Landmarks Approves Demolition and New Construction in Greenpoint HD

Rendering of the new building at171 Calyer Street, with a red line indicating the change in height from the previous proposal. Image Credit: NYC LPC

Landmarks approved the demolition and new construction on the condition that applicants fine-tune design details with the Commission. On September 15, 2020, the Landmarks Preservation Commission approved a certificate of appropriateness for the demolition and construction of a new commercial building at 171 Calyer Street, in the Greenpoint Historic District of Brooklyn.

The Greenpoint Historic District developed with the rise of industry in Brooklyn, which is reflected in the District’s variety of building types and building styles, including commercial buildings, worker’s houses, flat houses, and row houses. The buildings were all designed with popular architectural styles between 1850 and 1900.

In 1907, 171 Calyer Street was home to Greenpoint Theater, which was demolished in the 1950s and replaced by two taxpayer buildings. As multiple commissioners noted, there has always been a commercial presence at this site, including a supermarket and a gym. The current building on the site was built in 1960.

On February 11, 2020, the Commission expressed support for the demolition of the building, but most Commissioners expressed concerns about the height, cladding, and materials that were going to be used on the new building’s facade. The applicants altered the design, and presented the new plan on September 15.

The applicants modified the building design by reducing the building height, and eliminating facade materials and designs that would clash with the adjoining buildings on the block. In the previously presented plan, the building would be seven stories, a bulkhead space, and  monochromatic brick. The new plan removed the seventh floor, and reduced the sixth floor to include the bulkhead at the top of the fifth floor. Additionally, the brickwork on the façade will have some masonry design details, which the Commission will help to plan.

The Calyer Street side of the building will have larger paired windows, and the Lauramer Street side of the building will have smaller windows, to assimilate with the other buildings on each street. The base of the building will have grey granite, and a mix of warm red bricks. The storefront will have a darker, brown and grey window framing.

Landmarks Chair Sarah Carroll suggested approval with modifications, as long as the new plans would not diminish the existing architectural structure and that the building would harmonize with the existing buildings in the area. The Commission approved the certificate, on the condition that the applicants continue to work with the Commission staff to develop certain details, including the finishes of the storefront, and some patterns in the brickwork.

By: Victoria Agosta (Victoria is the CityLaw intern and a New York Law School student, Class of 2022.)


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