The Franklin Building is the oldest building in the new Skyscraper Historic District, excluding Borough Hall, and looks very different from the other more modern buildings that make up not only the historic district but the entire area. Yet, if you were to look at this same part of Brooklyn 130 years ago, it would blend right in. This building was designed by the Parfitt Brothers, one of Brooklyn’s most prolific and talented firms of architects, who had already built their signature apartment buildings further north on Montague Street, only a year before.
Due to a fire in 1950, the mansard roof – one and a half stories – was destroyed and replaced with a simple brick parapet. The building has been vacant since 1998 and was purchased by its current owner in 2015, with plans for a full restoration and addition to the building.
The project contemplates a full restoration of the historic building, which will be converted into a boutique hotel, plus the construction of a new 5-story addition, that will be able to host a variety of events. Once completed, the building will have 37 hotel rooms, two separate restaurants, and multipurpose spaces.
As a landmarked building renovation, the design team focused on developing a design strategy that would bring together a thoughtful and rigorous restoration with a vibrant and collaborative design process for the new addition, involving architects, conservationists, artists, and entrepreneurs.
The newly renovated Remsen Hotel will provide an immersive and unique experience for its patrons, and stand as a testament to how new and old can interact and thoughtfully overlap.