All the windows are in and some of the original brickwork on the ground floor has been uncovered for the first time in decades at the former home of the Brooklyn Heights Cinema.
Three stories of condos are being built on top of the landmarked one-story building, located at 70 Henry Street at the edge of the Brooklyn Heights Historic District. Constructed in 1895 to house a butcher shop, the building has been altered over the years and its original appearance is mystery.
Pains have been taken to preserve some of the original material that is left — and to make the new addition visually distinct from the original building. The building’s new look closely resembles the rendering.
The white paint that covered the brick for decades is gone, bricked-over windows have been opened and glazed, and the tops of original brick columns can now be seen peeking over the green construction fence. Two courses of original brick joining the windows (a section currently hidden behind the construction fence) were removed to make the windows bigger on the second floor, according to CityLand.
Glimpses from the street show interior work proceeding on the upper floors. Electric wiring is in place, and workers are closing up open walls with drywall. Sales for the five condos launched last year, and construction is expected to wrap this year.
Building on top of the original structure was controversial, and Brooklyn Heights Association member Judy Stanton argued at the 2015 hearing the addition would overwhelm and obscure the original building. The commissioners found it “appropriate” and approved the addition later that year.
The building’s longtime owner had planned to demolish the building altogether and build a five-story structure with condos above the cinema, but the proposal went before the LPC twice and seemed to be stalled, with no action taken. In 2014, he sold the building to developers Madison Estates and JMH Development for $7.5 million.
The new developer is Mettle Property Group and the architect is Morris Adjmi, best known for Williamsburg’s Wythe Hotel. Brooklyn Heights Cinema owner Kenn Lowy planned to relocate and reopen but could not find an affordable space.
[Photos by Susan De Vries unless noted otherwise]
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- Kenn Lowy on the Once and Future Brooklyn Heights Cinema