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Preservationists push for new Prospect Heights historic district

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The proposed district includes 82 century-old apartment buildings 

Brooklyn's Eastern Parkway
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The Historic Districts Council (HDC) has thrown its weight behind a grassroots effort to establish a landmark district encompassing more than 80 historic apartment houses of Prospect Heights. The organization has selected the "Prospect Heights Apartment House District" as one of its Six to Celebrate neighborhoods for 2018.

In Prospect Heights, local preservationists have pushed to landmark these apartment buildings erected between 1909 and 1929, roughly bounded by Eastern Parkway to the south, Sterling and St. John’s places to the north, Washington Avenue to the east, and Plaza Street East to the west, according to the Brooklyn Paper.

This collection of buildings is located just off Grand Army Plaza, a landmark in and of itself. Buildings like Copley Plaza and Turner Towers—in revivalist design styles such as Beaux Arts and Tudor—mirrored the co-op buildings erected on Park Avenue. One of the attractions, however, was that apartments in Brooklyn costed less.

Some buildings, like Turner Towers at 135 Eastern Parkway, are 15 stories tall—the highest allowed under current zoning laws. But the vast majority top out between four and seven stories. Local preservationists feel those shorter buildings might be eyed for redevelopment, hence the push to create a historic district.

This isn’t the first landmarking campaign for the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council. PHNDC members successfully advocated for a Prospect Heights Historic District that protects the townhouses of the neighborhood, located just a few blocks away, in 2009.

That successful landmarking effort is a big part of why the Historic Districts Council chose to support the neighborhood group’s latest preservation push, according to the Brooklyn Paper. “They have a track record and a really good membership, so it was really a no-brainer,” Barbara Zay, manager of preservation and research at HDC, told the publication. “We’re looking forward to see this come to fruition. I think they have a really good case.”