Modern Storefront Replaces Historic One in Cobble Hill, Former Home of BookCourt


Gone is the quaint and historic storefront that stood at 161 Court Street, once the home of BookCourt, for more than a century.

In its place is a new, modern one. The brick building has been painted gray to disguise the difference between the old brick on the upper levels and the new facade on the first floor. Otherwise, the upper stories are largely untouched and the cornice remains, yet it doesn’t look like the same building.

book court

Next door at 163 Court Street, a rare wood frame built as a store circa 1842-50, it’s hard to tell what is going on behind the green construction fence and scaffolding.

Also previously home to BookCourt and part of the same development, it’s going to get a vertical additional as well as a rear one, nearly doubling the height of the existing building. To date, the addition does not seem to have risen very far.

Photo by Exr

Photo by Exr

Charles Mallea is the architect, who has emerged as a fairly prolific designer of mid-size apartment buildings in Brooklyn.

In business since 1981, beloved and iconic literary hub BookCourt closed in December 2016, after the owners decided to retire and sell the buildings to developer Eastern Capital for $13.6 million. The buildings stand just outside the historic district.

book court

The storefronts in 2016

Listings went up in August for apartments for rent on the upper floors of 161 Court Street, revealing renovated interiors. The listings show standard kitchens open to the main living space, balconies off the back of the building, large bedrooms, and bathrooms with hex tile and wood accent walls.

brooklyn book court

The buildings in 2017

[Photos by Susan De Vries unless otherwise noted]

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