Park Slope

Mansion planned next door to the Montauk Club

Eye On Real Estate: Park Slope palazzo resembles Venice's Ca' d'Oro — what will the new house look like?

February 3, 2016 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The Montauk Club is a beloved Park Slope architectural icon. Eagle photos by Lore Croghan
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New-Building Alert.

Developer Donald Minerva plans to construct a five-story mansion on a vacant Park Slope lot — with an extraordinary location.

The site is adjacent to a beloved Park Slope architectural icon, the Montauk Club. The land belonged to the club until recent years.

Eye-candy-loving New Yorkers cherish the Montauk Club, whose design by distinguished architect Francis Kimball was inspired by the Gothic-style Ca’ d’Oro, the most renowned palazzo on the Grand Canal in Venice.

The club at 25 Eighth Ave. is an ornate brownstone and yellow-orange brick building decorated with a terra-cotta frieze depicting the Native American Montauk tribe. It has a stunning bow window and curving balcony on its façade overlooking Plaza Street West.

The club, constructed from 1889 to 1891, is considered one of New York City’s finest terra-cotta-based architectural works.

The vacant lot next door to the club is identified as 15 Plaza Street West in city Buildings Department filings, which indicate the developer wants to construct a 58-foot-tall single-family home that would be 8,700 square feet in size. The proposed building would cover 80 percent of the lot.

We don’t know what the proposed mansion would look like. Minerva and designer William Bialosky of Bialosky + Partners Architects did not answer our queries about the project by deadline.

In late 2014, website New York YIMBY (Yes In My Backyard) published a paragraph about the filings — but the news item didn’t explain that the lot had belonged to the Montauk Club and is thisclose to the historic palazzo look-alike.

The building — which has residential condos on its upper floors and the private club’s facilities on its first and second floors — is situated in the Park Slope Historic District. So is the vacant lot.

This means Minerva is required to seek the blessing of the city Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) for the proposed mansion design.

He has not presented the building plan to Community Board 6, which is a necessary prelude to a public hearing at the LPC.

Community Board 6 hasn’t seen any construction proposals for the 15 Plaza Street West site in several years, District Manager Craig Hammerman told the Brooklyn Eagle.

One of Minerva’s past proposals for 15 Plaza Street West was a 15-story, 150-foot-tall tower with 13 apartments, according to 1999 Buildings Department filings. That plan was withdrawn in December 2005.


‘Boardwalk Empire’ was filmed here

But more about the Montauk Club.

Over its century-and-a-quarter-long existence, the club has hosted presidents and presidential candidates from Grover Cleveland to John F. Kennedy.

It has been used as a setting for numerous TV series, including “Boardwalk Empire.”

According to city Finance Department records, the club sold its fabulous building and the adjacent lot in 1996 to 25 Eighth Ave. Inc., whose president was Ralph Guarino. Then the club rented the building’s first and second floors while Guarino did a residential conversion of the third, fourth and fifth floors.

In 1998, the Montauk Club purchased the first and second floors from the developer.

The club’s lease, signed in 1996, says the adjacent lot would be turned into a “parking area” that would be run as a joint venture between the developer and the club for five years.

But in 1998, the condo converter sold the vacant land to Minerva, whose purchasing entity was called Thames Corp., Finance Department records indicate.

A brief digression, also gleaned from Finance Department records: As part of the condo conversion of the Montauk Club building, the basement was turned into a professional condominium that belonged to developer 25 Eighth Ave. In 2001, the company lost the basement space in a foreclosure.

That space now belongs to Martin R. Goldin — we typed that surname carefully so readers won’t confuse him with state Sen. Martin J. Golden (R-Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst).

Condo for sale

As for the apartments in the Montauk Club, there were six of them at the time of the condo conversion. But in years past, two units were combined to create a single full-floor condo, for which its current owner paid $2.45 million in 2010, Finance Department records indicate.

This apartment is for sale at a $4.995 million asking price, with Douglas Elliman as the listing broker.

Halstead had this listing in 2014, but the condo was later withdrawn from the market.


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