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Bed-Stuy parking garage conversion is snarled by Landmarks

The commission did not approve plans to convert the site into five stories of apartments

Rendering of Halsey Street proposed development ROART via YIMBY

Brookland Capital’s plans to convert a Bed-Stuy parking garage into apartments has hit a minor snag: according to YIMBY, the Landmarks Preservation Commission has disapproved of the developer’s plans.

The company paid $8.2 million for the former Expert Transit Corp. location at 524-540 Halsey Street, between Lewis and Stuyvesant avenues, last year, DNAInfo reported. The site currently houses two buildings: The three-story carriage house-turned-parking garage, which was designed by Axel S. Hedman and dates back to 1904, and a one-story garage, also built in the 20th century. As part of the Bedford Stuyvesant/expanded Stuyvesant Heights Historic District, both buildings fall under the purview of the LPC.

The conversion plan, designed by NYC-based design firm ROART and presented to the LPC on Tuesday, called for the larger parking garage to be renovated and expanded from three stories to five stories. The smaller building, meanwhile, would be demolished completely, and then replaced with a recessed five-story construction that would contain a mix of townhouses and apartments.

The three-story garage as it stands along Halsey Street now.
Property Shark

This was, at most, the plan: The LPC decline to approve Brookland’s existing application, noting a number of problems with the current proposal. Among the commissioners’ concerns: That the proposed project would be out of scale for the block, that the current design was “too formulaic,” that the plans were implausibly ambitious, and that the plans didn’t draw on the building’s original materials.

Neighborhood residents attending the meeting echoed those concerns, taking issue with the building’s height and lack of historic character. The Historic Districts Council, too, came out against the current plan, arguing that there is “no precedent” for a five-story building on the block, and that if one were to be built, it would be out of context.

In the end, the LPC took no action, which means Brookland will have to make changes—most likely including coming up with a shorter design—to get the project green-lit.