Park Slope

Landmarking agency blesses Pavilion Theater condo-conversion plan

October 20, 2015 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
It's déjà vu all over again. The revised design of the proposed redevelopment of Park Slope's Pavilion Theater looks a lot like a previous plan. Rendering by Morris Adjmi Architects via the Landmarks Preservation Commission
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Go forth and build condos.

The city Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) gave its blessing Tuesday to Hidrock Realty’s plan to turn a 1920s-vintage Park Slope movie house into a big condo development with a small cinema.

The preservation agency said Amen to a revised plan to convert the neo-Renaissance-style Pavilion Theater at 188 Prospect Park West to largely residential use plus demolish a vacant restaurant next door at 190 Prospect Park West to make way for a new six-story building.

There will be a total of 24 apartments, city Buildings Department filings indicate.

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A public meeting at the LPC’s Lower Manhattan headquarters ended with a unanimous vote of approval by commissioners.

During the meeting, Morris Adjmi Architects won the day with a list of subtle changes to the project design it had presented at its first go-round with the LPC, which was at a public hearing this past August.

“The changes have been very positive,” Commissioner Diana Chapin said at Tuesday’s meeting, summing up the sentiments that several of the commissioners expressed.

The previous plan for Pavilion on the Park, as the project is called, provoked disapproval from preservationists, Park Slope community groups and some of the commissioners. Instead of voting on the proposal at the August hearing, commissioners instructed the architecture firm to revamp its project design.  

At first glance, the design drawings presented Tuesday look almost identical to the ones that the LPC was shown two months ago. Careful scrutiny is required to see the differences between the two versions.

In the new design, the fifth floor of the proposed new building at 190 Prospect Park West will be set back six feet, so that its curving façade on Bartel-Pritchard Square would appear to be the same height as the crescent-shaped row of Renaissance Revival-style multifamily buildings that stand beside the site.

Also, the new building’s sixth floor will be set back four feet and will be 10 feet in height instead of 12 feet.

Because of the LPC’s procedural rules, public testimony was allowed at the hearing in August but was not allowed at Tuesday’s meeting. The commission accepted written comments, though.

Prior to the vote of approval, Commission Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan said that state Assemblymember Jim Brennan had sent a letter saying the modifications to the project design had not gone far enough.

City Councilmember Brad Lander sent a letter of support for the revised architectural plan.

Srinivasan also noted that the commission received 11 emails asking for additional changes to the tweaked design and three emails supporting it.

In one email that was shared with the Brooklyn Eagle, neighborhood residents Michael and Susan Padwee wrote that the new plan has “problems” — for instance, the proposed six-story building is too large. And a proposed addition on the roof of the theater building looks like a “metal top hat,” they wrote.

City Finance Department records indicate that Hidrock Realty bought the theater building for $16 million in 2006 and paid $3,090,750 for the restaurant building in 2012.

Before the developer can start building the condo-conversion project, it must obtain a zoning variance.

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