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Biz alliance honors builders • Brooklyn Paper

Biz alliance honors builders

Big reach: The libations flowed at the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce’s annual Building Brooklyn Awards at Weylin B. Seymour’s in the old Williamsburgh Savings Bank building on Broadway.
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

Brooklyn is building momentum.

That was the message at the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce’s 14th annual Building Brooklyn Awards on Wednesday night, which recognized development projects that have had a major impact on the neighborhoods around them. The projects are at the cutting edge of Brooklyn’s build-up, the business-boosting group’s president said.

Bank-uet hall: The newly restored Williamsburgh Savings Bank building hosted the soiree.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

“They’re building new, they’re preserving and renovating, and they are investing in our neighborhoods, creating jobs, and expanding our economy,” Carlo Scissura said. “The designs and projects we recognized with a Building Brooklyn Award are the vanguard of that effort.”

The awards honored new developments and renovations. The chamber hosted the ceremony inside one of the winners — the Williamsburgh Savings Bank headquarters’ high-end event space called Weylin B. Seymour’s, which is new this year. Restoration of that 139-year-old landmarked building, on Broadway between Bedford and Driggs avenues in Williamsburg, scored a nod for best historic preservation.

'Shake'-ing things up: The Shakespearean playhouse Theatre for a New Audience is the borough's best cultural venue, according to the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.
Francis Dzikowski

Theatre for a New Audience took home the arts and culture award for its new home on Ashland Place in Fort Greene, which theater management says is the first Shakespearean playhouse in the city since the one at Lincoln Center in Manhattan was built in the 1960s. The new building is the company’s first solid address after 35 years of performing around town, wherever they could secure an open slot, according to a theater honcho.

“We’re thrilled to have the achievement of moving into our first home in 35 years,” said managing director Dorothy Ryan. “This award is not just an honor for the design of the building. It’s Brooklyn embracing us.”

Lofty loos: The Coney Island comfort stations drew the ire of some well-off neighbors, but got the opposite response from the Chamber's critics.

Not all the award winners were for such glamorous facilities — a public bathroom and a recycling center also scored high marks.

The futuristic, elevated comfort stations along the Coney Island Boardwalk may have prompted protests and a lawsuit from residents of a tony condo complex overlooking them, but the Brooklyn Chamber is a fan, bestowing them the landscape and open space award. The mammoth Sunset Park Material Recovery Facility netted the industrial award.

Can-do attitude: Sunset Park's humungous new recycling center may not host high-profile arts events or boast a spaceship-like profile, but it is state of the art.
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

Other winners included the Weeksville Heritage Center in Crown Heights, which won for new institution and the Whole Foods Market in Gowanus, which won for energy efficiency.

Reach reporter Matthew Perlman at (718) 260-8310. E-mail him at mperlman@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @matthewjperlman.
The winners are: From left, Sara Caples, Jerome Kretchmer, and Elizabeth Kennedy celebrate their award for work on the Weeksville Heritage Center in Crown Heights, which won a Building Brooklyn Award for best new institution.
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

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