Residential 14-story tower proposed to replace Brighton Beach art deco building

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Developers are seeking to build a 14-story tower on the corner of Brighton Beach and Coney Island avenues.
Gerald J. Caliendo

Developers are looking to tear down a Chase Bank building in Brighton Beach to make way for a tall residential residential tower along Coney Island Avenue, according to land use filings.

The building — slated for 1002 Brighton Beach Ave. — would house 156 apartments, as well as office and commercial space.

About one quarter of the apartments would be earmarked as “affordable,” reserved for residents making between 60 and 80 percent of the federally-determined Area’s Median Income — which for a single person ranges between roughly $48,000 and $64,000 a year, and for a family of three ranges from $61,000 to $82,000.

The development comes as part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s ambitious goal to create 300,000 units of affordable housing by 2026.

Currently, southern Brooklyn lags behind the rest of the borough and city in building income-targeted housing, with high-rise buildings sprouting up across the northern parts of Brooklyn and Queens, the southern half of the Bronx, and parts of Manhattan.

The city’s affordable housing program — which critics have slammed for often catering to middle- and even upper-middle class families rather than the city’s neediest — forces developers to reserve units for residents who make within a certain income bracket in order to apply for the zoning changes necessary to construct their building. 

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The tower will take the place of the one-story Chase Bank that currently sits on the site.Google Maps

Area Councilmember Chaim Deutsch will have outsized power over the building’s approval, as council members tend to defer to the local representative when voting on land use changes. 

One local activist said that while the neighborhood needs more affordable housing, particularly for seniors, the new building could come at the expense of some historic local architecture.

“The building itself is worthy of inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places, according to the Brighton Beach rezoning report prepared by the Department of City Planning in 2009,” said Craig Hammerman, a Brighton Beach resident and the former district manager of Park Slope’s community board. “It’s a wonderful Art Deco institution in a neighborhood generally lacking in interesting architectural features.”

The building’s interior also contains some noteworthy artifacts, including a mural from the 1930s that depicts Abraham Lincoln greeting a diverse crowd of people from different cultures.

“Inside the bank there are some wonderful old murals that would seem to date back to the FDR Administration. I hope the developer is required to preserve these wonderful neighborhood features,” Hammerman said.

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The tower would house retail on the ground floor, offices on the second floor, and residential units on the upper floors.Gerald J. Caliendo

The building’s destruction would also displace the Brighton Neighborhood Association, a community advocacy group that has been active for nearly 50 years.

We’ve been here for 44 years, since 1977,” said Pat Singer, the president of the association and a member of Community Board 13. Since rents have skyrocketed in Brighton Beach, Singer said she was unsure where the association would land next. “It’s kind of heartbreaking to think about it.”

The one-story building has housed a bank for decades, including Lincoln Bank, Washington Mutual, and Signature Bank, among others, Singer said. The potential closure of the site’s Chase Bank branch during the tower’s construction comes as Coney Island grapples with a lack of full-service banks, but Hammerman said that plenty of banks lie on the Brighton Beach side, meaning the branch most likely won’t be missed.

“There are two full service Chase banks at this intersection,” he said. “Maybe Chase would consider opening a full service branch in Coney Island where it’s sorely needed.”

The proposed Brighton Beach building would contain retail space on the ground floor with entrances from both avenues, and the second floor would house space for offices, all of which would be covered in a modern, transparent facade.

Under the building, residents and visitors could park inside a garage with 110 parking spots and 79 spots for bikes.

In order to build the tower, the developer, Queens-based Platinum Realty Associates, must request two land use changes through the city’s intensive land use review process, known as ULURP, which usually takes about seven months to complete. 

During the process, members of Community Board 13, along with the borough president, will grant their advisory approval or disapproval of the tower before the land use application goes before the City Planning Commission and the City Council for a binding vote.

The tower is just one of several residential buildings rising across the peninsula, which has seen a boom of real estate interest in recent years. On the other side of Surf Avenue in Coney Island, billionaire John Catsimatidis has built a two-tower luxury development called Ocean Drive with potentially three more towers on the way, and across the street from Gargiulo’s, a luxury developer is building a 26-story building that spans almost the entire block.