HABITAT

PROSPECT HEIGHTS

The Green Point Savings Bank was built in 1928 on Washington Avenue in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. Today, workers are busy dismantling the interior of the building, which the developer Slate bought for $6.5 million last year before filing a plan to build a 14-story condo tower on the site.

Now, with two demolition permits filed with the city – one for a full demo, the other for an interior gutting – neighborhood activists are fighting to save a grand old dame that is not protected by landmark status, DNAinfo reports.

Prospect Heights resident Scott Watson, an actor and self-described architecture fan, has gotten more than 200 signatures on a petition to save the bank from the wrecking ball. “When Capital One moved out of the bank, I thought, ‘There’s no way they could possibly tear down this amazing marble bank and make condos,' Watson says. "And then when I found out...I tried to do whatever I could to stop it. We’ve seen so many buildings just go. There really is no limit to what the developers can tear down at this point.”

Among those named on Watson’s save-the-bank petition are Mayor Bill de Blasio, Brooklyn borough president Eric Adams, and city councilwoman Laurie Cumbo.

 

Arguably, one of the cooler aspects about New York City is its 1920s-era buildings with their exquisite detail. The old bank buildings are especially lovely. In the ever-changing landscape of the city, some of these old buildings get converted into condos. Other times, however, a building such as the imposing structure on Washington Avenue in Prospect Heights, becomes a casualty of supply and demand. The former Green Point Savings Bank building at 856 Washington Avenue will be demolished to make way for a 14-story apartment building, reports DNAinfo, citing permits approved by the city last week. If you're a fan of old buildings, then hurry to get a photo because building and property records show that the neoclassical stone structure will be ripped down soon. The new residential property will include 28 condominiums over about 45,000 square feet, according to DNAinfo, with one floor-through unit on each of the top three floors. Sounds nice, but it's still disappointing news to fans of old buildings and to those who were holding their breaths for a Trader Joe's grocery store.

The Newswalk condominium has had its own private slice of hell for a decade now. Involved in a protracted lawsuit for several years, the 153 unit-owners could be pardoned if they all decided to stay home and hide from the world. The legal battle concerns shoddy construction work by the property’s developer, Shaya Boymelgreen, who began selling apartments there in 2002. Because of excessive leaks, some units became practically unlivable. As Habitat reported in June 2010, the renovation of this aging, former Daily News printing plant in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, was so stunningly sloppy that the unit-owners filed a lawsuit seeking at least $10 million in damages. (A decision in the case is pending.)

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, the battle over emotional-support dogs gets even more emotional at East River House, as the feds get into the act. Elsewhere, condo and co-op boards might want to partake of a new program teaching doormen to recognize and report elder abuse. And some in City Council push for property-tax rebates. Plus, co-ops try to more like condos and vice-versa, a new affordable housing program will fill a long-empty condominium in The Bronx's Mount Hope neighborhood, and Ronan Farrow (pictured) may be your new Upper West Side neighbor.

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. Yet another restaurant, yet another building fighting it: Like the planned Denny's in FiDi and a still-unnamed Mexican place in Tribeca, the Atlantic Terrace co-op in Brooklyn (left) wants to say arrivederci to Tony Roma's. Plus, a shareholder's riled in Riverdale and we remember the Rembrandt, New York City's first co-op. And co-op / condo boards won't want to miss the lawsuit alleging a scam of Weekend at Bernie's proportions!

In February, a 105-unit condominium near Ocean Parkway in Brooklyn saw its insurance premium spike by 30 percent to $44,000. A 148-unit condo on the Upper East Side of Manhattan watched its bill jump 10 percent, to nearly $72,000. And a doorman co-op in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, recently swallowed a 9 percent premium increase. Condos and co-ops across New York City are bracing for an expensive insurance market, as insurers raise rates for the first time in years.

No building seems immune. Even co-ops and condos that are fully insured and haven't filed claims are watching their rates jump by as much as 9 percent and their deductible limits rising. Other buildings are discovering that their carrier simply won't cover them anymore.

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, politicians continue to promise tax abatement. Still haven't passed it yet, though. Plus, an upscale Brooklyn condo forbids smoking in apartments, gardening space is the newest amenity and fans make pilgrimage to The Odd Couple's co-op apartment building in the wake of Jack Klugman's death. Your co-op apartment building should be so revered, bubala.

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, New York City cracks down on people illegally turning their apartments into hotel rooms. On the other hand, state legislators want to soften ILSA, the federal Interstate Land Sales Full Disclosure Act that helps protect condominium buyers from bad developers — allegedly like the one the condo board at On Prospect Park is suing. Plus: What's an ongoing assessment, and how did the co-op board shut up that rooster? And Cynthia Nixon may no longer be your co-op neighbor, but David Duchovny might be your new one. The truth is out there — or it will be at the admissions interview.

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