An attractive, early 20th century bank building has sat vacant at the corner of Pitkin Avenue and Mother Gaston Boulevard in Brownsville for a few years, a neglected architectural gem at the intersection of two major streets.
But last time YIMBY passed by the building at 1797 Pitkin Avenue, someone had started doing work on the ground floor. Now we know why: a nursing home company has filed plans to convert the commercial building into a community facility. Nursing homes and other community facilities are allowed as of right on this block, but the conversion requires a new certificate of occupancy.
The three-story building measures 31,000 square feet, including the cellar. Recent occupants include a Chase bank branch and a school.
The new owners are House Calls Home Care, headquartered nearby in Ocean Hill. They picked up the property for $3,200,000 last year, or about $100 a square foot. That’s probably high for the neighborhood, but the price seems reasonable compared to most easily accessible parts of Brooklyn. The L train is about four blocks away at Sutter Avenue, and the East New York LIRR stop is only a bit further.
We’re glad to see that House Calls has decided to preserve the building, rather than demolish it. While the company could get an extra 8,000 square feet if they constructed a new building, they would also have to add expensive parking to the project. With the conversion, they save on the cost of construction and get to avoid the city’s onerous parking requirements for community facilities.
Terjesen Associates Architects, who are based near Penn Station, will oversee the renovation.