Salvation Army Sells Francis Kimball’s Clinton Hill Gem to Developers for $28.5 Million

Photo by Susan De Vries

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A long-rumored sale of an obscure but striking Clinton Hill building by a celebrated 19th century architect has gone through. While DOB records seem to show Francis Kimball’s 1899 Venetian-style warehouse is unlikely to survive the development of the site into apartments, new information from the project’s lender implies the building may be preserved after all — fantastic news for the neighborhood and Brooklyn.

After years of rumors 22 Quincy Street was in contract, the sale closed in December for $28.5 million. The Salvation Army had owned the property since 1941.

The new owners are an LLC named Quincy Street Investors LLC, which shares a Coney Island address with developer Loketch Group. Well-known developer Slate Property Group also appears to be involved, filings at the Department of Buildings indicate. (In March, the company declined to comment.)

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A zoning diagram shows the planned new rental building at 10 Downing Street. Image via New York City Department of Buildings

The building was originally built as a distribution center for tony Brooklyn department store Frederick Loeser & Company, complete with stables on the ground floor. With stripes, arches, and other decorative details in brown and orange brick, it is a beautiful and unusual building that combines the American Romanesque Revival factory style with the Venetian Gothic and anticipates early 20th century modern architecture.

You have to look up to see it, because the ground floor exterior is covered in paint and metal rolling doors and has taken on a workaday, industrial appearance, although the building is remarkably intact.

City documents show the developers plan to build a new 41-unit apartment building with underground parking on the western end of the property and alter and convert a portion of the structure on the eastern side into 46 apartments.

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The building in 2018

Developers Loketch Group and Meral Property Group plan to construct 90 homes on the site, including condos in the existing building and 41 rentals in a brand-new one, mortgage lender S3 Capital Partners told the Commercial Observer earlier this month. The Observer story implies only the interior of the existing building will be altered, although that seems unlikely, based on the DOB documents.

The address of the existing building will be known as 26 Quincy Street and the new building will be 10 Quincy Street. No permits have yet been issued, according to the DOB website, but work should begin soon and could wrap as early as 2021, according to the Observer.

The inclusion of rentals makes affordable housing at the site more likely. Adaptive reuse of historic buildings can make luxury condo projects even more desirable and valuable than new construction, as the history of 4 Downing Street across the street (Broken Angel), 200 Water Street in Dumbo, and The Standish and Brooklyn Trust Company in Brooklyn Heights have shown.

The sale closed on December 30 and hit public records Tuesday morning.

Kimball, one of New York City’s foremost 19th century architects, also designed the Emanuel Baptist Church in Clinton Hill, the Montauk Club in Park Slope, the Loeser store in Downtown Brooklyn, and early skyscrapers in Manhattan.

The Clinton Hill warehouse, which is not landmarked, operated as a thrift store and distribution facility by the Salvation Army for decades before closing last year. Tucked away and nearly forgotten, the architecturally significant building is tucked away on a little known yet storied street. This was a sleepy corner for decades. Across the street is what was once the Broken Angel. New developments have popped up next to it and on the site of what was once a Borden Milk Company factory at 15 Quincy, now affordable housing.

[Photos by Susan De Vries]

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