Landmarks to look at proposed changes for Brooklyn Municipal Building’s future two floors of retail

June 5, 2012 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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By Linda Collins

Brooklyn Daily Eagle

MANHATTAN — The Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) will consider the proposed changes to the Brooklyn Municipal Building at its meeting today, June 5, in Manhattan.

As the Eagle has reported, the building, at 210 Joralemon St., across from Brooklyn Borough Hall in Downtown Brooklyn, will have its first two floors — at the Court Street corner and all along its Court Street length — converted to retail.

Described by the LPC as “a neo-Classical-style civic building designed by McKenzie Voorhees & Gmelin and built in 1932-26,” the structure is now part of the newly established Borough Hall Skyscraper Historic District, necessitating Landmarks approval.

The application is to modify window openings at the ground floor level, replace the windows on the second story and install awnings and signage.

As the Historic Districts Council (HDC) notes in its findings and testimony sent to the Eagle in advance of the LPC hearing, this is the first application for a building in the new historic district, and one which should allow for adaptive reuse while retaining the character of the building.

“The Brooklyn Municipal Building, like most government buildings of its time, has a very considered, very symmetrical façade, one that implies that government business would be as orderly and dependable as the structure’s design,” wrote Simeon Bankoff, HDC executive director. “The HDC finds that the proposed opening modifications, window replacements, and extensive signage plans on the western end of the building would throw off this order.”

According to Bankoff, extending the display windows, particularly on the front façade along Joralemon Street, is unnecessary and would interrupt the line formed by the base of the piers and columns. The HDC also objects to the signage in each window, calling it excessive.

“The adaptive part of adaptive reuse should work both ways, the building adapting to a new use and the new use making some changes from its normal appearance to fit into the landmark,” Bankoff wrote.

The LPC will consider this application at approximately 10 a.m. today but recommends that those interested in attending or speaking should be present by 9:30 a.m.

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