Prospect Lefferts Gardens gets big

This 21-story tower would add Manhattan flash to a corner of Prospect Lefferts Gardens, a block from Prospect Park.
Gilman Architects

It could be the development that finally lights a fire under the long simmering Prospect Lefferts Gardens real-estate market — to the delight of some residents and the dismay of others anxious to retain the character of a neighborhood still relatively untouched by new construction.

Developer Henry Herbst plans to erect this glass-clad, 23-story skyscraper, complete with 80 condos, ground-floor retail, second-floor doctors offices, “subtle” lighting between the building’s two sections, a rooftop garden, and views of Prospect Park in the often-overlooked Prospect Lefferts Gardens.

The high rise, on Lincoln Road, between Ocean and Flatbush avenues, will be the flashiest development in a mostly one-, two- and three-family-home neighborhood that has yet to catch the full-fledged gentrification bug, thanks, in part, to the scarcity of rentals, coops and condos.

“It’s a turning point,” said Roslyn Huebener, of Aguayo and Huebener Realty. “Prices have been going up there, but this is a new opportunity for people to move there without having to buy a house. It gives another dimension to the neighborhood.”

Huebener said the tower would provide new density, which should spark both new retail — and the interest of other developers.

As it is, single-family homes sell for well over $1 million in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, thanks mostly to its proximity to the B/Q subway and Prospect Park, said Huebener.

Indeed, Tom Gilman, the architect for the 23-story tower, said he tried to buy a house in the neighborhood three years ago, but found them all too expensive.

The building should enliven an otherwise run-down stretch of land, according to Gilman, who said the structure’s bifurcated, glass design was intended to “hide” its size and “break up the massing.”

But some in the neighborhood bounded by Empire Boulevard and Ocean, New York and Clarkson avenues are less than thrilled.

Nancy Hoch, an English professor who’s lived in the neighborhood since 1987, fears that the newcomers she’s noticed over the past five years are trying to shape the neighborhood in the image of those from which they were priced out.

“I kind of feel like the people moving here now wish they were in Park Slope,” said Hoch.

But there is some support for the building in the neighborhood.

Mark Dicus, an eight-year resident, sees the building as a harbinger of good.

“It’s probably a little tall,” said Dicus. “But it’s a piece of land that’s been largely unused for as long as anybody can remember.”

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