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Housing planned for DUMBO’s elephant mural building

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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 jlutz@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow her on Twitter @jaime_lutz.

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Reasonable discourse

JP from Downtown says:
Dear god that's a fugly planned residential building...
Feb. 11, 2013, 4:03 pm
ty from pps says:
I think the proposed building is ugly too... has a sort of run down feel even in the rendering. BUT...

"Overall, more cues need to be taken from the district and not from Kentucky or France,” the Historic Districts Council said

WHAT? Kentucky or France? What?!
Feb. 11, 2013, 6:07 pm
jjm from ch says:
who exactly are they building this for?? i know for sure this ugly POS wont be for any low-incomers.
Feb. 11, 2013, 6:57 pm
kelly from park slope says:
yeah so many buildings I've seem while driving thru kentucky look just like that. !!
Feb. 12, 2013, 10:48 am
That building is from hunger says:
The proposed structure looks more like something in need of being demolished than the garage does.
Feb. 12, 2013, 11 am
jeanne from clinton hill says:
we just let bruce ratner bulldoze over 22 acres of historic buildings in prospect heights, but we're going to complain about knocking down a garage? bloomberg has just announced that he wants to allow luxury highrises to be built on community centers in the projects, but we're going to complain about knocking down a garage? can we get some perspective, please, from both media and HDC?
Feb. 12, 2013, 11:43 am
ty from pps says:
I never complained about the "historic buildings" in prospect heights.
Feb. 12, 2013, 3:52 pm
mike from dumbo says:
The mural was great and will be missed but it was never intended to be a permanent fixture in the neighborhood. The garage has no architectural value whatsoever. I love the design of the new building although not for everyone. The LPC seems to be pretty high on their horse... especially considering the Dock Street approval.. or was that lot exempt from landmark status?
What a joke.
Feb. 24, 2013, 9:02 am

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