Courthouse and bank in Queens designated

Queens General Court

Supporters claimed that buildings needed protection after City approved Jamaica rezoning in 2007. On October 26, 2010, Landmarks designated the Jamaica Savings Bank and the Queens General Courthouse as individual landmarks. Both buildings were subjects of public hearings on February 9, 2010, and received broad support from the community and preservationists, who argued that the area’s historic buildings needed protection after the City rezoned the area in 2007.

Constructed in 1939, the onestory Moderne-style Jamaica Savings Bank at 146-21 Jamaica Avenue features limestone cladding and a polished granite base. The Morrell Smith-designed building retains much of its original ornamentation, including decorative entablature bands and an eagle above the castbronze entrance doors. At the hearing, representatives of the building’s owner, Capital One, opposed designation. Capitol One’s attorney, Thomas Wassel, conceded that the bank was “a beautiful building,” but stated that landmarking would be “an infringement, and an inconvenience at best” on the future operations of the bank. The Historic District Council’s Ed Kirkland commended Landmarks for surveying the neighborhood’s historic resources following the 2007 “upzoning.”

Landmarks voted unanimously to designate, with Commissioner Diana Chapin calling attention to the bank’s materials and detailing. Commissioner Christopher Moore noted that the bank was “a real anchor in this community.”

The Queens General Courthouse, at 88-11 Sutphin Boulevard, was built in the Modern Classical style in the late 1930s through a combination of City and Federal Public Work Administration funds. Designed by Queens-based architect Alfred H. Eccles and William W. Knowles, the limestone-clad courthouse’s prominent elements include a two-and-one-half-story colonnaded portico, ornamented relief panels, and balconies with balustrades. At the February hearing, the Department of Citywide Administrative Services’ Mitchell Paluszak called the building “one of the jewels” of the agency’s portfolio. Landmarks unanimously approved the designation.

LPC: Jamaica Savings Bank, 146- 21 Jamaica Ave., Queens (LP-2393); Queens General Courthouse, 88-11 Sutphin Blvd., Queens (LP-2404) (Oct. 26, 2010).

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