Market for $6 Million [DNA]
Landmarks Moves to Save Sunset Park Ex-Police Station [Brownstoner]

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Later this month, the Historic Districts Council will host a panel on the evolution of historic districts and the possible creation of new ones, as part of its Annual Preservation Conference Series. Panelists will explore the changing definition of what is considered worthy of preservation, which has slowly broadened from Brooklyn Heights, the first historic district, designated in 1965, to include areas with a mix of modern and industrial buildings, like the Soho Cast-Iron District. The panel, “Tomorrow’s Yesterdays: Historic Districts of the Future,” will take place in Gowanus, pictured above, and consider whether the eclectic, industrial neighborhood could ever gain landmark designation.

First, architectural historian Francis Morrone will give a presentation on the development of historic districts. Then urban planner Paul Graziano, Gowanus advocate Marlene Donnelly and Ward Dennis, a Columbia University professor and CB1 member, will discuss “potential historic districts, technological and bureaucratic strategies for looking ahead,” according to the HDC’s description. Pardon Me for Asking was the first to post about the panel, which will take place March 18 at 6:30 pm at the Shapeshifter Lab at 18 Whitewell Place. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased here.

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The Landmarks Preservation Commission voted today to calendar Stone Avenue Library in Brownsville, a spokesperson for the agency told us. That means the William Tubby-designed Gothic Revival structure at 581 Mother Gaston Boulevard is one step closer to possibly someday being designated a landmark, as the LPC has decided it will hold a hearing to consider designation.

The Andrew Carnegie-financed library celebrated its 100-year anniversary and a renovation last year. It opened in September 1914 as one of the country’s first libraries built specifically for children, although today it is a general library. It was intended to look like a “fairy tale castle,” according to a story in the Times last year.

Castle-Like, Tubby-Designed Brownsville Library Celebrates 100 Years [Brownstoner] GMAP
Photo via Historic Districts Council

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Vinegar Hill House and Pizza East will open restaurants inside Empire Stores at 55 Water Street in early 2016, a spokesperson for the conversion project told us today. Pizza East will be located in the space at left pictured in the rendering above, with the schist wall. Vinegar Hill House will be on the right, in the space with the glass wall.

Both will have indoor and outdoor seating, although the outpost of the popular and nearby Vinegar Hill House will be “primarily grab and go and casual,” he said. The Vinegar Hill counter — apparently there will not be table service — will have its own menu and will serve breakfast, lunch, early dinner, coffee, and juices. It will also offer catering.

This will be Pizza East’s first New York location. The upscale eatery was created by private club Soho House and has locations in London and Chicago, all with different menus and decor. This one will offer ciabatta-crust pizzas baked in a wood-burning oven, as well as other dishes, according to a press release. Both restaurants will focus on “responsibly” and locally sourced ingredients. 

Empire Stores Coverage [Brownstoner] GMAP

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The new building planned for a vacant lot at 178 Court Street in Cobble Hill still hasn’t received Landmarks approval, because the commissioners sent the design back to the drawing board on Tuesday, YIMBY reported. PKSB Architects presented plans for a two-story red brick building with signboards, a painted steel cornice and a nine-foot bulkhead perched on top of the roof. It would house one or two retail tenants.

The LPC deemed it too plain and too tall, asked for “more inventive detailing,” a more established cornice and “broken down scale,” according to YIMBY. Meanwhile, the Historic Districts Council said in an email this week it supports the design but would like to see different signage:

HDC commends this design for its overall sensitivity of scale and materials. We do ask, though, that since the storefront will be considerably taller than those of its Court Street neighbors, the signage be incorporated into the glass transom, rather than on an additional sign band above.

The architects will work with the developer, Lonicera Partners, and return to the LPC next month with an updated design. What do you think of the look?

Landmarks Wants Tweaks to Proposal for New Building at 178 Court Street in Cobble Hill [NYY]
Modern Storefronts Planned for Empty Corner Lot on Court Street in Cobble Hill [Brownstoner]
Rendering by PSKB Architects via Cobble Hill Blog

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The restored facade of the long-suffering wood frame house at 580 Carlton Avenue, one of the oldest in the Prospect Heights, can now be seen above the construction fence. “580 Carlton has a new facade! And dare I say, it looks pretty nice!” said Cara Greenberg of CasaCARA, who sent us this photo.

Longtime readers may recall the ups and downs at this landmarked property, whose renovation caused the partial collapse of the landmarked twin house next door. By the end of 2012, No. 580 had been reduced to merely a facade, like a movie set. At some point, architect Rachel Frankel, known her ability to create historically correct looking new buildings, got on board, and is now handling the Landmarks-approved restoration of both properties.

Way back when 580 Carlton was for sale in 2011, Cara toured the open house, and had to sign a waiver before entering. It had beautiful mantels and original windows and doors. You can see all the details on her blog here. Let’s hope the owners were able to salvage something to use in the rebuild.

How do you like the way the facade is looking so far?

580 Carlton Avenue Coverage [Brownstoner]
Photo by Cara Greenberg

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If you didn’t catch the broadcast of WNET’s hour-long celebration of the 50-year-old New York City landmarks law Saturday night, you can watch it online. “The Landmarks Preservation Movement,” an episode in the public television station’s “Treasures of New York” documentary series, sweeps through landmarks history to the present day, comparing the landmarking of Brooklyn Heights, New York City’s first landmark district, in 1965 to the current-day effort to expand the Bed Stuy historic district.

If not for the efforts of Brooklyn Heights resident and distinguished preservationist Otis Pratt Pearsall, pictured above, who takes us on a tour of the Heights, 80 percent of the area would likely be gone today, according to the film. Bed Stuy resident and preservationist (and sometimes Brownstoner commenter) Claudette Brady speaks movingly of the need for protection for Bed Stuy’s 19th century houses, arguing that landmarking is crucial to preserving the community and its way of life. Catch her at 33:46 and again at 56:38.

Treasures of New York: The Landmarks Preservation Movement [WNET 13]
Still image from “The Landmarks Preservation Movement”