The steel frame of a five-story residential building at 37 Montrose Avenue has reached its highest point and awaits its traditionally-styled façade, designed by Rockland County-based BMG Design Build. Chaverim Realty Corporation is the owner of the 10-unit Williamsburg project, which is being built by Jih Builders Group LLC. The pace of construction is on pace for the developer’s winter 2018 completion target.
The 25-foot-wide, 2,500-square-foot lot sits on the north side of the avenue. The structure spans 62 percent of the site, leaving space for a 38-foot-deep rear yard. The façade rises 60 feet to the parapet, reaching the maximum allowable base height permitted by local zoning. The set-back bulkhead, which adds about ten more feet to the structural height, would not be visible from the sidewalk.
The construction permit, filed in December 2015, states that 7,493 square feet of the 9,493-square-foot building would be used as residential space. The resulting floor-to-area ratio of 3.0 is consistent with the R6 residential district, which the Department of City Planning describes as “built-up, medium-density residential areas.”
DCP states that “the character of R6 districts can range from neighborhoods with a diverse mix of building types and heights to large-scale ‘tower in the park’ developments.” The latter description applies to Lindsay Park Houses across the avenue, where seven 22-story high-rises sit upon open grounds surrounding Sternberg Park. The 1964 complex completely disregards the local context of densely-built, low-rise rowhomes.
Current urban planning principles place greater emphasis upon contextual construction. 37 Montrose Avenue draws inspiration from local factories built prior to World War II. Their rigirously articulated brick façades provide sophisticated templates for architectural emulation. In contrast, standard worker housing built around the same period around Williamsburg, such as the tenements adjacent to 37 Montrose Avenue, is clad in plain vinyl siding.
Brick coursework comes in a variety of patterns that add texture and depth to the façade. Floor-to-ceiling casement windows, trimmed in dark metal, sit beneath brick arches. Shallow balconies, clad in matching dark metal, reference the neighborhood’s ubiquitous fire escapes. Stone pediments and rusticated sheet metal adds visual interest at the street level. A prominent brick cornice caps the composition.
The single tree introduced by the project would add a much-needed touch of greenery to the barren sidewalk.
The new building replaces a single-story garage built prior to World War II. The brick-faced structure, capped with an articulated cornice, most recently housed an auto repair shop. The demolition permit was filed in October 2015.
37 Montrose Avenue fills the street wall gap once left by the garage and rises prominently enough to allow for limited skyline panoramas from its 380-square-foot roof deck.
The Broadway station of the G train and the Hewes Street station of the elevated J and M trains are both within one block. Together with the large open space of Sternberg Park located a few doors to the east, it makes an argument for higher density at the block than what is currently permitted by zoning.