Cobble Hill

Court Street funeral chapel may soon be dearly departed

Eye On Real Estate

October 31, 2013 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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Dominic Cusimano might want to call in a feng shui expert – or a shaman, maybe.

How else is he going to turn the first floor of 230 Court St. into a doctors’ office that doesn’t give Cobble Hill residents the creeps? It’s a funeral parlor.

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The long-time owner of the Court Street Funeral Home filed for city Buildings Department permits to turn the first-floor funeral chapel in the 1850s-vintage rowhouse into a medical office.

A public hearing about his plan to build a new storefront and a barrier-free access ramp was scheduled at the city Landmarks Preservation Commission but has been postponed.

A group of doctors has talked to Cusimano about taking the planned space, a source said. Business is “very slow” at the funeral home, said a second source. Cusimano didn’t answer requests for comment.

Giant funeral home operator Loewen Group International had right of first refusal to buy Court Street Funeral Home – but that agreement was terminated in 2001, city Finance Department records indicate.   

On other Cobble Hill blocks, Court Street businesses are flourishing.

Trader Joe’s serves as a busy anchor on the corner of Atlantic Avenue. Long-lived (yes, that’s a pun) customer magnets like BookCourt, Staubitz Market and California Taqueria rub shoulders with new arrivals like chic clothier Splendid at 142 Court St., where there was a 20% off sale on $238 cashmere sweaters the other day.

Another debutant on the street is restaurateur Anatoly Dubinsky, who is building a bar at 208 Court St., where produce market Jim & Andy has closed.

With so much cooking on Court Street, architect/builder Stewart Osborne found the development site just off the corner at 210 Pacific St. irresistible.

“I’ve been eying this site for years,” said Osborne, who has lived nearby for 17 years. “I called just when the ownership was ready to sell – I got lucky.”

The developer, whose firm is called Nava Companies, bought the site through an LLC last year for $2.8 million, city Finance Department records indicate.

He said he has “re-imagined” the building as eight condos with no retail space. He hopes to start marketing the units next spring and finish construction late next year. The prior owner had planned a mixed-use building with a doctor’s office and apartments.

Osborne called the transformation of Court Street “amazing.” He wouldn’t comment on controversy over J. Crew’s plan to move into Pacific Green’s space at Arista Real Estate Holdings’ building, 151 Court St., right next door to his development site.

It was too incendiary a topic for him to touch. Hundreds of residents have signed a petition asking the clothing chain to go somewhere else.


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