Designation Testimony

Testimony for Proposed Brooklyn Edison Building Individual Landmark


Brooklyn Edison Building – 345 Adams Street, Brooklyn (aka 372-392 Pearl Street, 11-17 Willoughby Street) 


The proposed designation of a renaissance Revivalstyle commercial building designed by McKenzie, Voorhees & Gmelin and built in 1922-1926 for the Brooklyn Edison Company.

As the citywide advocate for New York’s architectural, historical and cultural neighborhoods, The Historic Districts Council supports the designation of the Brooklyn Edison Building at 345 Adams Street as an Individual Landmark.

Designed by the lauded firm McKenzie, Voorhes & Gmelin noted for such buildings as the ATT Long Distance Building and Brooklyn Borough Hall, the Brooklyn Edison Building helps tell the story of Downtown Brooklyn’s illustrious commercial history.

The building’s Renaissance Revival grandeur expresses the ambition of the Borough. At the same time, the historic changes made to the building, including changes to its siting that render the Adams St. facade more highly visible, articulate Brooklyn’s 20th century development. To look at this building is to watch time pass across stone.

LPC identifies the building’s original primary facades as those facing Pearl and Willoughby Streets, and notes that the Adams Street facade was exposed during construction of Brooklyn Civic Center and expansion of Adams Street in the 1950s. In the 21st Century, that facade received even more attention. Storefronts were added along Adams Street in 2009, interpreting and replicating elements of the historic arched windows found on the Pearl and Willoughby facades.

From every angle, this building offers a monumental embodiment of Brooklyn’s history.

In fact, we know there is so much history in Downtown Brooklyn, and so many buildings worthy of designation. We thank the LPC for acknowledging at least four of the buildings we recently proposed as part of RFEs prepared by the Downtown Brooklyn Coalition, one of HDC’s 2024 Six to Celebrate awardees. We look forward to working with LPC on the designation of those and other buildings in this neighborhood.

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