5. Austin, Nichols & Co. Warehouse
Also known as 184 Kent Avenue, the Austin, Nichols & Co. Warehouse Building is a building designed by architect Cass Gilbert in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Built in 1914-1915 in the Egyptian revival style, the building was leased to Austin, Nichols & Company, one of the world’s largest grocery wholesalers of the time. Starting in the 2000s, however, the building was converted into a residential space. Gilbert is best known for designing works like the Woolworth Building and the United States Supreme Court Building.
In September 2005, the LPC gave the building official landmark status, yet Louis Kestenbaum, a real estate developer who leases the building out as apartments, opposed the designation. The Kestenbaum family considered the building an “eyesore” while New York City Councilman David Yassky called it a “nondescript white box.”
In November 2005, a majority of City Council members voted to overturn the designation, some members advocating for the building’s destruction in favor of something nicer. Although Mayor Michael Bloomberg vetoed the vote in December 2005, the City Council overrode his veto. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places soon after and is protected by preservation easements.