The Landmarks Preservation Commission will “calendar” the Prospect Heights Historic District, the first step toward protecting one of Brooklyn’s finest — and most endangered — historic neighborhoods.
“The Municipal Art Society of New York (MAS) applauds the Landmarks Preservation Commission for moving to protect this very special and threatened neighborhood,” said Lisa Kersavage, director of advocacy and policy, MAS. “The process by which the historic district was created is a model of civic partnership coupled with cutting-edge technology.”
Prospect Heights is rich in historic architecture, with blocks of beautiful Italianate and neo-Grec rowhouses, interspersed with churches, small commercial and apartment buildings. Located just north of Prospect Park, the neighborhood has seen few changes since it was first developed in the late 19th century. Today it is threatened by the Atlantic Yards project, a proposal by the developer Forest City Ratner to build 16 towers and a sports arena on a 22-acre site adjacent to the neighborhood.
“The Landmarks Commission has obviously recognized the threat posed to the character of one of Brooklyn’s most well-preserved brownstone neighborhoods,” said Gib Veconi, chair of the Prospect Heights Development Corporation. “The pressure from the Atlantic Yards project and other recent developments are of grave concern to the hundreds of local residents who have written in support of historic designation for Prospect Heights. We’re all grateful for LPC’s swift action in moving the process forward.”
This announcement marks a significant milestone for an innovative civic partnership between MAS and the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Corporation (PHNDC). The two groups teamed up in 2006 advocate for historic district designation. The proposed district’s boundaries, which contain more than 750 buildings, closely match those that were recommended by the two organizations.
The next step in the process of designation will be a public hearing in fall 2008.