Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Brooklyn May Join the 1,000-Foot Tall Skyscraper Club

Brooklyn may soon be getting a residential skyscraper nearly 1,200 feet tall - twice as high as the next tallest building in Brooklyn. JDS Development and real estate developer Chetrit Group have struck a $90 million deal to acquire the former Dime Savings Bank of New York, located adjacent to the famed Junior's restaurant in downtown Brooklyn. The developers have also acquired air rights in the deal which would enable them to build a building on an adjoining lot taller than the Empire State Building.

The bank at 9 DeKalb Avenue is a 150-year-old landmarked building with a domed roof and an ornate interior.

But more important than the building, which might be repurposed as an event space or high-end retail outlet, are the development rights that come with it: roughly 300,000 square feet.

That’s all the partners need to build a super skyscraper on the site they own next door at 340 Flatbush Avenue Extension. Combined with existing air rights, a nearly 600,000-square-foot tower could rise more than 1,200 feet there.

Towers that tall are hard to come by even in Manhattan, and there aren’t any plans to build anything that large in any other borough yet. No building has ever eclipsed 1,000 feet in any of the boroughs outside Manhattan and only a handful of towers have crossed that mark in Manhattan, though that list is growing.

But there’s plenty of demand for a super-tall residential tower in Brooklyn—and now, one of the developers who has nurtured Manhattan’s Billionaire’s Row has the air rights to build something as tall as the Empire State Building in downtown Brooklyn.

A source familiar with the deal suggested that JDS is planning to build a tower potentially higher than the Empire State Building, whose spire stands at 1,454 feet. Only one other residential building in the city is expected to rise above that height, the 1,775-foot-tall Central Park Tower, which is currently under construction at 227 West 57th Street, known as Billionaires' Row.

The skyscraper that could rise in downtown Brooklyn will be, far and away, the tallest building in the borough – and one of the tallest buildings in New York City. Presently, the tallest tower in Brooklyn is 388 Bridge Street at 590 feet, followed by The Brooklyner, at 514 feet tall – half the size of what Stern has planned for his site.

JDS Development, which is building a super-skinny 1,400 foot tower at 111 West 57th Street in Midtown, may wind up building a similar tower in Brooklyn.

That project, which is currently underway, incorporates an existing landmark at its base - the former Steinway & Sons piano showroom and hall. The downtown Brooklyn tower may absorb the classical bank structure at 9 DeKalb Avenue in the same way.

Chetrit and JDS purchased the triangular site at 340 Flatbush Avenue in June of 2014 for $43 million. The developers had originally planned to construct a 775-foot tower on the parcel, but cancelled the project after they were turned down by the family that owns Junior's Most Fabulous Cheesecake and Deserts, who briefly put their Flatbush Avenue storefront on the market before deciding on tradition.

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