Vacant since the 1960s, new owners would construct Italianate-style rowhouse on historic district site. On August 18, 2015, the Landmarks Preservation Commission considered an application to construct a new four-story rowhouse on a vacant lot at 145 Gates Avenue in the Clinton Hill Historic District. The lot, at the corner of Grand Avenue, at one point hosted an 1800s masonry rowhouse similar to others still standing on the block, but it was demolished in the 1960s, prior to the district’s designation.
Architect Belkis Caicedo, of the firm Gerald J Caliendo, presented the plan for the proposed residential building, primarily clad in red brick, which would serve as a one-family dwelling. The rowhouse would be designed in an Italianate style, a common style among the district’s historic rowhouses, in order to conform and integrate with the rest of the block. The new building’s wooden cornice and windows would replicate and align with those of the existing rowhouses on Gates Avenue. The facades would feature large two-over-two windows on the upper stories, and four-over-four windows on the rusticated cast-stone base. The long sidewall on Grand Avenue would feature a projecting bay window at the second floor. A black steel gate that would front the property on both Gates and Grand Avenue, and continue up the steps as railings, would be designed similarly to historic 19th century wrought ironwork common to the district.
Off-street parking would be available through a curb cut on Grand Avenue, next to the neighboring property line. Some aspects of the rear facade, also clad in brick, would be partially visible from street vantages when plants are not in foliage, including a basement access door unique on the block.
Caicedo said the development would return the block to its 1930s condition as a row of masonry buildings.
The Historic Districts Council’s Barbara Zay found the historic style an appropriate course for the site’s development, but said the historical qualities of the angled bay window on Grand Avenue should be revised.
Landmarks Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan stated that Brooklyn Community Board 2 had issued a resolution recommending approval of the project.
Commissioner Michael Devonshire determined that the “wimpy” bay window on the sidewall could be made more appropriate, and added that he was comfortable leaving oversight of revisions to Landmarks staff.
Chair Srinivasan praised the design, but asked the applicants to work with Landmarks staff on refining the bay window’s design. Srinivasan then led a unanimous vote for approval
LPC: 145 Gates Avenue, Brooklyn (14-5362) (Aug. 18, 2015) (Architects: Gerald J. Caliendo Architects).
By: Jesse Denno (Jesse is a full-time staff writer at the Center for NYC Law)