Housing planned for DUMBO’s elephant mural building

Housing planned for DUMBO’s elephant mural building
Courtesy of the Historic Districts Council

DUMBO will lose a lot of color and a piece of history if a development company gets permission to level an old graffiti-covered garage to make room for a six-story residential building.

The builders at Alloy want to put up modern housing in place of a low elephant-adorned garage at Pearl and Water streets that, like much of the block, once belonged to the Industrial-era paint company J.W. Masury & Son, according to the Historic Districts Council.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission, which is oversees all new construction in DUMBO because the neighborhood is a historic district, sent the developers back to the drawing board last Wednesday to sketch up new windows that better fit the community’s character.

But preservationists expect the agency to eventually approve the proposal — and they aren’t enthusiastic about the plan for replacing the modest but colorful garage, which features a stylistic mural of pachyderms in front of a jungle motif.

“We don’t like the [proposed] design,” said Simeon Bankoff, executive director of the Historic Districts Council.

DUMBO, according to Bankoff, is characterized by large brick buildings with “round, massive windows,” while the planned structure uses wood and cement to support thin windows.

The proposed building also boasts multiple entrances, making it “more maisonette than industrial DUMBO,” Bankoff’s group said.

“Overall, more cues need to be taken from the district and not from Kentucky or France,” the Historic Districts Council said in a statement to the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

A call to Alloy was not returned.

The colorful elephant- and angel-filled mural on the side of the garage is a familiar and beloved sight for DUMBO residents: artinfo.com called it one of New York’s most photographed pieces of street art since its creation in 2009 by art group 303 Collective.

The builders must return to the Landmarks Preservation Commission with new plans before work can begin, but a date for that meeting has not yet been set.

“It depends on when the applicant makes the revisions,” said Landmarks spokeswoman Lisi de Bourbon.

Reach reporter Jaime Lutz at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow her on Twitter @jaime_lutz.

Housing here: Developers want to tear down a historic DUMBO garage and put up townhouses.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini