Plans to transform a set of parking garages in Bed-Stuy into apartments and townhouses was approved by the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission, on the second attempt, at a meeting on Tuesday.
The Brookland Capital-developed project consists of two buildings: a three-story carriage house-turned-parking garage at 534 Halsey Street, and a one-story garage building at 524 Halsey Street. The developer wanted to add a two-story addition to the larger building, and demolish the smaller structure, and build a five-story building in its place.
The LPC sent these plans back to the drawing board when the development team appeared before the Commission in March this year. At the time, the LPC felt the design, by architecture firm ROART, was too formulaic, that it did not derive enough from the existing buildings at the site, and that it was too out of scale with the block.
The development team presented several modifications at the meeting on Tuesday. For instance, they removed the fifth floor from the smaller of the two proposed buildings, and set back the fourth floor considerably so it wouldn’t easily be visible from Halsey Street.
Previously the Commission had also expressed their hesitation over the bulkheads on the larger of the two buildings, and this time around the design team proposed to push the bulkheads more inward to prevent visibility from the street. In terms of incorporating elements from the existing structure, the design team decided to use sandstone and brownstone on the ground floor infill, to match the existing striation.
Despite all the changes the developers had introduced, many local residents remained unhappy. Brooklyn Community Board 3 rejected the revised application, and additionally, the LPC received letters from local residents urging the Commission not to approve the project as is. The Commission did however receive three letters of support from local residents who praised the changes in the design.
In the end, the Commission appreciated most of the changes that had been introduced. Some commissioners asked that the developers consider incorporating more of elements of the existing structures (the larger of the two was built in 1904), and Commissioner Michael Goldblum suggested either reducing the size or entirely removing the balconies facing Macon Street. Regardless, the project did pass muster with the LPC on the second attempt.
We’ve reached out to the LPC for a full list of changes the Commission requested with the latest proposal, and we will update this post as soon as we have the information.