Clinton Hill

High-rise tower next door to historic Clinton Hill church approved by City Planning Commission

Atlantic Avenue project includes church restoration

February 27, 2019 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Here's the design for 809 Atlantic Ave., a proposed development that the City Planning Commission approved on Monday. Rendering by Morris Adjmi Architects via the Landmarks Preservation Commission

On Monday, the City Planning Commission approved rezoning measures for a Clinton Hill residential project with an unusual proviso — the obligation to repair a neighboring landmark.

Jeffrey Gershon’s Hope Street Capital is required to renovate the Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew in order to obtain a special zoning permit for residential construction at 809 Atlantic Ave.

The unusual construction scenario is governed by Section 74-711 of the city Zoning Resolution, which allows a developer to construct a bulkier building in exchange for setting up a continuing maintenance program for a contiguous landmark.

Morris Adjmi Architects designed the proposed pre-cast concrete and glass apartment complex at 809 Atlantic Ave.

According to an environmental assessment statement the developer filed, the project would have approximately 333 apartments, with about 67 of them being affordable-housing units, and retail space.

The design calls for a 29-story, 337-foot tower and an adjacent four-story, 62-foot building. The two edifices would be joined by a third- and fourth-floor corridor, the environmental assessment statement says.

The proposed apartment tower at 809 Atlantic Ave. will be located next to the Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew. Rendering by Morris Adjmi Architects via the Landmarks Preservation Commission
The proposed apartment tower at 809 Atlantic Ave. will be located next to the Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew. Rendering by Morris Adjmi Architects via the Landmarks Preservation Commission
City Council scrutiny is next step

Monday’s City Planning Commission vote moved the proposed project a step closer to a ground-breaking.

For several months, it has been working its way through the city’s public review process known as ULURP, or the uniform land use review procedure.

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The next step will be City Council scrutiny and a vote.

Earlier in the public review process, the project was known by another address, 550 Clinton Ave.

The development site has frontage on Vanderbilt, Atlantic and Clinton avenues.

Facade fix-up for the Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew

The Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew, which will be repaired, was constructed between 1888 and 1891, according to the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s designation report about the property.

The Northern-Italian Romanesque building is located at 520 Clinton Ave.


Architect John Welch designed the Episcopal house of worship, whose eye-catching features include stained-glass windows and a belfry.

This is the Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew, whose facade Hope Street Capital will renovate. Eagle file photo by Lore Croghan
This is the Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew, whose facade Hope Street Capital will renovate. Eagle file photo by Lore Croghan

At a Landmarks Preservation Commission hearing in January 2018, the church’s rector, the Rev. Julie Hoplamazian, said the congregation couldn’t afford to take care of the historic church without Hope Street Capital’s assistance.

“We have our share of building woes,” she testified.

At that hearing, the Landmarks Preservation Commission objected to several aspects of Morris Adjmi Architects’ initial design for 809 Atlantic Ave.

In March 2018, preservation commissioners approved a modified tower design.

Hope Street Capital controls the development site through 99-year leases signed in 2015, city Finance Department records indicate.

A popular bar called Hot Bird, which occupied part of the site, has closed.

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