Bed Stuy’s Controversial “Bulgarian Neo-Goth Super-Villain Crack Lair” Gets a New Look

The Tompkins Avenue facade. Rendering by Fischer + Makooi


Bed Stuy’s most hated new-building plans have been jettisoned for a more conventional but taller design with a grocery store, public documents forwarded by a tipster reveal.

A rendering for an apartment building at 410 Tompkins Avenue provoked outrage in the neighborhood and on private email lists and Facebook groups when it was revealed in 2015. The rendering’s depiction of black birds circling above a dark gray facade with mirrored cracks prompted Brownstoner commenters to dub the building the “Bulgarian Neo-Goth Super-Villain Crack Lair.”

Rendering of 410 Tompkins by architect Charles Mallea

The previous design. Rendering by J Frankl Associates

The design galvanized members of Community Board 3 to draft guidelines for new-building design in the brownstone-heavy neighborhood and set up meetings with developers in the area, which has been booming with construction.

Since then, despite landmarking victories and zoning restrictions, the booming pace of development has changed the character of the neighborhood, as locals and preservationists feared, previously one of the largest areas of intact 19th century row houses in the country. Glassy, boxy apartment buildings now sprout on many blocks, where they typically replace mid-19th-century wood frame buildings on large lots. Thanks to a downzoning some years ago, rows of brownstones on residential streets have been less affected.

Photo by Joe Strini for Property Shark

The site in 2015. Photo by Joe Strini for PropertyShark

New renderings for 410 Tompkins Avenue show a contemporary seven-story mixed-use building with interesting massing and retail on the ground floor. The architect on the renderings is Fischer + Makooi — referring to well-known Brooklyn architect Karl Fischer — although the architect of record on permit applications remains Charles Mallea.

The new and old designs both sport transparent balconies.

The developer, Vasco Ventures, submitted an application for a FRESH food store at 410 Tompkins earlier this month. FRESH stands for Food Retail Expansion to Support Health, and is an initiative by the mayor’s office to promote health in neighborhoods that lack resources or access to fresh and healthy foods.

The new grocery will be a Premier Food Fresh Market. It is required to sell fresh meat, produce and other perishables, in addition to a full line of grocery items, in exchange for giving the developer an additional 6,200 square feet of space, which is the size of the new grocery store.

brooklyn real estate bed stuy 410 tompkins avenue

Hancock Street facade. Rendering by Fischer + Makooi

The new design will have seven stories plus a cellar and be mixed-use, according to the application. Meanwhile, DOB permits still call for a six-story all-residential building.

The building will have parking for 18 cars — remarkably, an elevator “will transport cars to the building’s second story,” the FRESH application reveals.

A new-building permit was first issued in 2015, and was renewed in March. Demolition at the property began in 2015.

brooklyn real estate bed stuy 410 tompkins

Plans by Fischer + Makooi

There did not appear to be any construction at the site in recent months. The four-lot property last changed hands in 2016 for $1 million.

Vasco Ventures is a private real estate investment group based in Midwood. It specializes in acquiring distressed property and estate sales. Its founder and principal is Isay (Izzy) Ildatov. In 2016, one of the principals at the firm, Ephraim Vashovsky, was arrested for alleged tenant harassment, according to reports at the time.

Premier Food Fresh Market appears to have one other store in Brooklyn, on Broadway in Bushwick.

Despite the FRESH program, Bed Stuy is far from a stereotypical inner-city “food desert.” Just down the street from 410 Tompkins Avenue is Chicky’s General Store, a boutique gourmet grocer with prepared foods that opened in 2015. Three blocks away on Fulton Street is Super Foodtown, one of the biggest groceries in the borough.

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