Boerum Hill

Landmarks Preservation Commission designates Boerum Hill historic district extension

June 26, 2018 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Welcome to the newly designated Boerum Hill Historic District Extension. This Dean Street block can be found in Area I of the extension. Eagle file photos by Lore Croghan

Boerum Hill activists have waited four decades for this moment.

The city Landmarks Preservation Commission just said yes to expanding the neighborhood’s historic district.

At a meeting on Tuesday at its Lower Manhattan headquarters, it voted unanimously to grant protected status to nearly 300 rowhouses and apartment buildings in three distinct areas adjacent to the existing Boerum Hill Historic District.

Many of the buildings in the new Boerum Hill Historic District Extension were constructed either in the 1840s and 1850s or the decades immediately after the Civil War.

Area I, which is west of the existing historic district, includes blocks of Dean and Bergen streets between Smith and Hoyt streets.

Area II, which is east of the existing historic district, includes blocks of Wyckoff and Bergen streets between Bond and Nevins streets.

Area III, which is north of the existing historic district, includes Pacific Street homes between Hoyt and Bond streets — and rowhouses with Victorian wood storefronts on portions of commercial corridor Atlantic Avenue between Hoyt and Nevins streets.

In a statement issued after the vote, Boerum Hill Association President Howard Kolins applauded the historic district extension’s designation.

“By adding more residential streets to our current district and also a portion of Atlantic Avenue, a very special commercial zone, we will further protect our neighborhood’s historic character,” Kolins said.  

Boerum Hill activists had tried on various occasions since the 1970s to win the commission’s approval for expanding the historic district.

 

Opposition From Some Atlantic Avenue Landlords

At a hearing in May, numerous Atlantic Avenue landlords said they opposed the inclusion of their properties in the landmarked area. More than 20 of them signed a “no landmarking” petition.

Other Atlantic Avenue landlords spoke in support of the landmarking measure at that hearing.

Tuesday, prior to the vote, a Landmarks Preservation Commission staff member said the landlords’ opposition prompted commission researchers to do a fresh analysis of the Atlantic Avenue properties included in the proposed historic district extension.  

On the basis of their analysis, the researchers recommended that no Atlantic Avenue buildings should be dropped from the proposal.  

Following the vote, a Landmarks Preservation Commission spokeswoman told the Brooklyn Eagle that after the May hearing, commission staffers met with Atlantic Avenue landlords opposed to landmarking and landmarking supporters to get their input and answer their questions.  

Landmarking will protect the Boerum Hill Historic District Extension from large-scale development because it means builders now cannot demolish properties or alter their exteriors without the preservation agency’s approval.

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