53 Pearl Street’s Approved Plans Await Construction In DUMBO, Brooklyn

Originally proposed (left) and updated renderings (right) of 53 Pearl Street

BKSK Architects‘ approved plans that were last submitted to the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC), which call for a renovation and expansion of 53 Pearl Street in DUMBO, Brooklyn, await construction. The team revealed its latest design for the 140-year-old Italianate-style structure a year ago after initial plans from March 2019 that called for a tall multi-story addition at the rear of the property, were denied for being both “out of scale” and “contextually inappropriate.” The building was once a factory for the Masury Paint Company and was transformed into rental apartments several years ago.

The recent photo below shows the current exterior condition of 53 Pearl Street. The site is located between Plymouth Street and Water Street, almost directly to the east of the Manhattan Bridge. Brooklyn Bridge Park is only two blocks to the north.

53 Pearl Street. Photo by Tectonic

BKSK’s original plans called for a total of eight residential floors and a small rooftop terrace, with the addition clad in floor-to-ceiling glass with colorful fins. The plans also included a simplified lot-line façade and the removal of the fire escape. The old height for the vertical expansion was reduced after the first LPC hearing in early 2019, in order to make it less visible from the street. Below are the latest renderings comparing the original and updated approved versions of the residential design.

Originally proposed (left) and updated renderings (right) of 53 Pearl Street

Originally proposed (left) and updated renderings of 53 Pearl Street

Originally proposed (left) and updated renderings (right) of 53 Pearl Street

Originally proposed (left) and updated renderings of 53 Pearl Street

Originally proposed (left) and updated renderings (right) of 53 Pearl Street

Originally proposed (left) and updated renderings of 53 Pearl Street

Rendering of multi-colored "fins" that comprise the exterior facade of 53 Pearl Street

Rendering of multi-colored “fins” that comprise the exterior facade of 53 Pearl Street

The nearest subway is the F train at the York Street stop. A number of retail shops and dining options are located around the surrounding DUMBO neighborhood.

A start and completion date for 53 Pearl Street is still uncertain, as it’s unclear whether plans have been approved.

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6 Comments on "53 Pearl Street’s Approved Plans Await Construction In DUMBO, Brooklyn"

  1. David in Bushwick | July 14, 2020 at 8:12 am | Reply

    The LPC is a joke. They quibble and delay over “contextually inappropriate” adaptive remodels, but scores of historical and beautiful buildings around the city are torn down for yet another new glass box. NYC needs a complete overhaul of historic preservation regulations that would cover the entire city, not just designated districts. The oldest building or group of buildings on a street wall should not be allowed to be torn down, or at least have the facade restored and kept in place. And mid-century modern is now historic.

    • Damned Architect | July 14, 2020 at 10:23 am | Reply

      Agreed! The LPC needs to be reformed to be less focused on these endless “redesigns” of historic buildings, and the entire city needs to look at the bigger picture of what buildings are going up and coming down.

    • Strongly disagree. NYC has some of the strictest preservation laws in the country, and a huge portion of the city, including most of the oldest or otherwise most historically significant buildings, are already covered as individual landmarks or historic districts — as they should be. I agree that mid-century modern is historic now, and so does the LPC — a number of mid-century structures are landmarked, including Park Avenue classics like Seagrams, Pepsico, and Lever House and downtown towers like 140 Broadway and One Chase Manhattan Plaza.

      But NYC is not just a historic city, it is also a vibrant modern city that needs to change and grow. We have to strike the right balance between preservation and new development, and blanketing the entire city as one giant landmark is not it. If we had this attitude in the past, there would be no Empire State Building (which required demolition of the original Waldorf Astoria hotel), NY Life tower (which required demolition of the original Madison Sq Garden), etc.

      If you want to live in a frozen-in-time city, there are lots of nice places for you. Charleston, Oaxaca, Quebec City, Florence, Venice, Kyoto… But that’s not what NYC is, and let’s hope that it never goes that way.

      • The “balance” has been struck in favor of developers, so LPC fixates on nonsense rather than protecting a few treasures that developers insist on destroying. Why did LPC not landmark the Bancroft Building? What has been their reluctance to even consider the Underground Railroad site on Duffield? There are easily a dozen or two buildings that need protection or should have been protected before they were demolished, barely a blip on the development front of New York, buildings whose development rights could easily be transferred to a neighboring site and whose protection would not remotely inhibit a vibrant city. No one is asking to landmark the whole city, just a tiny fraction that deserves consideration over greed.

  2. Concerned reader | July 14, 2020 at 9:57 am | Reply

    This project was approved by the LPC on June 11, 2019.

  3. I lived in Dumbo when it was truly an artists community. Before Parkers lighthouse, most dont know about Parkers it was 10 years ahead of its time today you know it as Buddys. Dumbo with box car tracks & cobble stone Y&S candies the Home of Twizzlers , Dutch boy paints building, Brillo building Abraham & Strauss warehouses McCormick seasonings when the buildings were vacant the owners some did, they got variances to convert many floors to artist lofts. Many musicians took advantage of the quiet the peace the old world charm. As new contruction continues to rise the area becomes less Dumbo and more of something else. The only things that are truly dumbo are 2 bridges and the cobblestone

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