Saturday, March 16, 2013
A crap above: Brooklyn edition
From The View From Wyckoff Heights:
Despite the history of blockbusting, arson, vandalism, and neglect, many Bushwick tenements have survived relatively intact. But with growing demand for real estate in north Bushwick and south Ridgewood along the L train line, how will historic buildings fare at the hands of developers?
Very few of these buildings - which date to the late 1800’s and early 1900’s - are landmarked (and only in Ridgewood). There are several National Historic Districts (mostly in Ridgewood) but they do not afford protection, only incentives for preservation.
Some old-timers refer to parts of north Bushwick along the borough line as “Ridgewood Brooklyn”, but despite the architectural similarities developers and investors currently seem to be favoring buildings on the Brooklyn side, where most residential blocks are zoned R6 and have excess FAR. The Queens side by contrast is zoned R6B, which has a lower FAR and mandatory Quality Housing regulations that promote preservation of the streetscape.
204 Starr Street, a three-story six-family building between Wyckoff and Irving, sold in September 2012 for $773,000 to a SSH Realty Management of Williamsburg. The new owner has removed the cornice and is constructing a rooftop addition.
DOB records last week showed job applications for interior renovation but not a vertical enlargement, and noted a prior violation for work without a permit. I contacted the architect who responded that he was not aware that the cornice had been removed, and that its removal and the rooftop addition were not his design. Emails sent to the owner seeking more information were not returned, but a PAA was filed the next day for the 4th floor addition.
Just down the block is 390 Stanhope St, a 2-1/2 story three-family building, also part of the Cypress Avenue West National Historic District. The property sold last year to a DUMBO-based developer for $475,000.
The new owner has expressed plans to buy out the tenants and add two additional stories, but to date nothing has been filed with the Department of Buildings.