Foundation work is underway for a four-story apartment building at 535 Lorimer Street in Williamsburg. The 10-unit project, which is listed under the permit address of 539 Lorimer Street, sits within the core of the Brooklyn neighborhood, at the junction of the G and L trains.
The mid-block lot is located on the west side of the street. Zoned as R6B, the lot stretches 72 feet along the street and has a maximum depth of 100 feet. The new building replaces three wood-frame rowhomes at 535, 537, and 539 Lorimer. All three rose two stories plus basements, measured between 1,500 and 2,000 square feet each, and dated to around 1901. Their 24-foot-wide facades were clad in vinyl siding characteristic of Williamsburg. 535 and 537 were torn down by Sano Demolition Corp. by late 2015. The northernmost rowhome at 539 Lorimer, clad in light blue-gray shingle siding, still stands as demolition enters early stages. The combined lots measure 6,720 square feet.
Manhattan-based SL Development is the owner of the new project, which is being built by R&S Construction Contracting Inc. The designers at RG Architecture dispensed with the neighborhood’s vinyl siding heritage in favor of the industrial aesthetic of its pre-war lofts. A rusticated red brick façade frames large casement windows capped by stone lintels. The brick is accented with black painted metal that marks the balconies, sconces, window mullions, awnings, and railings above the roofline, where a terrace would be shared by future residents. The neo-industrial look of red brick and dark metal accents is becoming increasingly popular, particularly within former manufacturing enclaves, evident in projects ranging from John Fotiadis Architect’s 42-14 Crescent Street to the Alfredo Fredericks-designed Factory House. Since architectural trends come and go, it is best to critique their longevity by precedent. Judging by how well the loft look has aged over the years, the rebirth of the style spells good fortune for the city’s long term legacy.
The project’s official website is rather Spartan. Hosted at Blogspot, it is presented as a blogroll of demolition and construction updates. Its latest entries detail foundation progress at the main building, at the site of 535 and 537 Lorimer. The portion where 537 Lorimer still stands will feature a wing that relates the building to its rowhome neighbors, with a setback that matches existing street wall height, as well as tall front steps that are common in the traditional neighborhood.
Though the building sits in a quiet residential enclave, it is a stone’s throw away from Williamsburg’s roughly-geographical center and one of the district’s key nodes. The two commercial thoroughfares of Metropolitan Avenue and Union Avenue intersect one block northwest, where the community green at Macri Triangle sits by the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway overpass. The busy intersection marks the crossing of the L and G trains, where the Lorimer Street-Metropolitan Av station complex puts riders within a 10- to 15-minute-ride of Manhattan to the west, Downtown Brooklyn to the south, and Greenpoint and Long Island City to the north. A series of pocket parks lines the small, generally triangular squares by the BQE along a several block long stretch to the north and west. The most significant of these is the Jamie Campiz Playground, which lies two blocks west. In the meanwhile, McCarren Park, the focal point Williamsburg, Greenpoint, and the rest of northern Brooklyn, is situated eight blocks to the north. The park provides a significant array of community facilities such as fairground space, ball fields, and a public pool built in 1936 by President Franklin Delano Rooselvelt’s Works Public Administration. After being shut down since 1984, the pool reopened on June 28, 2012 after extensive renovations.