The highly anticipated conversion of the Leverich Towers Hotel into a high-end assisted living facility for seniors in Brooklyn Heights is complete, with residents beginning to move into the revamped historic building.
Located at 25 Clark Street, the 1928 building was one of several grand hotels in the Heights constructed in the early 20th century. Renovation of the the building, which is located in the Brooklyn Heights Historic District and was most recently owned by the Jehovah’s Witnesses and used as a dormitory and cafeteria, began in 2018.
During a recent tour, Brownstoner was able to see much of the the facility, including the massive main dining room with an art gallery in the mezzanine curated by Jennifer Wallace of nAscent Art New York that’s currently exhibiting local artists. There will be a rotating series of exhibitions.
On the same floor, dedicated to entertainment, visitors will find an art studio, movie theater with 16 seats and a popcorn machine, a performance space with a small stage and a Mediterranean restaurant called Gustoso & Family, where chef Kfir Kertes told Brownstoner they would be baking fresh bread, among other dishes, for residents.
There’s also a wellness floor at the Watermark at Brooklyn Heights, with a spa, salon, yoga room, gym and indoor pool.
Many of the historic details on the interior had disappeared. “We saved and restored all the mahogany windows, the frames as well as the sills,” said Richard J. DeMarco of Montroy DeMarco Architecture, the design firm behind the project. “We protected them from day one so we could do all of our work without damaging them.” On the roof terrace, with sweeping views of Brooklyn and beyond, all the furniture was stripped down and preserved. “It was maybe a budgetary move, but it helped keep the character of the building,” DeMarco added.
There are a total of 275 apartments in the building, with 145 designated for independent living, 88 for assisted living and the remaining 42 for memory care. The interiors were designed by Lemay + Escobar. The Tucson, Ariz.-based Watermark Retirement Communities, which runs more than 50 senior communities in the U.S., is the operator, codeveloper and minority owner of the Watermark at Brooklyn Heights. The company collaborated on the development with minority owner Tishman Speyer and majority owner Kayne Anderson Real Estate.
A representative for Watermark said that around 20 percent of the residences have been preleased. The first resident moved in this week, Brownstoner was told, and 32 people are preparing to move in soon.
Rents range from $8,500 to $20,000 per month and units include studios, one-bedrooms and two-bedrooms.
Watermark originally expected to open in March, but the global pandemic upended plans. Since then, according to Rocco Bertini, executive director of the Watermark at Brooklyn Heights, they have been following state and city protocols for operating during the pandemic, as well as a series of additional measures to ensure the safety of future residents. “We want to be cautious,” he said.
A host of safety precautions have been installed, including temperature checks for everybody entering the building, the mandatory wearing of masks, a regular schedule of cleaning and disinfecting the public spaces (including things like pens at the front desk), hand hygiene stations, and the enforcement of distancing measures, including a maximum of two people at any time in confined spaces, such as an elevator.
The shortage of senior living facilities in the borough was highlighted by the controversial closing of Park Slope’s troubled senior assisted living facility Prospect Park Residence, whose owner sold it to a developer who turned it into condos. The shortage of senior care facilities in the borough is due to high property values, the New York Times has reported.
[Photos by Susan De Vries]
- See Inside Brooklyn Heights’ Historic Leverich Towers Hotel, Set to Open to Seniors in March
- Private-Equity Firm Buys Jehovah’s Witnesses’ 21 Clark Street for $200 Million, Plans Senior Housing
- Soaring Property Values Cause Housing Crisis for Brooklyn Seniors
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