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Splashy debut! Renovations conclude at century-plus-old P’Slope bathhouse

Bath time: Developer Greystone unveiled its restoration efforts at the landmarked bathhouse on Fourth Avenue last week.
Brooklyn Paper
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Talk about freshening up!

Park Slope’s historic bathhouse emerged from behind scaffolding on July 7 after a year-plus-long renovation of the turn-of-the-century facility — which could not have come at a better time, according to a rep for the developer.

“It was incredible the building was still standing,” said Greystone’s Cian Hamill.

The 111-year-old building — which operated as a community and events center for two decades before Greystone purchased it in 2014 to secure the property’s air rights for an adjacent, 13-story residential project — could not have been in worse shape by then, according to the spokesman, who said its steel superstructure suffered from severe rot.

“There were definitely a lot of surprises along the way,” he said.

The bathhouse at 227 Fourth Ave. between President and Union streets, which opened in 1910, was commissioned by the city to serve residents of nearby tenement buildings at a time when indoor plumbing remained optional.

The handsome building’s neo-classical design by architect and Brooklyn native Raymond Almirall was used to encourage people to take baths, according to Hamill.

“The thinking was if this building had the same prestige as a bank, courthouse, or library it would entice people to use the facility,” he said.

But public baths like the Slope facility, which were located across the city, became obsolete in the 1930s when indoor plumbing became a requirement for all residences. The structure was reborn as a gymnasium that decade, which it remained until it was abandoned in the 1950s.

The National Register of Historic Places recognized Almirall’s bathhouse in 1984, and the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission made it a landmark that year, meaning it cannot be demolished and its façade cannot be changed without the city’s permission.

Greystone salvaged as much of the original glazed brick, limestone, and terracotta from the façade as it could, but large portions of the structure’s outer walls had to be scrapped, and the builders used a lightweight concrete to replicate the discarded portions, Hamill said.

The bathhouse, now fully renovated, will try its luck as a gym again when new tenant Blink Fitness opens for business later this month.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Updated 5:57 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

freddy from slope says:
Is Cian Hamill the new Jeffrey Simpson?

Did Cian ofk the Blink signs that are the cause of the NYC Landmarks Commission violation?
July 12, 2017, 7:18 am
freddy from slope says:
and drilling into the 100 year old irreplaceable white glazed brick (as opposed to the mortar) was pretty shady also.
July 12, 2017, 8:38 am
YIMBY from Fourth Ave. says:
C'mon, you kvetchers. It's miraculous that this building is still standing and if you've been watching the project develop, it clearly took incredible effort and money to save it, renovate it and make it useful again. The building has been a mostly useless dump surrounded by scaffolding going on 20 years now. You're really complaining about some signage and some drilled holes? This is everything ridiculous about Brooklyn NIMBYism.
July 12, 2017, 2:57 pm
Tyler from pps says:
YIMBY -- It's absurd how much whining goes on. The building was a total wreck. You could see daylight through some of the cracks in the walls.

Oh no! But they drilled a couple of holes in the bricks! Uggh.
July 12, 2017, 4:31 pm
freddy from slope says:
I am pretty sure that if you drilled holes in your brownstone facade you would be on the receiving end of much more than the lying lawbreaking developer Greystone.

But, hey. Every other developer and homeowner should be giddy. the 14th amendment says that once they don't enforce it on Greytstone they can't enforce it on anyone.

The Equal Protection Clause is part of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The clause, which took effect in 1868, provides that no state shall deny to any person within its jurisdiction "the equal protection of the laws".

Due to this...

NEW YORK CITY LANDMARKS COMMISSION is now an impotent, dinosaur expensive staffing arm of NYC.
July 12, 2017, 5:52 pm
Tyler from pps says:
Freddy -- What are you talking about? Don't try to be so clever, it's not working.

Have you ever noticed that most brownstone facades are made out of stucco? Not a brownstone to be found.

They also couldn't salvage all of the materials on the facade for this building. Who even says the sign anchors are drilled through the oh-so-precious "irreplaceable" glazed brick?
July 13, 2017, 10:02 am
freddy from slope says:
Tyler...

Two points.

#1

Go ahead and hang a sign without begging landmarks permission on your stucco brownstone and lets see what happens.

#2
Your eyeballs would tell you they were in the brick and not the mortar if you paused for 10 seconds and looked at the banners.

Get out more.
July 13, 2017, 11:49 pm
Tyler from pps says:
Freddy --

Two points. My point about the stucco was that it's not the original materials. They don't require brownstone to be replaced with brownstone. Brown stucco is acceptable given the problematic nature of brownstone as a material (not to mention it's cost). Just like, I assume a huge amount of the facade of the bathhouse is new materials (like the developer said!) Do you think the houses in Colonial Williamsburg are all magically constructed of all original 18th century materials?

Second, the Landmark people approve reasonable modifications to a facade for commercial properties ALL THE TIME. No one expects a business have only a sandwich board out front. And, guess what, if they drilled into the brick so be it. By the way, I said "Who says they drilled into the "oh-so-precious" glazed brick?" I didn't say they didn't drill into brick. Chances are they drilled into new materials.
July 17, 2017, 1:33 pm

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