Landmarks Approves Revised Plans for Office Building in DUMBO

Revised rendering of proposed office building at 29-37 Jay Street in DUMBO, Brooklyn. Image Credit: LPC/Marvel Architects

The revised plans for the building show much thicker masonry as was suggested by Landmarks at previous hearing. On November 13, 2018, the Landmarks Preservation Commission voted to approve a certificate of appropriateness for the proposed demolition of an existing warehouse at 29-37 Jay Street and construction of a new 11-story office building, at the corner of Jay and Plymouth Streets within the DUMBO historic district in Brooklyn. The applicant team, represented by architect Jonathan Marvel, presented the revised plans for the building after listening to Landmarks Commissioners input at the hearing on September 25, 2018. To read CityLand coverage of the prior hearing, click here.

The September 25, 2018 hearing concluded with the majority of Commissioners favoring demolition of the existing two-story warehouse, as it was not deemed a contributing building to the special architectural or historic character of the DUMBO historic district. While the Commissioners found the proposed 11-story office building to be an appropriate building for DUMBO for its proposed size and streetwall height, the building’s high glass-to-masonry ratio did not bode well with the Commissioners.

At the November 13, 2018 hearing, Marvel presented revised plans for the proposed building which demonstrated a very similar overall building design but with the building boasting much thicker glass reinforced concrete paneling throughout, smaller window openings and thicker mullions. The new design also showed the window glass set much further back in its frame for all windows of the building.

Landmarks received one letter from a member of the DUMBO community expressing opposition to the revised plans.

Landmarks unanimously voted to approve the new design based on several findings, some of which are outlined here. First, Landmarks found that the plane of the front façade of the building will align with neighboring properties, which will help the new building to remain harmonious with its context. Second, Landmarks found that the cast masonry of the façade cladding would be consistent with the reinforced concrete and steel structures of the district, in terms of materiality, color and finish. Third, Landmarks found that the solid-to-window ratio of the facades was in keeping with the character of other buildings in the historic district.

Vice Chair Frederick Bland voiced full support for the building with the proposed changes, stating that the building now truly belonged in DUMBO while retaining its distinguishing qualities. Chair Sarah Carroll agreed, saying that the building has fully realized its original intent to fit within the district while maintaining the architect’s design philosophy.


By: Viktoriya Gray (Viktoriya is the CityLaw Fellow and New York Law School Graduate, Class of 2018).


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