Park Slope

Landmarks Preservation Commission sends Pavilion Theater condo- conversion plan back to the drawing board

August 18, 2015 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The city Landmarks Preservation Commission told Hidrock Realty to make changes to its condo-conversion plan for the Pavilion Theater. Rendering by Morris Adjmi Architects via the Landmarks Preservation Commission
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The people have spoken.

The city Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) heard passionate objections from preservationists and Park Slope residents to Hidrock Realty’s condo-conversion plan for the Pavilion Theater Tuesday afternoon — then sent the proposed development’s design back to the drawing board.

Commission Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan said at a public hearing about the Pavilion makeover plan, which was held at the LPC’s Lower Manhattan headquarters, that those who testified had raised “issues that are legitimate and definitely worth exploring.”

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Other commissioners spoke more harshly when calling for changes to Morris Adjmi Architects’ design for an addition on the rooftop of the movie theater at 188 Prospect Park West and construction of a new building to replace a vacant single-story restaurant property at 190 Prospect Park West. There would be 24 condos in the development, plus a movie theater that’s smaller than the existing one in the 1920s-vintage, neo-Renaissance-style picture palace.

“Louie Sullivan is turning over in his grave,” Commissioner Michael Devonshire said at the hearing, referring to ground-breaking architect Louis Sullivan (1856-1924), who famously coined the phrase “Form follows function.”

Commissioner Wellington Chen — who commended Park Slope residents for making their voices heard — said, “There is much work to be done.”

The planned new building — which would have a façade on Bartel-Pritchard Square — was the focus of much of the criticism that preservationists and Park Slope residents leveled at the design proposal.

“In recent years the western approaches to Park Slope have been marred by poorly built 12-story apartment buildings on Fourth Avenue. Must we now also have a poorly conceived architectural entrance on the south?” Park Slope resident Michael Padwee said in his testimony.

“The new building is a disaster, visually and contextually,” another neighborhood resident, Robert Eidelberg, testified.

“In short, we do not like this building,” said Mark Grashow, president of the 14th Street Block Association.

The theater and the property next door to it are located in the Park Slope Historic District Extension, which is why the LPC has veto power over the condo-conversion design.

Hidrock Realty, which has owned the movie theater building since 2006, bought the restaurant building in 2012, according to city Finance Department records. It paid $16 million for the former and $3,090,750 for the latter, the Finance Department records indicate.

In addition to a vote of approval from the Landmarks Preservation Commission, the developer will also seek a zoning variance for the proposed Pavilion development project.


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