On Monday, October 12, the web site DNAinfo reported that the City’s Department of Buildings has granted permits for the demolition of the Green Point Savings Bank building at 856 Washington Avenue. Its owner intends to replace the building with a 14-story condominium. The new tower is allowed under the lot's current R8X zoning, which wraps around Washington Avenue from Eastern Parkway.
The Green Point Savings Bank building was designed by architect Francis George Hasselman (1877-1932) and completed in 1928. Hasselman is known for designing Rosemary Hall, ca. 1904, Old Westbury, NY; Anderson Park, ca. 1910, Montclair, NJ; In-the-Oaks, 1923, Asheville, NC; and the Spring Brook House, 1904, Morristown, NJ. The latter two buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
In January of 2015, the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council requested the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission evaluate the Green Point Savings Bank building for designation as a New York City landmark. Its request was also supported by Brooklyn Community Board 8. In February, the request was denied. LPC Director of Research Mary Beth Betts wrote, “The agency has carefully reviewed the property and has noted that the building is not a significant example of an early-20th century bank building in terms of its architecture and siting.”
“The community of Prospect Heights is strongly united around preservation of its architectural resources,” said Gib Veconi, Chair of PHNDC. “The commitment of our residents has been demonstrated in their overwhelming support of designation of a New York City Landmark district in Prospect Heights, as well as the expansion of the neighborhood’s National Register Historic District. PHNDC has enjoyed a productive working relationship with the Landmarks Preservation Commission since designation of the Prospect Heights NYCL district in 2009. Nevertheless, we were very disappointed with the Commission’s decision not to proceed with designation of 856 Washington Avenue. It is extremely unfortunate that this historic visual resource and local landmark will now likely be lost forever.”