Preserve the Architectural Heritage of Crown Heights North

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The construction of a massive 7-story, 180-unit apartment building is being proposed on the original grounds of the Methodist Home for the Aged, now the Hebron SDA School, at 914-920 Park Place in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

The Northeast Conference Corporation of Seventh Day Adventists has entered into a contract with 959 Sterling Partners LLC/Hope Street Capital LLC to demolish the South Wing of the historic building and sell the back portion of the lot on Sterling Place, between New York and Brooklyn Avenues. Hope Street Capital has filed plans with the New York City Department of Buildings to construct a 7-story, 170,000 square foot building with 182 apartments. 

We understand the financial attraction for Hebron and would like to work with them to develop the existing property to its best use. This is not a viable solution, as the project poses a number of serious environmental, social, and aesthetic problems. We strongly oppose it for the following reasons:

1. A huge 7-story modern building stretched along the site’s length is too large, too dense, and totally changes the character of both the Methodist Home site and the surrounding neighborhood.

2. The loss of the open space that is part and parcel of the uniqueness and historical significance of the Methodist Home. An out-of-scale new building removes green space, creates a heat island, and greatly diminishes the capacity of the surrounding sewer system to handle storm water runoff. Nearby properties would most likely see more flooded basements.

3. The Methodist Home building complex as well as the grounds are included in the 2011 Crown Heights North Phase 2 Historic District, as designated by the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC). Part of a historic, Landmarked building would be torn down, as the plans include demolition of the South Wing of the building. In addition, the grounds surrounding the building are as landmarked as the buildings. By law, buildings within historic districts cannot be altered or added to without permission of the LPC, which has strict standards regarding historic and architectural appropriateness. The buildings are also on the State and National Register of Historic Buildings (2013).

4. The housing is planned to be market rate, with few or no “affordable” units, increasing the hyper-gentrification of the entire neighborhood. New housing is needed, but not here, and not expensive housing in a neighborhood that still has a high rate of poverty.

5. Nearby residents will suffer through noise, disruption, possible structural issues, and vermin infestations that come with any long and large construction project.

This project will be disastrous for the neighborhood and its residents. We call for an immediate stop to these plans.