Modern Facade Unveiled at Former BookCourt Home in Cobble Hill

Photo by Susan De Vries


Gone is the quaint 19th century clapboard structure that once housed Cobble Hill’s BookCourt. With netting and scaffolding down, the still unfinished facade has been revealed.

A walk past the site at 163 Court Street last week showed the upper stories of the four-story building have a plain gray stucco above a storefront that is not yet complete. There’s an iron railing at the pediment and a significant setback for the bulkhead. Still to be completed, according to a drawing posted on the construction fence, are balconies on the upper levels. The mixed-use building will have a commercial space at street level and six residential units above, filings show.

brooklyn cobble hill court street

court street cobble hill former bookcourt space

When the Cobble Hill bookstore closed in December 2016, the owners sold 161 and 163 Court Street to Eastern Capital for $13.6 million, and initial applications for building permits were filed that same month. The architect of record for renovations at both buildings is Charles Mallea, who has emerged as a fairly prolific designer of mid-size apartment buildings in Brooklyn.

Work next door at 161 Court Street was finished in 2019, including the replacement of the wooden storefront with modern glass and stucco. Suit maker Indochino opened in the space last year. Next door at No. 163, work progressed a bit more slowly. A walk past the site in February showed it still under netting.

brooklyn development bookcourt cobble hill 163 court street

The building in 2017

The original three-story wooden home and store was probably built between 1842 and 1850, according to a report by Columbia University preservation graduate student Mayssa Jallad. One of the few remaining wood frames of its age in the area — and possibly the only one built as a store — it was in remarkably good condition and contained a wealth of historic detail inside and out.

cobble hill court street

The site in February

drawing of 163 court street

A drawing posted on the construction fence in 2019

[Photos by Susan De Vries]

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