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Wood and brick Federal-style homes were among the first to be built in Brooklyn Heights, beginning in the 1820s. The oldest houses in the Heights still standing today were built in this decade.

The longest standing Brooklyn Heights houses reside on Willow, Hicks and Middagh streets. One of these is 84 Willow Street, which was listed in the first city directory of 1822, indicating that it is at least that old. A house at 68 Hicks Street was also listed in the 1822 directory.

In 1824, three more houses were built that are still standing today. These are 43 Willow Street, 30 Middagh Street and  24 Middagh Street. Conveniently, a plaque on 30 Middagh Street’s façade displays its year of construction. (more…)

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Another revamped retail space in a landmarked building in Stuy Heights is ready for a tenant. The second retail space at 616 Halsey Street, in the rear of the building at the corner of Malcolm X, had been closed up for decades.

Developer Weissman Equities opened it up again and renovated the interior and exterior, with Landmarks approval. The liquor store on the corner is staying, and the vintage-style exterior lights outside the apartment entrance are new. (more…)

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Brooklyn City Council members Brad Lander and Stephen Levin have joined with the Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and one other City Council member in sponsoring a bill that would speed the landmark review process. The process would move online with a public database showing all actions taken by the Landmark Preservation Commission and the ability to submit applications for landmarks online, according to a story in The Real Deal.

The bill would also require the LPC to respond more quickly, with a 90-day limit for feedback on applications for individual landmarks and 180 days for proposed historic districts. “Unresolved” cases would have to be jettisoned after five years. (more…)

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Big news: The original cement facade of the Coignet Building, not been seen in decades, is now visible at the corner of 3rd Avenue and 3rd Street. The uppermost story of netting that has shrouded the landmark at 360 3rd Avenue in Gowanus for about a year as it undergoes restoration came down sometime in the last few days. We snapped these photos yesterday as we were passing through the area.

The red brick veneer applied sometime in the mid-20th century has been removed, per the restoration plans. It looks to us as though the restorers are planning to add a top coat of cement to finish and seal the exterior. Perhaps this explains why some of the netting has been removed.

The historic restoration of this landmark is certainly not finished, as more photos below reveal. The front stoop has greatly deteriorated in the last year, since the scaffolding went up — perhaps a result of this unusually snowy winter.

Whole Foods, which is handling the restoration as part of a deal to build its adjacent store, is also stabilizing the interior. Click through to see behind the fence.

Coignet Building Coverage [Brownstoner]

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Whole Foods’ restoration of the crumbling landmark next door known as the Coignet Building is well under way, although almost nothing can be discerned under the netting. When we stopped by 360 3rd Avenue in Gowanus last year, we could see that almost all of the red brick facade — not original to the building and not staying — had been removed, save a small strip or so.

When we stopped by again Thursday, we found this rendering posted on the fence. A little bit of the exterior was also visible through a gap in the netting.

Whole Foods got going on the project after being fined twice by Landmarks twice for failure to maintain the structure, which was one of the first all-concrete buildings in the U.S. Click through to see the construction project shrouded in netting.

Coignet Building Coverage [Brownstoner]

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The long-empty and neglected Ridgewood Masonic Temple — it’s on Bushwick Avenue in Bushwick, despite the name — is going to become apartments. In January, the developer filed plans for an addition and conversion to 28 apartments at at 1054 Bushwick Avenue, The Brooklyn Eagle reported. Nataliya Donskoy of ND Architecture and Design is the architect of record. (more…)

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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]