Concept studies by the design firm SRA Architecture + Engineering (SRAA+E) reveal that an existing five-story commercial building in Downtown Brooklyn may be redeveloped into a dramatic retail and condominium tower. The prominent 19,000-square-foot, triangular site at 205 Montague Street is located at the gateway of Brooklyn Heights and currently holds a 1960s-era marble and glass office-retail building that was picked up by Joseph Cayre’s Midtown Equities back in 2010.
In 2012, the development firm filed permits doubling the building’s size, envisioning a 100-unit residence that would convert the structure’s three upper levels into apartments and add another six stories above. The permits, also filed by SRAA+E, were never approved, but in 2012 an insider told the Brooklyn Eagle, “an awful lot more can be built than what’s in the Buildings Department plans.” Midtown Equities, who is also busy rebuilding the Empire Stores in Brooklyn Bridge Park, could not be reached for comment.
SRAA+E’s concept models, shown above, depict a much larger development than previously filed. A slender, Flatiron-like, 40-story tower soars above the old office building and is crisscrossed by diagonal cutaways. The prominent corner of Montague Street and Cadman Plaza West was once home to a ten-story Italianate-style building that housed the offices of the Brooklyn Dodgers and was the location where Branch Rickey signed Jackie Robinson to become the first African-American major league baseball player. The building was replaced in 1962 by the 77,250-square-foot Class A office building that stands here today.
According to The Real Deal, property transaction firm Massey Knackal holds a 19,000-square-foot lease for the third floor until 2016. The retail storefronts have held a succession of bank branches over the years and TD Bank and Bank of America are its current tenants.
Surrounding the development site, several new residential projects are on the horizon. One block away, the Stahl Organization is putting the finishing touches on the transformation of the Brooklyn Trust Company Building into 12 spacious condominiums that are priced around $1,400 per square foot. On another triangular-shaped lot on Cadman Plaza West, Hudson Companies has been making headway to build a Marvel Architects-designed, 36-story condo tower that provides a city branch library in its base. According to data from CityRealty, Brooklyn Heights has recorded average closing condo prices of $1,133 per square foot, or at an average price of $1,124,757, through the first six months of this year.
Two rental projects near the site are also underway. One door down from Midtown Equities’ site, Jonathan Rose Companies is readying a block-though lot at 146 Pierrepont Street for a 68-unit, 19-story rental development. Another 19-story rental tower is underway at 153 Remsen Street by Quinlan Development Group.
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