Hotel Bossert To Become Dorm Bossert

A tipster alerted us to this news item on The Real Deal blog about the imminent sale of Hotel Bossert:

R.A.L. Companies & Affiliates is expected to buy the former Hotel Bossert at 98 Montague Street for $92 million and turn it into student housing, according to Robert Levine, president and CEO of R.A.L. Companies & Affiliates.
“It’s pretty much a done deal,” he said, adding that he expects to close on the sale by the end of the month.

The hotel, once known as the Waldorf-Astoria of Brooklyn, will now suffer the same fate as its cousin, the St. George.

Robert Levine made this amusing statement about the deal:

“It is truly a beautiful landmark building,” Levine said. He said his company intends to renovate the interior of the 140,000-square-foot building and turn it into student housing. R.A.L. would then sell or lease the building to a university.

I’m trying to picture the Waldorf-Astoria draped in purple and white. Seriously, can you see this lobby as a dorm hall?

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  • Peter Steinberg

    Ug. I can’t imagine a worse use for that building.

    I can just hear it now… “Hey baby, want to come up to my dorm room? I have a sick view of New York Harbor.”


  • hoppy

    Kegger in the Marine Roof!

  • here since 89

    this is bad news for the neighborhood.
    the bossert is our plaza hotel.
    making it a dorm house is an affront to brooklyn heights,
    an insult to brooklyn, and a dismissal of the goals of historic preservation.
    how sad that the gilded details of the bossert will now be the
    canvas for animal house bodily fluids of all kinds.
    this is the worst news of the year.
    this may be the reason, once and for all, to cash in and move out.

  • my2cents

    FYI, The Clark Street lobby of the Saint George dorm is spotlessly clean. This is a dorm, not a frat house, folks. For all of you (myself included) who complain about the lack of bars, this dorm will make an incremental shift towards having more young people in the neighborhood, and will improve market conditions for having bars and restaurants that cater to a younger crowd. What would you have preferred they do with this former Hotel? Gut it and turn it into luxury condos for the stroller set?? The rooms are probably rather small, and frankly it will be easier to “preserve” it in its original state as a dorm as opposed to tearing down walls and making apartments out of it. Plus, it is landmarked, so they aren’t going to rip out that lovely lobby.
    Lastly, wasn’t the building essentially a dorm for the jehovah’s witnesses before?

  • here since 89

    I think “my 2 cents” is overly optimistic.
    how can you think that a beaux arts monumental hotel, the finest in the borough, could be successful maintained as a dorm? who will attend to maintaining the incredibly elaborate facades and interiors? The witnesses worked hard to keep the place up, a luxury condo would likewise spend what it needed to keep the place up -but a dorm? the building is lost, bye bye.
    do you think perhaps that monumental buildings take care of themselves? have you ever owned an historic house or have you ever been responsible for the upkeep of an historic building? it is almost all-consuming.
    the bossert is toast, I am very very sorry to hear that it is going to be run by NYU or BLS or some other academic bureaucracy with zero interest in the neighborhood and zero competence in maintainng first-rate historic buildings.

  • my2cents

    “89”, I do share your concerns, but I feel you are being a bit melodramatic here. I happen to own/live in a “historic” building, and yes it takes a lot of maintenance – thank you for your condescension. Let’s say it was turned into apartments instead– you think that building will be kept intact? Nope. It will end up like the other tall, fine building at the other end of Montague at Clinton. Completely gutted and covered in scaffolding for years- an ornate shell to be filled with sub zero fridges and open kitchens. The building is not set up for apartments, and would require major work do make it so. Using it as a dorm is more likely to preserve the basic integrity of the building as it is now. To be honest the facade is not the most ornate on earth and is in excellent repair. It will not fall apart over night. The lobby is quite sumptuous and I do share your concern that it needs to be kept up. On the other side, this building is a financial asset. I don’t know about you, but if i spent 92 million bucks or more on a historic building, I would think I might take pretty good care of it. I’ll finish by saying, I do wish it were turned back into a hotel instead. But we can’t really help that now can we.

  • nancy

    I live next to the other student dorms and believe me it is not too fun. Screams out the window on the weekend. Drinking on the roof, tons of students hanging around the front smoking and throwing their butts on the ground. Plus they forced me out of the Eastern Athletic, since they get a free membership there. The Equinox is better anyway, but it isn’t next door!

  • my2cents

    I don’t see a problem with having some coeds to look at at Eastern Athletic ;-) I often feel like I am the only person under 50 when i go there.

  • Loving Brooklyn

    Have you ever walked by the St. George Hotel on a Friday morning on the way to the subway? Sometimes you have to dodge vomit. It’s not the best way to start your day. I happen to be amongst the younger generation of homeowners in the neighborhood and would prefer not to have more bars in the neighborhood. That’s why we bought here! I’m not the Park Slope type. I prefer less restaurants and noise after 10. I live in a high rise and I can hear the screams of those crazy dorm kids. It would be prudent for the Brooklyn Heights real estate market to limit the number of college students.

  • here since 89

    I am begining to think 2cent is a randy 54-year-old pretending to be younger around the coeds.
    It is really no surprise that Levine has chosen to, in effect, trash the Bossert. If it were turned into luxury apartments, it would kill his 360 Furman Street project. Who would live down there by the BQE if they could have the same great views on Montague and Hicks?
    I am not optimistic about this. I think the Witnesses have done us wrong by selling to Levine and thus turning the fabled Bossert into vomit central.

  • 1 love the Heights

    As a resident of Brooklyn Heights and an individual with several issues with the ‘violets’ I mourn for Montague street along with my fellow neighbors of the Heights.

  • Walter Mitty

    I think the buyer’s comments are just subterfuge because that’s all the building is currently zoned for. I would guess once he closes and starts applying for zoning changes/variances, the truth will come out. It doesn’t make sense to think that a university would buy/rent from him when they could have just bought it outright in the first place. He’s no dummy and knows that full well.

  • my2cents

    Good point Walter!
    And “89” you are waaaay off regarding my age, buddy. But that joke did make me chuckle.
    I’m more part of the Daniel Squadron generation actually. :-)

  • Andrew Porter

    You kids pipe down! Don’t make me come up there….

  • AliG

    What a tragedy
    I live in The Remsen and never thought the neighborhood could get any louder until now..
    I guess I’ll be placing the police on speed dial.

  • LS

    I live around the corner from the St. George dorms and they are horrible. I moved here when it was still under construction…when the neighborhood was still tranquil and pleasant and everything I thought the heights was.

    I live on the 9th floor and can still here them shouting down the block at all hours, walk around vomit on the weekends, walk through plumes of smoke when I pass the building.

    What does dorms have to do with bars in the neighborhood? Are we encouraging underaged drinking?

    I’m with Loving Brooklyn!

  • yo

    if it has to be a dorm, let’s hope for grad students….

    of course, the dream would be for it to be re-opened as a boutique hotel with a restaurant….

  • Andrew

    Isn’t having more college students going to discourage bars, who don’t really want to deal with fake IDs, underage drinking and the SLA?

    Mixing a small boutique hotel (with a bar/restaurant) with some apartments would be a much nicer addition to the neighborhood than more student housing. Anyone have $92.1 million?

  • JGM

    Some thoughts:
    *Boutique hotel/bar/restaurant would have been ideal…especially the bar/rest utilized the roofdeck
    *Do not think that the dorm will bring any new (desired) bars or better restaurants to the area. If undergrads – time and money on hands, but too young to drink… grads – no time, less money.
    *Biggest winners will be Starbucks, Kinkos, CVS and all the chain restaurants
    * Biggest losers will be the residents of BH

  • my2cents

    Why not turn it into a nursing home while we’re at it? Would that make you all happier? Keep the heights gray! that’s what I say!

  • GHB

    Let’s not blame all the local vomit on the college kids! Have you seen all the homeless activity on the Promenade lately?

  • AliG

    my2, you have the best ideas EVER!

    GHB, maybe you can write our new motto, “Brooklyn Heights, just one big vomitorium”.

  • AEB

    The Bossert as a dorm? How about the Eiffel Tower as a big-box store?

    The issue is cognitive dissonance on several levels.

    Students, with their attendant “lifestyle” paraphernalia and innocence of “form” and meaning, just don’t belong there.

  • hickster

    i live right by the st. george and cant stand that syudent roach motel. i moved here from smith street b/c i wanted a quiet, family atmosphere. the dormrats contribute nothing to the neighborhood (well other than the fascatis and a few other rests) Clark is littered with cigarette butts despite the fact that there are ashtrays right there (i guess these precious millenials cant be bothered to use them) and i have seen quite a few shady characters lurking around (party suppliers). This neighborhood is incongruous with becoming Dorm Island. Cant they go to dumbo where they can litter and destroy what is already ugly.

  • esplanader

    Apart from those who are hoping for a little nookie with the coeds (2 cents), the reaction of the community about a dorm in the Bossert is pretty negative. And I agree it would be bad. Who would have thought we would miss the Witnesses? After all they were so quiet, and clean, and sober. Sigh….

  • AliG

    My dad came to visit me from DC a few years ago. I took him on a tour of the neighborhood and when we ended up on the Promenade I whispered to him, “most of the real estate here is owned by the Jehovah’s Witnesses.” A gentleman standing near us overheard me and put his hands to his ears, wiggled his fingers and said loudly, “ooooh, booogie woooogie woooogie”. Clearly a JW with a sense of humour.

  • soulman

    Reading this blog for the last few months has drastically lowered my opinion of the residents of Brooklyn Heights. Person after person show a lack of tolerance and a surplus of negative, spiteful and just plain dumb attitudes. I live across from the Henry St dorm and I see absolutely nothing wrong with it or its inhabitants. The kids are mainly quiet, polite and respectful – much more than some of the residents of my building, users of the subway station, parents of young children, car service employees, etc.
    The influx of students is great for the neighborhood. The move-in recently reminded me and my wife of taking our kids to college a few years ago. Get a grip, you misanthropic snobs! (BTW, I’m 61)

  • my2cents

    Esplanader, my remark about coeds was a joke.
    I don’t want nookie. I want diversity. This is New York City, not Greenwich. I moved here for the quiet and beauty just like the rest of you. But i feel like many people here are such NIMBY reactionaries to ANYTHING new. They didn’t want the witnesses here back in the 60s, and now we’re begging them to stay. Ironic, no?

  • AliG

    Ah, Soulman, given your age, you’re probably asleep when all the mayhem occurs, bless your heart. Am glad the kids are respectful toward the elderly.

  • soulman

    Dear AliG –
    I should add that I play bass in a rock band with a 28 year old singer, teach middle school and walk my dog at 11pm. Get a grip. If the shoe fits…