Monday, November 24, 2014

It Was Bound To Happen: Lee Brothers Auto Repair Shop Now Development Site

Corner of Smith Street and Third Street, looking North
Lee Brothers Garage at 375 Smith Street
New development at 360 Smith Street, which is located directly across the street from Lee Brothers Garage

Back in early January of this year Lee Brothers Auto and Body Repair shop  at 375 Smith Street at the corner of Third Street in Carroll Gardens was closed "until further notice."  Though the shop reopened a few days later, many residents wondered how long until the one story building housing the garage would be torn down to be developed into residential apartments.  After all, the garage sits on one of the most desirable lots in one of the most coveted neighborhoods of Brooklyn.

Well, it would appear that the moment has finally come and that the Lee Brothers are developing the site.  NY YIMBY reported last week that permits for a new mixed-use structure have been filed with NYC Department of Buildings.
NYMBY writes:

The proposed four-story building would include a 3,300-square foot retail space on the ground floor, topped by 11 apartments. The units would be spread over 9,800 square feet of residential space, for an average apartment size of nearly 900 square feet. (Confusingly, the Schedule A filing indicates 12 apartments, or four per floor above the ground level.)

The project would include a sizable amount of parking – 13 spaces – reflecting the increasing wealth necessary to live in new construction in South Brooklyn neighborhoods, as demand rises while supply remains nearly stagnant.

The developer – whose listed phone number was not accepting new calls, and whose email address is invalid – is Jimmy Lee with 375 Smith Street, LLC, and the architect as SHV Designs, led by John C. Haskopoulos.

According to the Carroll Gardens contextual rezoning, which was approved in 2009, the site is in an R6B zone, with a height limit of 50 feet and a commercial overlay fronting Smith Street
The Carroll Gardens community pushed for the contextual re-zoning and height limit in part because of the opposition to 360 Smith Street, the 70 feet building right across the street.

Though the Lee's building is rather run down, it was once the Court Theatre, a neighborhood movie theatre. Some details of its past are still visible on parts of the fa├žade. Here is a link to an old tax photo from 1928 that shows the theatre.
Sometime in the 1940, the structure was changed into a gas station. In the 1980's the pumps were taken out, but the repair garage remained.
More on the building's history can be found here.


Becky said...

That is a total bummer. UGH!!!

Anonymous said...

Why is it a bummer? It's a total eyesore. It would be different were it still a theater -- but that ship sailed nearly 70 years ago. Take a look...what are you trying to preserve. Let's not be obstructionist for no good reason. A building that conforms to height restrictions that is esthetically consistent with the neighborhood will be a welcome addition. Who knows maybe the ground floor will house a food market which the neighborhood has been losing.

Andy said...

Well, hope my car never breaks down again. Ever.

Becky said...

Anon 2:01: I find it a bummer because I appreciate the open space created by the setback driveway / parking area and the low height of the building. I never understand the aggressive comments (yours wasn't one) saying "What's your problem, it's better than a parking lot!!!!???" Parking lots are at least open air that a bird can fly through and air can move through! Buildings are solid mass.

I also don't find the building an eyesore. I think it's cool. I get that my aesthetics don't align with yours, but you don't decide if my reasons are good or not.

Anonymous said...

Burn Baby, burn. The neighborhood is a shell of its former self, totally unrecognizable to longtime residents. The people and atmosphere that made the area so desirable is gone.

Anonymous said...

Where will the pigeons roost?

Unknown said...

Anonymous.....there are too many young, stupid and wealthy in the neighborhood already...the character of the neighborhood has already been decimated by Midwestern and Connecticut transplants.

Trumbull Bully said...

Bully here...

I was actually born and raised in the Nutmeg State. I wonder how the mere presences of me in the neighborhood has decimated its character. According to my friend and neighbor who has lived here for nearly 30 years, this wasn't exactly a nice place once upon a time. Perhaps you have a short memory or perhaps you're longing for something that never was.

Anonymous said...

From what i understand from one of the brothers, this is not true. I had a short conversation with him, and he seemed a bit annoyed.
This could be play acting, but who knows?

Katia said...

I don't think this is simply a rumor because the plans have been filed with Dep. of Buildings.
We shall see.