Brooklyn Heights

New plans for Heights Cinema corner leaves movies downstairs, people up

Impending LPC Hearing May Be Debating Dramatic Color Theme on New Designs

October 21, 2013 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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Hey LPC, what’ll it be?

The red? The white? Will there be a fight?

Here’s a look at previously unpublished design drawings for the apartment building that landlord Tom Caruana wants to build on top of the Brooklyn Heights Cinema – which requires city Landmarks Preservation Commission approval.

Architects from Park Avenue South firm Gerner Kronick + Valcarcel displayed renderings for the proposed 70 Henry St. project at a September Community Board 2 meeting. But they didn’t allow photos to be taken, Brownstoner reported. So just a smattering of neighborhood residents have seen Caruana’s apartment house-plus-movie house concept – which comes in a red version and a white version.

The LPC scheduled an Oct. 22 public hearing about the project – and as a matter of standard operating procedure made the drawings available for viewing the Friday before at its Lower Manhattan Municipal Building offices.

It remains to be seen whether opponents will muster to battle the design, as they did when an earlier plan was presented to the LPC last year.

In the renderings, the walls of the existing building appear to be largely intact, including its distinctive rectangular brick-covered pillars. Last summer, Caruana told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle that LPC staffers had advised him that “the most important thing is that most of the historical components of the building would remain.”

He had to come up with a new design for 70 Henry after a November LPC hearing, at which his earlier plan – which entailed the demolition of the existing building and construction of a glass-clad apartment house with the cinema mostly in the basement – failed to win the city agency’s approval.

The current design comes in two colors.

One has white-painted brick pillars at ground level, where the theater will be located, and residential floors with floor-to-ceiling windows framed by what look like ribbons of white masonry. It echoes the color of the current picture palace, which has been a two-theater cinema since 1971.

The other version of the design for the building on the corner of Orange Street has pillars of red brick and upper floors of reddish masonry – hues that refer to the existing building’s original color, Brownstoner reported.

The movie theater in the proposed design has 98 seats, and next to it there’s a room labeled “amenity” that has gym equipment, floor plans submitted to the LPC indicate. The current two-cinema set-up has a total of 150 seats.

The floor plans show the 50-foot, five-story building design has four upstairs residential floors plus a cellar and sub-cellar. Above the movie theater there is a 1,200-square-foot outdoor recreation space.

There are three apartments per floor planned on floors 2 through 5: a 2-bedroom, 2-bath apartment of  875 square feet, a one-bedroom, one-bath apartment of 705 square feet and a one-bedroom, one-bath apartment of 688 square feet.

Caruana’s kin have owned the property since 1968, when his grandpa Giuseppe Zevola bought it through a family company, Ridgeton Poultry.

Its more distant past includes a stint as the home of the Paradise Restaurant, a late 1950s photograph included with the renderings indicates.


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