Clinton Hill

Bye bye Hot Bird, hello high rise

Atlantic Avenue development proposal advances in City Council

April 2, 2019 Lore Croghan
This rendering shows what retail space at 809 Atlantic Ave. would look like. Rendering via the City Council

Proposed rezoning measures for a high-rise development on the site of a popular Clinton Hill bar, Hot Bird, moved forward in the City Council on Tuesday.

The Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises unanimously approved the rezoning for 809 Atlantic Ave., where Jeffrey Gershon’s Hope Street Capital plans to build a 29-story apartment tower.

Part of the site was occupied until recently by Hot Bird, a bar with a patio and a fire pit. The beloved watering hole hosted a goodbye party for its customers in December.

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Before Tuesday’s subcommittee vote, Chairperson Francisco Moya said City Council Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo “is in support of this application.” She represents the district where the development site is located.

Her backing is vital because in zoning matters, it’s customary for councilmembers to follow the lead of the colleague on whose turf a development is planned.

Tuesday’s vote was a step in a zoning-related public review process known as ULURP, or the uniform land use review procedure.

To complete the process, there will soon be a vote by the full City Council. After that, the mayor can choose to approve or veto the City Council’s decision or simply let it stand.

This aerial view shows the landmarked Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew and the 809 Atlantic Ave. development site. Image via the City Council
This aerial view shows the landmarked Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew and the 809 Atlantic Ave. development site. Image via the City Council

Air rights priced at $9 million

Hope Street Capital’s tradeoff for being allowed to construct a bulkier building than existing zoning allows is that it will fund repairs of a landmark adjacent to its property. That landmark is the Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew.


Church members really need the developer’s money for critical repairs to their Northern Italian Romanesque-style church building, according to an ecclesiastical leader.

“The cost to maintain a building of this magnitude and beauty is beyond the congregation’s means,” the Rev. Canon Andrew Durbidge said in a written statement submitted to the City Council Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises for a March 6 hearing.

The annual price of insurance for the 130-plus-year-old church property is $100,000, said Durbidge.

This design shows what 809 Atlantic Ave. would look like if you faced north on Vanderbilt Avenue. Rendering via the City Council
This design shows what 809 Atlantic Ave. would look like if you faced north on Vanderbilt Avenue. Rendering via the City Council

The Episcopal church has a contract to sell its air rights to Hope Street Capital for $9 million, Durbidge said in his statement.

Half the money would go to restoring the church facade. Another $1.2 million would pay for work to make the church interior compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The rest of the money from the sale of the air rights would be used to create an endowment so future generations of church members can “maintain the building in first-class condition,” the reverend said.

Thirty percent of the apartments would be affordable

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

Project designer Morris Adjmi Architects’ presentation materials for the March 6 subcommittee hearing indicate that 809 Atlantic Ave.’s proposed tower would be 312 feet tall. There would be 284 apartments, 30 percent of them affordable units.

The proposed development was known as 550 Clinton Ave. in the early days of the public review process.

Follow Brooklyn Eagle reporter Lore Croghan on Twitter.


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