Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Demolition Starts On Former Court Theatre/ Lee Brothers Garage At 375 Smith Street in Carroll Gardens


A photo of 375 Smith Street when it was the Court Theatre circa 1928.
The Court Theatre in 1932. Photo courtesy of the New York Public Library
The building in 2014
The building as seen from the corner of Smith and 9th Street 2014
in 2018
The former entrance of the Court Theatre in 2018
The building in October 2019
Demolition work
It may be time to say good bye to the long neglected little building at 375 Smith Street. Constructed in the 1920's, it was once home to the Court Theatre, a neighborhood movie theatre, which had previously operated at 551 Court Street, hence the name.
Sometime in the 1940, the building was changed into a gas station. In the 1980's the pumps were taken out, and Lee Brothers bought the building and opened a repair and body shop.
Through the decades, some details of its past survived on parts of its fa├žade.
As of yesterday, a demo crew had started to take the building apart.

In 2014, the Lee brothers filed plans with the NYC Department of Buildings for a new four story, 11 apartment residential building with retail space on the ground floor and a number of parking spots.
It wasn't until the beginning of 2018 that the garage closed permanently. Earlier this year, a blue construction site went up and demolition permits were granted by DoB.

The former movie theatre/ auto repair shop sits on one of the largest and most desirable lots in one of the most coveted neighborhoods of Brooklyn. It is therefore not surprising that the owners have decided to develop it.

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.

Below is the DoB zoning diagram for the site


Anonymous said...

Would have been nice to bring it back to what it was...a theatre...another residential building? We have enough of them in the neighborhood....

Gorgon said...

Also, would have been nice if were going to be affordable housing... but it won't be.

Son of Green Slime said...

This is amazing..i had all but forgotten about this space..in the late 60s we use to play under here..it was a gas station then...but ill never forget it's overhanging structure. This is where i also saw a very famous regular in the Carroll Gardens area...a elderly Puerto Rican gent riding a horse in the big empty lot further down Smith and hitching the beast under here. We all got to pet her!! Sad to here that none of this building that has survived this long will not be incorporated into a new design. RIP Court Theatre site!

bored at work said...

I wont miss that building as I have always considered it to be an eyesore.

My fear is that given its proximity to the subway tunnel, it will be a difficult and lengthy construction process. See the lot at the NW corner of Smith and Douglas that has been a gaping hole in the ground for several years. I hope the owner and the contractor know what they are doing here. And yes, more contextual housing is good.

Unknown said...

What about an actual nice auto repair shop and gas station? Nothing in the neighborhood like that and it's very much needed