Restoring a Park Slope Wreck

A building at the heart of Park Slope,Brooklyn, that had fallen into disrepair in recent years is being restored and converted into spacious condominium apartments.

The building at 187 Seventh Avenue, at Second Street, which once housed a quirky watering hole called the Landmark Pub, will soon have four three-bedroom condos — one on each floor — along with an elevator, lobbies and retail space.

While the five-story building, which had become dilapidated and lost most of its roof years ago, could have been razed by the developers, Sugar Hill Capital Partners, they chose to restore it, a project that cost about $6 million.

“We really appreciated the architecture of Park Slope and didn’t want to knock down this building to build some glass tower or structure that stands out,” said Jeremy Salzberg, a partner at Sugar Hill, an investment and asset management firm that owns and operates several other Park Slope buildings. “We wanted to restore it and bring back the original beauty of the building.”

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A rendering of the completed restoration. CreditNew Amsterdam Design Associates

The building’s former owner, Dorothy Nash, operated the Landmark Pub until the late 1990s and moved out at some point, though she remained in the neighborhood. The building was threatened with foreclosure when Sugar Hill worked out a deal to buy it for $4.2 million in early 2013.

Condos in the building, called 2ND7TH, will be completed in the fall and went on the market this month, with prices starting at $3.198 million. A penthouse with a private roof deck is priced at $3.5 million. New Amsterdam Design Associates, a subsidiary of Sugar Hill, is restoring the building, which was gutted down to the facade, Mr. Salzberg said.

The restoration entails cleaning and replacing the light-colored brick and metal parapet, as well as rehabilitating distinctive architectural elements like a four-story turret, said Ignacio Alonso, the chief architect at New Amsterdam.

“All of the materials that we found in the building, we tried to reuse them for something else,” Mr. Alonso said, such as a custom-made bench fashioned from reclaimed wood beams that will be in the main lobby. The lobby will also have polished concrete floors with inlaid coco mat and a striking pendant light.

Mr. Alonso said a duplicate of the 1920s building sits at the other end of the block, with others in Harlem. “Back then, during a construction boom, architects didn’t have the technology to do, say, 60 different projects, so they would develop one or two models a year and copy those,” he said.

“When they did the building in the early 1900s, they couldn’t do big pieces of glass, because they didn’t have the technology,” Mr. Alonso said.

The three-bedroom condos are being created with flexible layouts, meaning bedrooms can be added or removed easily, he said. Many of the rooms have 10-foot ceilings and European wide oak plank floors, and the living room has a gas fireplace flanked by travertine slabs.

Custom-designed kitchens have marble surfaces, lacquer cabinetry from Spain and Miele and Sub-Zero appliances, along with hidden pantries. The master bathrooms include glass-enclosed showers and free-standing bathtubs.

Amenities for all residents include a roof deck with Manhattan views, a summer kitchen and cabanas; a virtual doorman; and private and common storage in the basement.

The building will have one commercial space on the ground floor, with no tenant as yet. When the building served as the home of the Landmark Pub in the 1980s and ’90s, neighbors said the space was often cluttered with funky art, and broken doll heads were often strewn on the tables.

But in more recent years, the structure, which sits across from an elementary school, had crumbled into a blighted public safety hazard, said Craig R. Hammerman, the district manager for Brooklyn Community Board 6.

“The building had been a large reflection of the character of the past owners, and there’s an element of that that resonates with many of our long-term residents,” he said. “So there’s a touch of nostalgia, a touch of whimsy, and there’s some architectural significance all whirled into one.”[NYT]

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