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Landmarks Commission Calls Pavilion Condos 'Too Prominent' for Park Slope

By Leslie Albrecht | August 19, 2015 8:55am | Updated on August 21, 2015 4:21pm
 The Landmarks Preservation Commission reviewed Hidrock Realty's plans for condos at the Pavilion Theater on Aug. 18, 2015.
LPC Reviews Pavilion Theater Condos
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PARK SLOPE — The Landmarks Preservation Commission told a developer to tweak plans for a five-story condo building next to the Pavilion Theater after neighbors slammed the project as a potential "disaster."

"In short, we do not like this building," said Mark Grashow, president of the 14th Street Block Association, one of about a dozen neighbors who lined up at a LPC hearing on Tuesday to voice opposition to Hidrock Realty's plans.

"We are not against the development of this property … But this design does not fit our neighborhood and we aren't happy with it."

The five-story beige-brick building would have 24 condos and large windows overlooking Bartel-Pritchard Square. A rooftop penthouse apartment would be set back from the building's roofline.

Hidrock's architects said Tuesday they had already made some modifications in response to criticisms voiced at a Community Board 6 meeting in July.

Architect Morris Adjmi said his firm switched the condo building's brick color to a tone that better matches nearby structures, reconfigured the building so that it aligns more with neighboring structures, and reduced the number and height of the windows.

But some neighbors said they wanted Hidrock to make more modifications, including eliminating the building's fifth floor and making the ground floor look less commercial, said Community Board 6 District Manager Craig Hammerman.

One neighbor called the building "a disaster visually [and] contextually," while another feared that if the LPC approved Hidrock's current plans, it would open the door to out-of-character development up and down Prospect Park West.

Grashow added that neighbors are "terrified" by the idea of the new condos being the first thing people see when they come out of the subway at 15th Street.

In order for the plan to proceed, the LPC must approve the condos and Hidrock's plan to restore the Pavilion, which will remain a movie theater, but the commission put off a vote until after the developer comes back with a design that will blend in better with its historic surroundings.

"What I fear is that ... what we'll see at night is a complete wash of light coming out of this new building that's completely out of character with the rest of the neighborhood," said commissioner Michael Devonshire. "I think it’s going to be far out of scale with what else is going on in the neighborhood."

Devonshire added that the current design for the condo building would be "too prominent" next to its historic neighbor, the theater.

City Councilman Brad Lander, who attended the meeting, said that in light of the developer's changes, the LPC should vote to approve the project.

Hidrock spokesman Ethan Geto said after Tuesday's hearing that the request to remove the building's fifth floor was "not realistic," because Hidrock has already "taken an enormous hit financially" by maintaining the theater.

Hidrock will review the LPC's feedback and "see if there are changes or solutions that are feasible that would accommodate the concerns that were expressed," Geto said.