Landmarks Preservation Commission says yes to Hicks Street development

Also, LPC sets January vote on Historic District designation for Chester Court in Prospect Lefferts Gardens

November 25, 2014 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Architect Krista Demirdache presents her revised design for 295-299 Hicks Street to the Landmarks Preservation Commission. Eagle photos by Lore Croghan
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Thanksgiving came early for developer Lou Greco.

The city Landmarks Preservation Commission gave him the go-ahead on Tuesday to build three townhouses on a Brooklyn Heights parking lot at 295-299 Hicks St.

Commissioners voted unanimously to approve a revised design for three brick rowhouses, each 16 feet wide, in the Brooklyn Heights Historic District.

It was architect Krista Demirdache’s second try to win the LPC’s okay for the Hicks Street project. Her initial design, presented at a public hearing in September at the preservation agency’s Lower Manhattan headquarters, got a thumbs-down.

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One of the commissioners’ objections to the first plan was that it made the three houses look like one big building. In the new version Demirdache presented Tuesday, the configuration of the windows was changed and other tweaks were made so that the houses looked more like three distinct buildings.

Prior to Tuesday’s vote, Commission Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan said architects had been “very responsive” to the LPC’s objections and suggestions for design amendations.

According to the resolution approving the new plan for 295-299 Hicks, constructing the rowhouses will “strengthen the streetscape” of the residential block where they will be built.

Heights residents have been waiting to see what comes next for the parking lot site since Catholic Charities, Diocese of Brooklyn sold it for $4.325 million in 2012 to an LLC affiliated with Greco’s SDS Development.

Thanksgiving also came early at the LPC for residents of Chester Court in Prospect Lefferts Gardens. They want the agency to create a historic district encompassing 18 century-old rowhouses on their cul-de-sac near Prospect Park.

After hearing testimony about Tudor Revival-style houses from 15 to 31 Chester Court and 16 to 32 Chester Court, commissioners decided to schedule a vote in early January about whether to designate the enclave as the Chester Court Historic District.

“We all know we live in very special homes on a truly unique block right off one of Brooklyn’s most vibrant and hectic avenues,” said Leslie Wright, a Chester Court Block Association member.

The brick and stucco rowhouses with faux half-timber framing were all designed by the same architect, Peter J. Collins.

City Councilmember Mathieu Eugene, who represents the neighborhood, spoke in favor of the historic district designation. So did a rep from the Real Estate Board of New York — which often opposes neighborhood landmarking.

Cheryl Sealey, a board member of the Prospect Lefferts Gardens Neighborhood Association, testified that the need for landmarking in the area is urgent.

“It’s now being attacked by developers,” she said. “We want to protect it as much as we can.”

A 23-story apartment building, 626 Flatbush Ave., is under construction right behind Chester Court.


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