Press | February 16, 2003

Town Houses Honor Victim on 9/11 Attack

By Nadine Brozan

The New York Times


Vernon Cherry, a Brooklyn firefighter and wedding singer who died in the attack on the World Trade Center, never lived in the Ocean Hill-Brownsville section of Brooklyn, but 73 town houses going up there are to bear his name. “I was inspired by his story,” said Peter Murray, a partner in Loewen Development, the developer of the Vernon Cherry Partnership Homes, which will be scattered over a five-block radius including Eastern Parkway, Bergen Street and Saratoga Avenue. “I knew his firehouse was in downtown Brooklyn and that he was a singer, so I thought it would be a nice thing to do.”


More than 1,000 people have submitted their names to a lottery, now closed, for buyers of the three-family town houses being built in what has been one of the city’s most blighted neighborhoods. “This is the type of housing that will bring the area out of that, and the proof is in the number of applications we have gotten,” Mr. Murray said.


Those chosen to buy the houses will acquire properties designed to be reflective of the area’s architectural past, “Round bay windows are a classic town house design in this part of Brooklyn, so we picked up on that and did an updated version,” said Magnus Magnusson, the homes’ architect. In another bow to tradition, the four buildings in the project that sit on street corners have sloped roofs coming to a peak four feet higher than the roof line. “That arrangement anchors the corner,” Mr. Magnusson said.


A joint venture of the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development and the New York City Housing Partnership, the houses are for people with incomes from $35,000 to $75,000. They are expected to cost an average of $290,000. Owners’ units will be duplexes on the first floor and half of the second floor and will include a rear yard and unfinished basement. Each house will also contain two rental apartments, one on the second floor with one bedroom that is expected to fetch about $700 a month and a floor-through with two bedrooms on the third floor that will rent for about $900.


Facades will be red brick with cast stone bases and fiberglass cornices. Funds for the $28 million project came from the state and city governments, J. P. Morgan Chase and Carver Federal Savings.


Designing for modest budgets doesn’t mean skimping, Mr. Magnusson said. “These houses will still be here in 100 years and kids are going to grow up here,” he said.


To view online click here.