Brooklyn Heights

Two Brooklyn Heights buildings up for landmarking consideration

August 9, 2016 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Two Brooklyn Heights buildings will be considered for landmark designation: The yellow building, center, which is 185 Montague St., and the building to its left, 181-183 Montague St. Eagle photos by Lore Croghan
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At last.

Tuesday was a red-letter day for Brooklyn Heights preservationists.

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Two historic Montague Street commercial buildings that have never been accorded the protection from demolition and exterior alteration that city landmark designation confers are now candidates for that honor.

The city Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) voted to calendar 181-183 Montague St. and 185 Montague St. for consideration as individual city landmarks.

The two properties are located steps away from the boundaries of two landmarked areas, the Borough Hall Skyscraper Historic District and the Brooklyn Heights Historic District.

“These are buildings that are left out,” LPC Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan said at a public meeting at the preservation agency’s Lower Manhattan headquarters.

Public hearings about the two properties will be held in the coming months.

Brooklyn Heights residents and office workers know neo-Classical 181-183 Montague St. as the local Citibank branch.

Originally it was the People’s Trust Company Building, built in 1903-1906 and designed by an important architecture firm of the day, Mowbray & Uffinger. Its front entrance has four columns — all made from a single piece of marble — topped by a triangular pediment with huge sculptures.

Jonathan Rose Cos., a development firm, bought the building through an LLC for $36.5 million in 2015, city Finance Department records indicate. The company is constructing an apartment tower at nearby 189 Montague St., on the site of now-demolished buildings that were not landmarked.    

The other newly calendared building, 185 Montague St., has a Chipotle as its ground-floor retail tenant.

Francis Morrone calls 185 Montague St. “one of the jazziest little Art Deco skyscrapers in town” in his book, “An Architectural Guidebook to Brooklyn.”

The eye-catching office building, which was originally known as the National Title Guaranty Company Building, was constructed in 1929-1930. It was designed by Corbett, Harrison & MacMurray — one of the architecture firms that designed Rockefeller Center.

According to Finance Department records, 185 Montague St. belongs to an entity that’s run by the heirs of the late Sol Goldman, a real estate investor with a mammoth property portfolio who co-owned the Chrysler Building for 20 years.


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