Crown Heights

A look around the area North Crown Heights wants to rezone

Eye on Real Estate: The Borough President supports this proposal for North Crown Heights.

July 24, 2019 Lore Croghan
The M-Crown zone is a mix of auto repair shops, industrial buildings and housing. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams backs a neighborhood-led upzoning proposal in North Crown Heights —  rezoning that, if enacted, would require developers to create space for job-generating light industry, artisanal “maker” businesses and community facilities in new residential buildings.

Come take a stroll around the area that has been the focus of several years of effort by Community Board 8’s M-Crown Subcommittee, which crafted the rezoning proposal. 

As the Brooklyn Eagle reported, Adams announced his support for it just last week and called it “a new model for mixed development.” The borough president is part of a coalition of citywide advocates and community leaders that supports the proposed rezoning — even the Department of City Planning is in talks with the M-Crown Subcommittee about its proposals.  

The M-Crown zone has clusters of handsome rowhouses like these on Classon Avenue. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan
The M-Crown zone has clusters of handsome rowhouses like these on Classon Avenue. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan

As last week’s Eagle story mentions, agency spokesperson Rachaele Raynoff said DCP is “pleased to continue to work with community boards, elected officials and neighborhood groups, including in Crown Heights, on creative solutions that bring more housing and good jobs, in a broad array of sectors, closer to more New Yorkers, and which allow an evolving range of businesses to locate in close proximity to residences.” 

The area includes blocks bounded by Atlantic Avenue, Grand Avenue, Bergen Street and Franklin Avenue and a stretch of Atlantic Avenue that extends to Vanderbilt Avenue in Prospect Heights. 

The neighborhood is home to interesting businesses, plus a sprinkling of beautiful rowhouses and repurposed manufacturing buildings. It’s also riddled with vacant lots and empty industrial buildings properties that present opportunities for development in which housing would cross-subsidize manufacturing space, subcommittee members believe.

P.S. In case you didn’t know, CB8 represents the neighborhoods of North Crown Heights, Prospect Heights and Weeksville.

An old brewery and a service station for Studebakers

For those of us who are eye-minded, getting a good look at the buildings and vacant lots in the M-Crown zone is a helpful way to draw our minds into this unfolding rezoning story.

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I did not make up the word “eye-minded.” Recently it was Dictionary.com’s Word of the Day.

According to that posting, eye-minded means “disposed to perceive one’s environment in visual terms and to recall sights more vividly than sounds or smells, etc.”

So. I strolled around the M-Crown zone and took pictures.

There’s an enormous grassy lot behind the corner building, which is Brooklyn Pentacostal Assembly. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan
There’s an enormous grassy lot behind the corner building, which is the Brooklyn Pentecostal Assembly. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan

I started on Bergen Street, whose north side is within the M-Crown zone. One thing that caught my eye was a vast grassy lot behind the Brooklyn Pentecostal Assembly.

Another thing was red-brick 925 Bergen St., designed by architect John Platte and built in 1885. It’s part of a complex of buildings formerly owned by Nassau Brewery Co. They’re all listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Here’s a glimpse of a former Nassau Brewery Company building at 925 Bergen St. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan
Here’s a glimpse of a former Nassau Brewery Co. building at 925 Bergen St. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan

According to the National Register of Historic Places’ nomination paperwork, the brewery went out of business in 1916. Now 925 Bergen St. is rented out to commercial tenants, including numerous artists.

At Franklin Avenue I turned the corner and swung around to Dean Street. Arguably the M-Crown zone’s best known building is there — 1000 Dean St., which Brooklyn Flea co-founder Jonathan Butler and his partners turned into a hip office building a half-decade ago.

The white building at left is recently sold 1000 Dean Street. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan
The white building at left is recently sold 1000 Dean Street. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan

The century-old building was formerly a service station for Studebaker cars.

Butler and his partners recently sold 1000 Dean St. for $55.95 million to LIVWRK, city Finance Department records indicate.

A chocolate factory and live chickens

The Pirika Chocolate Co. building is further down the block, at 972 Dean St. It’s an interesting-looking old industrial property.

Around the corner at 622 Classon Ave., I discovered T & S Live Poultry next to a tire shop.

At a market like this, the customers buy live birds, which the employees slaughter and prep for cooking. New York City residents from a variety of cultural backgrounds would rather shop at these markets than buy packaged chicken at grocery stores.

Fine feathered friends await their fates at T & S Live Poultry on Classon Avenue. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan
Fine feathered friends await their fates at T & S Live Poultry on Classon Avenue. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan

Back on Dean Street, afternoon car traffic was backed up. Luckily, I was on foot. I turned onto Grand Avenue and walked past a busy tire repair business to the corner of Pacific Street.

On the corner at 977-985 Pacific St., there was a vacant field with weeds as tall as I am. I wonder if Elichai Pariente knows that a part of the lot’s chain-link fence has fallen down. Finance Department records show that he’s the authorized signatory of EMP Grand Pacific LLC, which bought the lot for $6.05 million last year.

Anybody who’s brave enough to wade through the weeds could just walk right onto the property.

This vacant lot at 977-985 Pacific St. changed hands last year. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan
This vacant lot at 977-985 Pacific St. changed hands last year. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan

Atlantic Avenue is very industrial

On one of the corners of Pacific Street and Classon Avenue, there’s a shop that’s just right for Throwback Thursdays: L Train Vintage, with fashions from yesteryear.

The eye-catching house on the corner is 629 Classon Ave. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan
The eye-catching house on the corner is 629 Classon Ave. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan

Another corner has a handsome, white-painted brick rowhouse whose address is 629 Classon Ave.

A block away, at the next Pacific Street corner, there’s a beautiful brownstone row that faces Franklin Avenue. The address of the corner house is 582 Franklin Ave.

Now it’s time to check out Atlantic Avenue. The south side of this busy speedway is included in the M-Crown zone.

There’s old-fashioned architectural eye candy on Franklin Avenue. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan
There’s old-fashioned architectural eye candy on Franklin Avenue. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan

There are numerous auto repair shops, service stations and car washes.

There’s a surprise at 1020 Atlantic Ave. — a distinguished building known as Long Island Railroad Sub-Station No. 1.

A Brownstoner.com story by architectural history expert Suzanne Spellen says the Romanesque Revival building was constructed in 1905.

This is Long Island Railroad Sub-Station No. 1. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan
This is Long Island Railroad Sub-Station No. 1. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan

Follow reporter Lore Croghan on Twitter.

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