After the LPC told the owners of 70 Henry Street to go back to the drawing board last year with their proposal to build a mixed used structure on the site (pictured), architects Gerner Kronick and Valcarcel‘s revised plan was presented to CB2 this week. Brownstoner reports that the firm is not allowing publication of the renderings until the Brooklyn Heights Association reviews them next month.
While hiding the design from the general public doesn’t sound like the greatest idea to us, Brooklyn Heights Cinema owner Kenn Lowy tells BHB, “I really like the new plan. It preserves much of the look of the current building and gives us a brand new space which we can design ourselves. The down side is that we will have to find a way to make it work with one screen. I’m confident that we’ll be able to do that by using the new lobby as a small performance space for singer-songwriters and comedians.”
As for that design, Brownstoner says:
“The theater will remain on the ground floor with an entrance on the corner of Henry and Orange Streets, but it will get a new sign that looks like a film strip. Also, it will be soundproofed so that residents above and next door won’t be bothered by noise from the movies. The apartments will have their own entrance on Orange Street, as well as an internal courtyard on the northwest end of the property.
The owner’s original plan was to demolish the current building. Brooklyn Heights hero/preservationist Otis Pearsall warned that would mark the first time since 1967 that a building in the Brooklyn Heights Historic District was razed. “We’re at a watershed moment,” he said. “Stop and weigh the inevitable irreversibility of your action.”
As discussed on Homer Fink’s Brooklyn Heights Walking Tour (ahem…next one is October 5 get your tickets here), Pearsall was referring to the Norwegian Club which was located on the corner of Columbia Heights and Pineapple Street. It was demolished, making way for Ulrich Franzen’s Watchtower building, which ultimately won a “Certificate of Appropriateness” from the LPC.
The punchline here? The BHA allowed the demolition of the Norweigian Club after it hand picked Franzen as the architect for the project. While demolition appears to off the table, could history be repeating itself here?