City blocks Clinton Street tower

The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like Brooklyn Paper on Facebook.

Brooklyn Heights preservationists hailed a decision by the Department of Buildings to block a developer from adding six stories onto an already nine-story building at the corner of Clinton and Montague street.

Buildings officials would not comment on why they rejected the proposed addition, which would create a 185-foot tower within the footprint of the city’s first historic district.

The district’s zoning restrictions don’t apply to the commercial block of Clinton Street, but preservationists objected because the resulting building would dwarf nearby historic structures such as the old Spencer Church building and the landmark headquarters of Brooklyn Historical Association on the corner of Clinton and Pierrepont streets.

“It would be much too tall for that corner and would cast dark shadows into the historic district and onto very important structures” said Judy Stanton, president of the Brooklyn Heights Association.

A spokesperson for the Department of Buildings said the developer, Clinton Realty Holdings LLC, was free to resubmit new plans. Neither the New Jersey-based corporation, nor the project architect Edgar Rawlings, returned calls from The Brooklyn Paper.

Brooklyn Heights, though home to many real-estate developers, is notoriously sensitive to, preservation issues. In 1965, a coalition of residents led by lawyer Otis Pearsall forever altered the business of building in the city when it lobbied to create New York’s first historic district in the section of the Heights bounded by Atlantic Avenue and Court Street and Cadman Plaza West and the Promenade.

Within the district, new buildings are limited to five stories, and their facades must blend in with those neighboring buildings. Pearsall, a member of the city’s Art Commission, opposes the 75 Clinton St. tower because of the shadows it would cast in the low-rise historic district that he created.

Other critics said that the tower could set an inappropriate precedent for high-rise development inside the protected district itself.

“As the development gets higher and higher outside the district, you run into the danger of it creeping into the district itself,” said Simeon Bankoff, executive director of the non-profit Historic District Council.

While larger than most Heights structures, the proposed tower would be half the size of the one residential project that was built above objections in 1997, a 33-story, 331-foot residential tower at 180 Montague St. When construction began on that site, neighbors asked developer Ian Bruce Eichner to scale it down. A Brooklyn Heights resident himself, he declined.

Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like Brooklyn Paper on Facebook.

Reasonable discourse

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Don’t miss out!

Stay in touch with the stories people are talking about in your neighborhood:

Optional: Help us tailor our newsletters to you!