The vacant three-story building at 274 Malcolm X Boulevard in Bed Stuy, which was left crumbling following a fire around five years ago, will become a four-story apartment building, if approved, reports The Brownstoner.

The building was included in the 2021 expansion of the Bedford Stuyvesant/Expanded Stuyvesant Heights Historic District, meaning any alterations to the circa-1879 site needs the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s approval.

Recently, Architect Asa Barak presented the commission a proposal including the addition of a new story and stair bulkhead to the existing building, and the complete renovation of the building’s exterior with new red-brick cladding. The group previously approved plans in March 2021 to modify the front and rear of the building, maintaining its three-story height with a storefront on the ground floor.

However, Barak returned with new plans for a one-story addition and the removal of the ground floor storefront, to be replaced by residential units. The new proposal includes eight units on the 2,000-square-foot lot, which sits near the corner of Macon Street.

The updated proposal was largely supported, but details surrounding the first floor facade were met with controversy as the commission wishes to keep the building aesthetic similar to buildings the surrounding area. They agreed that some storefront type of infill could work to keep the residential ground floor in step with the surrounding ground floor storefronts. The commissioners did not vote on the plans at the meeting, instead telling Barak to come back with updates when he was ready.

Barak told the commissioners the building had been vacant for four or five years following a fire, and it was suffering rapid deterioration due to a partially open roof. An application for an alteration permit was filed by Barak in January 2018, but the Department of Buildings has not yet issued a permit. Although city records say the building already has eight residential units and no store, the application says work will include converting the building from a two-family and one retail store to a five-family and one retail store. It says the building’s height will not change, indicating the application needs to be updated to include the additional story and bulkhead.

Kimberlean Donis

Kimberlean Donis is a freelance journalist based in Brooklyn. She is a student at both London City University and Williams College majoring in Political Science, Art History, and Africana Studies.

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