Landmarks Approves New Three Story Residential Building in Bedford-Stuyvesant/Expanded Stuyvesant Heights HD

Rendering of Proposed Building at 358 Malcolm X Blvd./Image Credit: Gerald J. Caliendo Architects and LPC

The building’s ground-floor storefront design was inspired by the commercial storefronts seen on the block. On June 9, 2020, the Landmarks Preservation Commission voted to issue a binding report for the construction of a new three-story residential building on a vacant lot located at 358 Malcolm X Boulevard, Brooklyn. The vacant lot is located within the Bedford-Stuyvesant/Expanded Stuyvesant Heights Historic District. The proposal is part of a Department of Housing and Preservation Development affordable housing project and the building will be used as a three-family dwelling.

The new building will rise to a height of about 87 feet. The front facade will be made from beige brick. On the ground floor, the windows have a storefront like design. At the public hearing, Laura Samlal, project manager for Gerald J. Caliendo Architects, stated that the project architect used a storefront-like design for the ground floor facade to blend the building in with the streetscape. She noted that the buildings on the block have commercial storefronts on the ground floor. The entry door will be recessed about one foot from the property line. Samlal explained that this was to mimic the neighboring store entrances. The doors and windows will be decorated with wood trim with decorative details. There will be a gray fiberglass cornice that lines the top of the ground floor facade. There are three double-hung windows that will span the front facade of the second and third floors. The windows will be detailed with black aluminum-clad wood and will have marble gray sills and lintels. There will be a black fiberglass cornice with decorative details that lines the top of the building. The building’s side and rear facades will be made from gray cement stucco. On the rear facade, the proposed design has two double-hung windows on each story.

The building’s proposed design was inspired by the elements found within the Bedford-Stuyvesant/Expanded Stuyvesant Heights Historic District. The historic district, which consists of approximately 825 buildings, is predominantly characterized by late-19th century row houses and small apartment buildings with commercial storefronts. Malcolm X Boulevard consists of four-story residential buildings with ground-floor commercial storefronts and are mostly built in the Renaissance Revival, Altered Italianate, and Arts and Crafts architectural styles. The buildings on the block have design details such as rock-faced sills and lintels that detail the windows, molded cornices with scrolled modillions, and brick facades.

At the public hearing, Evelyn Collier, a representative of Brooklyn Community Board 3, testified on behalf of the board. Collier stated that the community board supports the new building and welcomes the use of vacant lots for affordable housing. However, the board has several concerns with the building’s design which include the architect’s use of stucco instead of brick for the rear and side facades, the color of the ground floor cornice not matching the cornice at the top of the building, and the proportions of the windows in the rear facade.

The Commissioners generally agreed that the proposed building design was appropriate for the historic district; however, they believed that the applicant should work to refine details and address the concerns brought by Brooklyn Community Board 3. Vice Chair Frederick Bland also stated that the applicant should refine the ground floor windows to make it closely resemble a storefront as much as possible and Commissioner Everado Jefferson believed that there should be three windows at each story on the rear facade instead of two.

Landmarks Chair Sarah Carroll stated that in general, the building reads as a historic rowhouse and the ground floor storefront design relates to the commercial storefronts of the street. She noted that stucco is used in other facades within the district and it is appropriate for the rear facade since the facade’s visibility from the street is limited. She stated that the applicants need to work with staff to refine the details to make the building more contextual to the historic district.

The Commissioners unanimously voted to issue the binding report.


By: May Vutrapongvatana (May is the CityLaw Fellow and New York Law School Graduate, Class of 2019).

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