Real estate pros urge City Council to veto Downtown Brooklyn landmark district

The City Council will hold a hearing on the proposal to institute a new landmark district for Downtown Brooklyn tomorrow and could vote to modify or disapprove the designation, the Wall Street Journal reported. The upcoming hearing has prompted New York City’s real-estate industry to intensify its efforts to stop the landmark designation, which, it claims, will result in nearly $5 million in additional costs for property owners over the next few years.

As The Real Deal previously reported, the creation of the district would mean a spate of newly-landmarked buildings, including the Franklin Building at 186 Remsen Street, which was completed in 1887, the 13-story Temple Bar Building at 44 Court Street and a 22-story limestone, granite and brick Colonial Revival style building at 32 Court Street. It would also require property owners to pay an additional $4.7 million over about the next five years to comply with landmark regulations, the Real Estate Board of New York pointed out.

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“They will be spending more money to maintain their properties, and it may result in decisions to not reinvest in those buildings,” said Steven Spinola, president of REBNY.

The landmarks commission, which approved the district in September, doesn’t take economic impact into consideration when making these kinds of decisions, Spinola added, but REBNY is urging the city council to take those worries into account.

“All we get in response to that question is more assurances about how the cost of landmarking won’t be all that bad. Our question is why does it have to be anything?” said Ellen Murphy, president of the co-op board at 75 Livingston Street, the only residential building within the district. [WSJ]