Fort Greene

Brooklyn Cultural District building boom: the Marriott Autograph Collection Hotel, 95 Rockwell Place

Eye On Real Estate

March 18, 2015 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
This building with the shrouds is the Ashland Place façade of the Marriott Autograph Collection Hotel site. Eagle photo by Rob Abruzzese
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Construction is percolating at development sites in a favorite arts-lovers’ neighborhood, the Brooklyn Cultural District.

This is the mini-neighborhood surrounding the Brooklyn Academy of Music that until recently was known as the BAM Cultural District.

We use the latter name as well when writing about the area to remind readers of the long years of effort that BAM’s former executive director Harvey Lichtenstein put in as the chairman of the BAM Local Development Corp., which worked with the city to bring the cultural district into being.

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We checked up on several sites the other day with photographer colleague Rob Abruzzese. Here’s what you should know:

So what’s the holdup at 95 Rockwell Place, the hotel site on the other side of the Shakespeare theatre?

Cleanup started 10 months ago inside the small building that stands on the site of Brooklyn’s first Marriott Autograph Collection Hotel, but there’s no work being done these days.

“Until we get demolition permits, we’re frozen,” Mitch Garrett, vice president of acquisitions and development at co-developer VOS Hospitality, told Eye on Real Estate. Brooklyn Heights-based builder Louis Greco’s Second Development Services is another partner in the project.

Garrett expects to get demolition and initial foundation permits in a month. And a construction loan that’s needed to move forward is being finalized, he said. He’s hoping it will close in two months.

The hotel will have frontage on Ashland Place, facing an arts plaza that was built at the same time as its next-door neighbor, the Theatre for a New Audience.

High-profile architect Thomas Leeser’s dramatic design for 29-floor, 201-room 95 Rockwell Place is a glass tower that looks like it has fractures in it. And parts of the exterior of the building now standing on the site will be left standing as “rubble walls” at the base of the hotel.

The Marriott Autograph Collection is a group of one-of-a-kind hotels that includes the Algonquin, the home of Dorothy Parker’s storied Round Table. As owners of a Marriott Autograph property, “we will be able to create a true local branding experience,” Garrett said.

The hotel will have a basement lounge and rooftop bar, plus a restaurant and a banquet hall — which will contribute to making the Brooklyn Cultural District into a full-blown arts and entertainment center, Garrett believes.

“Our hotel will really round out the whole entertainment experience,” he said.


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