Hot Bird-Replacing Skyscraper Tweaked to Play Nice With Landmarked Clinton Hill Church

Rendering by Morris Adjmi Architects via New York Landmarks Preservation Commission

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A 29-story Morris Adjmi-designed skyscraper that will swallow up Hot Bird in Clinton Hill has a new shape, the better to see the landmarked church next to it. The Landmarks Preservation Commission Tuesday approved the revised proposal for 550 Clinton Avenue, which also includes restoring the church.

The new development will share a tax lot with Church of St. Luke & St. Matthew, located down the block at 520 Clinton Avenue. The Romanesque-style church opened in 1891 and was designed by prolific church architect John Welsh.

“This church is beautiful and really needs historic investment,” LPC Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan said. “I’m really pleased with the proposal.”

Commissioner Michael Goldblum also voiced his approval.

brooklyn development 520 clinton avenue

The Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew. Photo by Li-Saltzman Architects via NY Landmarks Preservation Commission

New renderings that were part of the presentation don’t look very different from when the proposal went in front of the LPC in January, but the curve of the side of the building — the “twist” — has been pared back to reveal more of the church. The shorter retail base of the building, which will cover the current site of popular bar Hot Bird, known for its large outdoor area and banning of children, will still rise four stories and 52 feet high.

In January, some of the commissioners had concerns with the way the building would hang over the church. An analysis in the proposal shows the base of the building is now lower than as-of-right development, Srinivasan noted Tuesday.

The developer, Jeffrey Gershon of Hope Street Capital, will transfer 60,000 square feet of air rights from the church to the new development.

brooklyn development 520 clinton avenue

Rendering by Morris Adjmi Architects via NY Landmarks Preservation Commission

Some of the commissioners in January said they were concerned with the planned renovation of the church, which was built in 1891, and a vote of no action was determined. The new proposal calls for a more detailed renovation of the church, or a “retooling.”

Judith Saltzman, an architect who is working on the project, told the commission that they are using Trinity Church in Manhattan and St. Ann’s Church in Brooklyn Heights as models, and that they will be working closely with the preservation architect at Church of St. Luke & St. Matthew.

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