Apartment Tower With Affordable Housing Could Replace Jitterbug-Era Bank in Brighton Beach

Image via Gerald J. Caliendo

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A developer is looking to tear down a petite Chase Bank building in Brighton Beach to make way for a much bigger and taller apartment building along Coney Island Avenue, according to land use filings. The complex, slated for 1002 Brighton Beach Avenue, would house 156 apartments — including affordable units — as well as office and commercial space.

The project will first require a rezoning via the city’s public review process, known as ULURP, which usually takes about seven months to complete. The developer, Queens-based Platinum Realty Associates, submitted a land-use rezoning application and environmental review to City Planning in December, but the public review process has not yet started.

If all goes according to plan, the 14-story complex will open in 2024, according to the application.

The developer is seeking to change the property’s existing R6/C1-2 and R7-1/C2-4 zoning to C4-4D zoning, which will allow them to build bigger and taller. If the rezoning is approved, the developer will be compelled to include affordable housing under the city’s Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program (one of a myriad of affordable housing programs that exist in New York City).

For a spot rezoning such as this one, the exact details of the affordable housing offered will depend on which of the four MIH options the developer selects. The outcome can be influenced by the public review process and the local City Council member (in this case, Chaim Deutsch). The developer intends to include 39 to 47 affordable units under either Option 1 or Option 2, according to the application, with units potentially earmarked for occupants with incomes ranging from 40 percent to 130 percent of AMI, or $38,440 to $133,120 for a family of three.

Currently, southern Brooklyn lags behind the rest of the borough and city in building income-targeted housing, with high-rise buildings sprouting up across the northern parts of Brooklyn and Queens, the southern half of the Bronx, and parts of Manhattan.

lincoln savings bank at 1002 brighton beach avenue

The Lincoln Savings Bank at 1002 Brighton Beach Avenue when it opened in 1942. Photo via Brooklyn Daily Eagle photographs, Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn Collection

The proposed building would contain retail space on the ground floor with entrances from both avenues, and the second floor would house space for offices, all of which would be covered in a modern, glassy facade. (The available renderings show only the massing of the building, not the design.)

Under the building, residents and visitors could park inside a garage with 110 parking spots and 79 spots for bikes.

Although the site is in a flood zone, which normally requires building above ground level, the developers will take special flood proofing measures to allow them to build underground to improve the building’s appearance and make it pedestrian friendly at street level, the environmental review said.

Other similarly sized apartment buildings already exist on the busy avenue, the review noted.

One local activist said that while the neighborhood needs more affordable housing, particularly for seniors, the new building could come at the expense of some historic local architecture.

“It’s a wonderful…institution in a neighborhood generally lacking in interesting architectural features,” said Craig Hammerman, a Brighton Beach resident and the former district manager of Park Slope’s community board. “Inside the bank there are some wonderful old murals.”

1002 brighton beach avenue proposal

Image via Gerald J. Caliendo

The one-story building opened in 1942 as one of the branches of the Lincoln Savings Bank, a certificate of occupancy and contemporary newspaper accounts show. It joined other branches in Bay Ridge and Flatbush. Designed by architect Adolph Goldberg, the Art Moderne-style building has an interesting faceted shape and tall windows with steel muntins. It was built “in the Modern American type of architecture,” newspaper The Brooklyn Citizen said when it debuted.

A mural on the interior, entitled “Nation’s Homage to the Memory of Lincoln,” was designed by Goldberg and painted by A. Lincoln Cooper and Robert Gaston Herbert. It depicts Abraham Lincoln greeting a diverse crowd of people from different cultures. The building was listed as not eligible for the National Register in a 2018 survey, according to New York State Historic Preservation’s Cultural Resource Information System database.

The site in 2007. Photo by Kate Leonova for PropertyShark

The building’s destruction would displace the Brighton Neighborhood Association, a community advocacy group that has been active for nearly 50 years.

“We’ve been here for 44 years, since 1977,” said Pat Singer, the president of the association and a member of Community Board 13. Since rents have skyrocketed in Brighton Beach, Singer said she was unsure where the association would land next. “It’s kind of heartbreaking to think about it.”

The potential closure of the site’s Chase Bank branch during the tower’s construction comes as Coney Island grapples with a lack of full-service banks, but Hammerman said that plenty of banks lie on the Brighton Beach side, meaning the branch most likely won’t be missed.

“There are two full service Chase banks at this intersection,” he said. “Maybe Chase would consider opening a full service branch in Coney Island where it’s sorely needed.”

The tower is just one of several residential buildings rising across the peninsula, which has seen a boom of real estate interest in recent years. On the other side of Surf Avenue in Coney Island, billionaire John Catsimatidis has built a two-tower luxury development called Ocean Drive with potentially three more towers on the way, and across the street from Gargiulo’s, a luxury developer is building a 26-story building that spans almost the entire block. — Additional reporting by Susan De Vries and Cate Corcoran

Editor’s note: A version of this story originally ran in Brooklyn Paper. Click here to see the original story.

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