480 Nostrand Avenue
140–144 Hancock Street
Montrose Morris, 1892
Montrose Morris, a Brooklyn architect, designed his own residence in Bedford-Stuyvesant and opened it to the public to advertise his services. His house attracted Louis Seitz, an investor, who then commissioned Morris to design the Renaissance Apartments as well as the Alhambra Apartments at 500-18 Nostrand Avenue, 29-33 Macon Street. The single-family rowhouse was the standard unit of housing for middle-class families at the time, while multi-family buildings were limited to often squalid tenements. Both of the Alhambra and Renaissance Apartments are early examples of elegant multi-family dwellings designed to sway public opinion.
The Renaissance is reminiscent of a Loire Valley chateau with its corner towers, a steep mansard roof, monumental arches and surface treatment in buffcolored brick and terra cotta. The structure was designed with features to attract residents—parquet floors and other decorative materials that mimicked neighboring brownstones. The Landmarks Preservation Commissioned described the Alhambra and Renaissance Apartments (both individual New York City landmarks) as the “most prestigious and impressive multi-family buildings in Brooklyn.”