LPC Doesn’t Approve NYU 383 Lafayette, Brooklyn Heights Rebuild, or Williamsburg Preschool

lpc20140708I covered three items at the Landmarks Preservation Commission for Curbed NY on Tuesday and in all three cases, the hearing was closed with no action. That means the proposals were not approved.

The first one to come before the commission was for 2 Fillmore Place in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The proposal was for a new building on a vacant lot in the one-block Fillmore Place Historic District. The commissioners leaned toward approval of the largely wood and glass structure, but weren’t there yet.

Then there was a proposal to essentially demolish a one-story Art Moderne building at 144 Clinton Street in Brooklyn Heights and replace it with a six-story apartment building. The developers said they wouldn’t be demolishing the building by salvaging the Art Deco elements of the Clinton Street facade. The community, which includes LPC commissioner Frederick Bland, loves this building and many were also worried about the effect a six-story building would have on the stained glass windows at nearby St. Charles Borromeo Church. If the design team wants approval the next time, they’ll have to make dramatic changes.

The final item I covered involved New York University’s plans for 383 Lafayette Street back in Manhattan. They want to completely renovate and restore the building, which houses an Academic Support Center, and expand it into the now vacant lot on East 4th Street recently occupied by Plantworks. There was quite a lot that the commissioners and the community liked about the proposal. So, if NYU wants approval the next time around, they won’t have to make really dramatic changes.

It’s worth noting that Tuesday marked the debut of the LPC’s new chair, Mayor Bill de Blasio appointee Meenakshi Srinivasan. I don’t feel like any of the items I covered would have been approved under Robert Tierney’s leadership. But Srinivasan’s style does have a different feel to it. When she’s had a enough of a presentation, she lets the team know so they can move on to questions. When testimony is delivered, there is supposed to be a three minute limit per speaker. Speakers rarely have more than three minutes of testimony to give, but I don’t recall the timer on the wall even being used before. Now it is. At least it was on Tuesday.

– Evan Bindelglass

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