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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”

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A new building is rising at 9 Old Fulton Street in Dumbo, a deep but narrow lot that’s been empty since before the block was landmarked. The four-story building will have three apartments and 1,224 square feet of commercial space with a restaurant, according to permits issued last year. But construction might be paused for the moment, after the city issued a partial stop work order late last month. 

Thomas van den Bout of N/Vdesign architecture is designing the project, which looks like it will fit in with the block perfectly. The 1,387-square-foot plot once housed a building from the 1840s, but it was demolished sometime before the Fulton Ferry District was landmarked in 1977. Landmarks approved the new design in 2010 after a series of public hearings. 

Click through to see the schematic on the fence.

Old Fulton Street Likely to See a New Building Rising Soon [Brownstoner] GMAP

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The Landmarks Preservation Commission Tuesday sent a striking modern facade design by ODA Architecture for a 19th century brick factory building at 10 Jay Street in Dumbo back to the drawing board. Several commissioners, including chair Meenakshi Srinivasan, praised the design (she called it “exceptional”) but ultimately the board decided the approach wasn’t the right one for the historic district, Curbed reported.

The 1898 brick factory building with arched windows was designed by George M. Newhall Engineering Co. for the Arbuckle Brothers sugar refinery. It has been used as a warehouse since the 1940s, and in that decade also lost its original facade on the north side, which faces the water. Owner and developer Glacier Global Partners plans to convert the building into 46 apartments with retail on the ground floor. (It’s unclear whether Glacial is planning condos or rentals.) It intends to restore the three original facades on the building, a plan Landmarks approved. In December, ODA filed an application for a building permit.

In addition to sugar crystals, the north facing facade was inspired by the Manhattan Bridge and the existing steel and brick of Dumbo, said the story. We’re not sure how we feel about the commission’s decision: We’re all for exceptional architecture in Brooklyn, but we’re also in favor of preserving Brooklyn’s historic areas.

One of the commissioners said he felt the building stood out too much, saying “Look at me!” rather than “Look at the historic district.” Click through for a photo of the building today and a schematic comparing past and present.

What do you think?

Crystal-Inspired Facade Proposed for Dumbo’s 10 Jay Street [Curbed] GMAP
10 Jay Street Coverage [Brownstoner]
Renderings by ODA via Curbed; photo by Scott Bintner for PropertyShark

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Macy’s has been working on a plan to redevelop its Downtown Brooklyn properties since last summer, and YIMBY has unearthed renderings for one proposal. Apparently Brookfield is one of the contenders, and the developer brought on architects Beyer Blinder Belle to design its plans for a parking garage at 11 Hoyt Street and a big Art Deco building at 450-458 Fulton Street (not the flagship Macy’s, which is at 422 Fulton).

Macy’s wants any developer to build a new 300,000-square-foot store or rehabilitate the old flagship at 422 Fulton plus create a small Bloomingdale’s Outlet on Fulton. Under Brookfield’s plan, the garage would become a huge, glassy structure with a Macy’s on the ground floor, a tower of apartments above, and an address at 217 Livingston Street. However, a local family who ran the Young World retail stores still owns part of the Hoyt Street garage, complicating plans for sale or development.

Meanwhile, the landmarked A.I. Namm & Son Department Store would get a facelift, and Macy’s would expand into its base at 450-458 Fulton Street. As far as we know, the building was not mentioned in the original RFP, but it is attached to the 11 Hoyt Street garage. The ground floor is currently a Modell’s.

Presumably, all this moving around would pave the way to sell or redevelop the Macy’s flagship at 422 Fulton into a mixed-use building. (That one is not landmarked, by the way.)

Click through to see the rendering for the old A.I. Namm store building. What do you think of the designs?

First Look: Potential Macy’s Redevelopment at 450-458 Fulton Street, in Downtown Brooklyn [NYY]
Macy’s Shopping Around Brooklyn Properties, Requests Proposals [Brownstoner]
Renderings by Beyer Blinder Belle

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We are excited to bring you the first look inside the nearly completed apartments at 232 Adelphi Street in Fort Greene, the church conversion we have been following for years, where leasing launches Wednesday. We thought the 12 apartments would be condos, but it turns out they are rentals. We don’t have too many details on prices yet, but we do know they will start at $2,995 a month and go up as high as $11,500 a month.

As you can see from the photos above and below, the apartments incorporate lots of original church architecture, such as stained glass windows and vaulted ceilings. Exposed brick lovers will have a field day.

“No two homes at the property are alike or similar to what else is currently on the market in Brooklyn for that matter,” said the press release. The units have open floor plans, high end appliances and finishes, and vaulted steel-beam ceilings.

All the apartments will be duplexes or triplexes, including two studios, four one-bedrooms, four two-bedrooms, and two three-bedrooms. There is also a shared garden in back, and storage in the basement.

The formerly crumbling but landmarked 1888 Gothic Revival structure was saved by the conversion. The exterior was restored with the approval of Landmarks.

Open houses are planned Saturday and Sunday. One of the units has been staged by furniture retailer Lazzoni USA. Listings for the apartments are not yet available online and will go up Wednesday. WIRE International Realty is handling leasing. Scaffolding still shrouded part of the exterior when we stopped by Sunday.

The current owner is Serabjit Singh of Beards LLC, according to public records. The renovation was designed by RSVP Studio and N-Plus Architecture and Design. The interior design is by S.DG Design.

Click through to see lots more photos. What do you think of the design?

232 Adelphi Coverage [Brownstoner]
Interior photos by WIRE International Realty

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The landmarked Brooklyn Lyceum at 227 4th Avenue will become condos. Interestingly, the developer plans to put only two or three luxury units inside the relatively small building — it is 12,200 square feet — but will put up a 12-story rental building next door with as many as 70 apartments, Crain’s reported.

Real estate investment firm Greystone just closed on the Lyceum, which it purchased at auction for $7,600,000 in October, as we reported at the time. It is in the process of buying the empty lot next door at 225 4th Avenue for $13,500,000, Crain’s said.

We had speculated in October the building, a public bathhouse built in 1910, was unlikely to become apartments because there wasn’t enough room for more than a few, unless Landmarks allowed an addition on the roof.

By buying both sites, the developer can transfer about 20,000 square feet of development rights from the Lyceum to the empty lot and build bigger there. Greystone is also planning to restore the exterior of the building.

The developer plans to start construction in the spring and finish early in 2017. Work on the Lyceum will begin whenever Landmarks approves the plans, the firm told Crain’s.

“We’re looking forward to restoring the building,” a Greystone exec told Crain’s. “This is a brownstone neighborhood, so we’re going to try to create something in context with that, inside with the units.”

What do you think of the plans?

Landmarked Brooklyn Lyceum in Park Slope Slated for Condos [Crain's] GMAP
Developer Buys Landmarked Baths on 4th Avenue for $7.6 Million [Brownstoner]

Update: We just received a press release from Greystone, which says 225 4th Avenue will have 68 luxury rentals and 3,500 square feet of stores on the ground floor. Amenities will include a gym, bike storage, and roof deck. RKF is going to be the leasing and sales agent for both buildings.

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We’re happy to report that Historic Districts Council has chosen Crown Heights as one of the six neighborhoods where it will focus its preservation efforts in 2015. As part of its Six to Celebrate program, the Historic Districts Council will help the Crown Heights North Association revive its preservation campaign. Although Crown Heights has two historic districts, some of the neighborhood’s historic buildings are still at risk for development and demolition. Landmarks calendared Crown Heights North Phase III three years ago, but never voted on the expansion.

Another important — and ambitious — Six to Celebrate project is “Landmarks Under Consideration, Citywide.” These are 150 proposed landmarks that are unprotected, 96 of which Landmarks said it would “decalendar” before backing off the plan last year. The Council plans to “document, publicize and conduct community outreach” for all 150 sites to gather support for designation and to help LPC with its backlog. In Brooklyn, the list includes Green-Wood Cemetery, the Lady Moody-Van Sicklen House, and the Forman Building at 183 Broadway.

The Council offers help with research, landmarking, publicity and zoning to community groups in Six to Celebrate, and it hosts walking tours to raise awareness about a chosen neighborhood’s history and architecture.

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Hats off to Times reporter Matt Chaban for his piece yesterday about the sad story of 69 Vanderbilt. The owner, 85-year-old retired lawyer Louis Somma, grew up in the house and lived there among piles of refuse and with a cracked foundation until the city ordered him out in 2009. He has refused offers for as much as $800,000 to buy the house. He is holding out for $3,000,000, he told the Times, but now that the city has demo’d the lot, he believes it may be worth $5,000,000. (In 2013, the renovated twin house next door sold for $1,000,000, and Landmarks rules prevent a building taller than four stories.)

Meanwhile, he owes $120,000 in back taxes, and the city has sold the lien, so if he does not pay, the bank will foreclose, leaving him with nothing.

“It was such a nice house, so full of memories, until Louie filled it up with his junk,” said his youngest sister Marie Brown. “He defies everybody. I still don’t know what he thought was going to happen here.”

An Eyesore, Also a Piece of History, Is Demolished in Brooklyn [NY Times]
69 Vanderbilt Coverage [Brownstoner]
City tax photo below via NY Times

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The city has finished demolishing the mid-19th century wood frame at 69 Vanderbilt Avenue in the Wallabout Historic District, DNAinfo reported. A construction fence went up around the home in August, after the DOB responded to a complaint in June that the house was shaking and leaning. The HPD filed demolition permits to knock down the house in December. The house was still standing when we passed by January 4, although demo may have started earlier.

Preservationists had spent years fighting to save the house, which was built in the Greek Revival style with Italianate details. Wood turner Richard Pease built the home – as well as the much better-maintained twin house next door at 71 Vanderbilt – no later than the summer of 1850, according to the historic district’s designation report, although it could be older.

The LPC decided the building had deteriorated too much, and sued the property owner to demolish it, said DNAinfo. Once the court ruled in favor of the LPC, the city moved forward with demolition. Now the vacant lot is in the process of being sold, according to DNAinfo.

164-Year-Old Landmarked Home Reduced to Rubble in Clinton Hill [DNAinfo]
Closing Bell: City to Demolish Landmarked Greek Revival Wood Frame in Wallabout [Brownstoner]
Photo by Myrtle Avenue Revitalization Project LDC