Another New 5-Story Building Planned: Site of Popular Movie Theater in North Heights

January 17, 2012 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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CB 2 Land Use Committee Will Also Hear Plans for Former Police Precinct Building


By Linda Collins

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Brooklyn Daily Eagle


BROOKLYN HEIGHTS — Plans for another new building in Brooklyn Heights — at the site of the popular Brooklyn Heights Cinema at 70 Henry St., corner of Orange Street — will be presented at the Community Board 2 (CB 2) Land Use Committee next Wednesday, Jan. 18, at St. Francis College.


The committee will also review a Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) application for 72 Poplar St., the former police precinct building that has gone through several owners and several conversion plans over the past seven years, since it was sold at auction by the city in 2004.


70 Henry St., Heights Cinema


The plan is to demolish the existing movie theater building and construct a new five-story residential building, which will ultimately require approval by the Landmarks Preservation Commission.


According to an article in The Brooklyn Paper last Thursday, the owner Tom Caruana said he will do whatever is necessary to keep the cinema going, even if he has to move it to DUMBO.


72 Poplar St., Former Police Precinct

As the Eagle reported in May the new owner of this building, David Ennis of The Daten Group, based in Manhattan, said he would continue a previous developer’s plan to convert the former police precinct building on Poplar Street into a residential building but wants to design something interesting.


“We are familiar with the landmarks process, and we know that development and neighborhood go hand in hand,” he said at the time. “So we will be designing something that will fit in with this beautiful block, this gaslamp block.” 


Ennis also said all the properties the company acquires have a common thread: “They all need someone to be hands-on and involved.”


Details are not yet known about his plans for the interior and residential units at 72 Poplar, but the new application requests approval for the following:


• Extending the existing fourth floor;

• Constructing a new fifth-floor addition;

• Setting the rear wall back by 5 feet to achieve legal light and air requirements;

• Constructing a new rear façade;

• Installing a new accessibility ramp at the Poplar Street entrance;

• Creating new window and door openings at the  east and west façades; and

• Constructing a one-story rooftop addition on the building’s adjacent garage.


Also as previously reported in the Eagle, the Daten Group acquired the circa-1913 property for $7.5 million. The previous owner, Regal Investments Inc., acquired it from the city in 2004 for $9.6 million. 


After several attempts to get its residential conversion-plus-expansion plans approved by the LPC and the Department of Buildings, Regal abandoned those efforts and began — unsuccessfully — seeking schools and daycare groups and nonprofits to lease the site.


Regal, which planned to create 38 rental apartments in the building, had completed all of its planned interior demolition work, installed new staircases and constructed an elevator shaft.


99 Water St., DUMBO


The CB 2 Land Use Committee will also review an application to replace two non-historic roll-down gates with painted aluminum storefronts to match existing adjacent storefronts at this building in DUMBO.


In addition, the applicant seeks approval to replace one stucco-and-metal door with a new glass-and-painted-aluminum door with air conditioning vents in the transom, and install two new lighting fixtures to match existing ones on the main street façade.


Wednesday’s meeting will take place in the St. Francis College Callahan Center at 180 Remsen St., Brooklyn Heights.

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