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Hills & Gardens: Townhouse Plans Win Praise

By Trudy Whitman

Another set of Cobble Hill triplets is gestating! (We’re writing here about the real estate variety of multiples.) Readers will recall the saga of 110 Amity Street — the former Lamm Institute — and its contiguous parcels on Amity and Henry. Developer Simko Aranbayev is currently excavating for the construction of 357-361 Henry Street, where three 4,000 square-foot townhouses will be built, ending one chapter in the 110 Amity story.

Three new townhouses will also rise on the empty lot at the corner of Strong Place and Kane Street. That property, along with two abutting houses on Henry Street, was purchased in December 2010 by Strong Place residents Frances Varron and Edward Slatwinski. Varron told me at the time that the ink was barely dry on the purchase documents before she and her husband were approached by developers interested in the vacant lot, long a neighborhood parking area. Donald Brennan, who heads Brennan Realty Services, a firm headquartered in DUMBO, is the new owner. Brennan retained Brendan Coburn of CWB Architects to help envision three residences for the parcel.

2 Strong Place is planned as a one-family, 4,127 square-foot, 4 ½ story, 5-bedroom custom home with a 800 square-foot detached carriage house suitable for a garage and studio. The design for 4 Strong Place also shows a one-family home. This one measures 3,877 square feet and has 4½ stories with five bedrooms. The outdoor space features multiple terraces and a large rear garden. 4A Strong is approximately the same square footage as number 4, but is designed as a two-family dwelling with a garden-level, one-bedroom rental unit.

Prior to vetting by Community Board 6’s Landmarks Land Use Committee, the plan was presented to interested Cobble Hillers on January 17 by the developer and the architect. In a phone conversation with this columnist afterward, Cobble Hill Association President Roy Sloane called the concept “a lovely plan.” Sloane said the renderings indicate designs that are “architecturally reminiscent of the building on the corner of Henry and Kane” with a similar “Dutch” roof line.

“We’ve had no objections to any aspects of the designs,” Sloane continued. “They’ve [the architect and developer] graciously reached out to us and asked us to arrange a community meeting, and I think all of the neighbors were very pleased with it.”

A similarly positive reaction was registered by the Landmarks Land Use Committee at a meeting on January 26, according to member Jerry Armer. “All comments made by committee members were very favorable,” wrote Armer in an email. In a unanimous thumbs-up, the committee voted 15-0 to recommend to the full community board approval of the new buildings as presented. No changes were suggested.

Reached by telephone as he was preparing to present the project to the Historic Districts Council, architect Brendan Coburn commented that he was “pretty happy with how the project’s evolving.” He said the plans had already been presented to the Landmarks Preservation Commission, and the design team had implemented requests that the commission recommended. The public hearing at LPC is scheduled for February 21.

Donald Brennan, the developer and head of the sales agency, is interested in pre-selling before shovels hit the ground, he said in a telephone interview. The largest of the three homes is listed at $5.95 million, which, curbed.com indicates, would be the most expensive one-family ever sold in Cobble Hill. But Brennan stressed that list price is “full asking price” and that “discount” prices for “preconstruction buying” are on the table. He is already in discussion with two solid candidates for two of the homes, he said.

“The discount that is available would bring it [the price] back in line with what existing not-new town homes trade for in that neighborhood,” Brennan noted.

Another plus of preconstruction purchase, the developer added, is that the buyers would have the right to participate in choosing interior finishes, particularly in the kitchen and bathrooms.

If all goes according to plan, construction would begin in June of this year, with late summer 2013 as the target move-in date.

February 1, 2012 - 1:50pm


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