Developers Propose Rooftop Pool at 124 Columbia Heights in Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn

Aetial Rendering of rooftop pool deck at 124 Columbia Heights - HS2 ArchitectureAetial Rendering of rooftop pool deck at 124 Columbia Heights - HS2 Architecture

The Landmarks Preservation Commission will soon announce if developers can move forward with plans to construct a new rooftop pool at 124 Columbia Heights in Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn. The ten-story building is located within the Brooklyn Heights Historic District and once served as a Jehovah’s Witness dormitory building.

In 2016, the property was purchased for $105 million by Vincent Viola, the founder and CEO of Virtu Financial. Viola then filed permits with the Department of Buildings to convert the building for long-term residential use. Those plans specified the construction of a 101-unit condominium property with a two-level parking garage, a dog grooming room, a fitness center, interior lounges, storage facilities for packages and bicycles, a laundry room, outdoor terraces at the eighth and ninth floors, and more to be announced.

Today, renderings from HS2 Architecture illustrate a new rooftop pool and surrounding outdoor space terrace area that could debut as the building’s signature amenity spaces. The outdoor pool would be slightly raised from the main roof elevation and will require the installation of a brick-enclosed lift to facilitate access for mobility-impaired residents.

Proposed rooftop floor plan at 124 Columbia Heights - HS2 Architecture

Proposed rooftop floor plan at 124 Columbia Heights – HS2 Architecture

Proposed rooftop floor plan at 124 Columbia Heights - HS2 Architecture

Proposed rooftop floor plan at 124 Columbia Heights – HS2 Architecture

The proposals also call for a new street-level garage door, marquee, and curb cut for the on-site tenant parking garage, as well as a new elevator and stair bulkhead. New mechanical equipment would be installed on the eighth floor terrace, in addition to an ornamental canopy structure.

When complete, the building is expecting to yield around 150,000 square feet of residential area.

Ilustration of existing conditions (left) and proposed changes (right) at 124 Columbia Heights - HS2 Architecture

Illustration of existing conditions (left) and proposed changes (right) at 124 Columbia Heights – HS2 Architecture

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6 Comments on "Developers Propose Rooftop Pool at 124 Columbia Heights in Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn"

  1. Regardless whether LPC approves this addition, they may still not be allowed to build their pool because of Zoning restrictions. This is a limited height district, so one cannot build anything to higher than 50 feet and any legally non-complying building w/r/t height may not be increased in height. There are certain obstructions that are allowed to extend above the height limit, but a pool is not one of them. Unless you are going to cut open the roof slab and drop the pool in to occupy some of the floor space below, they will probably not be able to do this as of right. (As it appears in the rendering, the new pool is to be built above the existing roof with a new pool deck level being created above the roof at the level of the pool rim.) Bjarke Ingels will have the same problem at around the corner at 111 Hicks Street. That is, of course, unless they can prove financial hardship at the BSA and get a variance.

  2. I would have requested a solid perimeter fence that can block some of the breeze, but otherwise this looks fine.

  3. David in Bushwick | January 25, 2021 at 9:02 am | Reply

    Seems like a lot of effort and cost for something so small that will rarely be used. But that’s privilege…

  4. fine with the pool (shocked they didn’t use glass partitions to block the wind) but they should in no way allow for a garage, that street is tiny and already filled with cars.

  5. Regardless of what LPC says, there is a real possibility that this pool cannot be constructed as-of-right. On top of being a member of a landmarked district, this building is located in a limited height district (LH-1) in which no building may be built to greater than 50 feet tall (certain permitted obstructions are allowed to exceed this elevation). This applies to existing non-complying buildings (those that may already be greater than 50 feet tall) in that they cannot increase their height any more than already exists. The new pool they show is above the existing roof slab and they are proposing to build a new deck around the pool at the level of the pool’s rim. This will not be allowed because a pool is not a permitted obstruction. Also, depending upon the area of the new pool deck and the use of the space beneath, the pool deck and/or the space beneath the pool deck may count additional floor area, further increasing the degree of non-compliance, which wont be allowed. Bjarke Ingels is going to have a similar problem with the pool that he is proposing at the 30-story tower around the corner at 111 Hicks Street. Most likely, a variance will be needed in order to construct the pool as proposed, but that will be difficult to obtain because one generally needs to show some sort of hardship.

    If the pool is really desired, the as-of-right solution is to make an opening in the existing roof and drop the basin of the pool into the upper-most floor. This takes away rentable square footage of the top-most floor, however.

  6. This swimming pool idea is highly unnecessary, yet it’s a very beautiful location for it. So, if the developers don’t care, then just let them do it.

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