Is a “Supertall” Coming to Brooklyn?

According to Crain’s, Developers Michael Stern and Joseph Chetrit have acquired the landmarked Dime Savings Bank building at 9 Dekalb Avenue, which the story notes, could be repurposed as a high-end retail store, such as Apple. The developers have also acquired air rights which would enable them to build on an adjoining lot a building taller than the Empire State Building. The Crain’s piece quotes a “source familiar with the deal” as saying the developers will probably build something between 1,000 and 1,200 feet tall, or slightly shorter than the ESB without its radio tower. It would be decidedly taller than anything else in Brooklyn now: the tallest building in the Borough, according to Crain’s is 388 Bridge Street, at 590 feet.

The building is likely to resemble 432 Park Avenue (photo), a slender shaft about which your correspondent expressed his opinion here.

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  • Andrew Porter

    There’s a supertall scheduled to rise just across the East River, at a site just south of South Street Seaport. Then there’s the 70+ story building going up just north of the Manhattan Bridge in Manhattan. Then there’s the Howard Hughes Corporation plan for another tower just north of the Seaport, this side of the FDR. Then there’s…

    Here’s an image of the city from the 1936 science fiction movie “Just Imagine!”:

  • Willow Street Watch

    Once, in a strange lost age (er, before 1970) this was a city filled with beautiful substantial safe buildings.

    Now this city is filled with cost to square foot ugly, and believe us, dangerous construction.

    This is an age of uglyness, binality and stupidity……

  • Jorale-man

    NYC right now reminds me a bit of suburban Houston: unregulated development gone amuck. But instead of it generating strip malls, big box stores and other forms of horizontal sprawl, it’s vertical.

  • Eddyde

    Curious to know what evidence you have to support “believe us, dangerous construction”?
    And who is us?

  • R.O.Shipman

    At the same time, what better place in NYC to build up than downtown Brooklyn? With all the transit options in the neighborhood, we can had housing stock without significantly increasing traffic. The city desperately needs more housing and it can’t build out, so it must build up.
    Maybe you could make an argument that the ugly “finger buildings” that went up/are going up in Williamsburg and Greenpoint are development run amuck, but making that argument in downtown Brooklyn is just being anti-development for anti-development’s sake. Not all that surprising that the sentiment would be expressed here on this ultimate NIMBY board, I guess.

  • Willow Street Watch

    As I have endlessly mentioned, both the Yale school of architecture (no less) and a major organization growing out of the world trade center/
    9-11 disaster are major efforts towards safer buildings.

    But let me ask you..does it make sense, that we are making enemies all over the world, and in our major cities we are now increasingly building structures with marginal resistance to deliberate damage?

  • StudioBrooklyn

    I agree! Why must we carry on this suicidal upward thrust toward God and the scores of terrorist fighter pilots who reside in His lap, waiting to rain down their terrible attacks on us from Heaven, when the obvious and rational solution is to plummet down, down, into bunkers and wait there for the inevitable carnage to pass us by?

  • Willow Street Watch

    I won’t dignify that with a response. Except to note that behavior like this is not contributive.

  • Willow Street Watch

    Your comment is the great cry of the developer/architectural mindset.

    First of all, we have a quality of housing problem due to our having an aging housing stock which was not upgraded because of the declining quality of life in the city. Disasterious policies which led to the loss of a viable middle class. The answer to this from the policy makers was not to try to cause a restoration of a stable middle class. No, their answer was, immigration for poorer areas and yuppies for “better” areas. Neither of course, begins to replace a classic stable middle class, but the financial community and the NGO’s along with waves of morons in government, thought that was great.

    Now we are creating waves of housing for more obnoxious, irespon-sible self focused yuppies and Ugo Eurobucks types. Good idea. Drive out what remains of the middle class. And, who exactly is going to pay for the infastructure which already under very significant decline and stress? The developers/architectural/construction sector? They want to take their profits and run. The Real Estate sector?

  • Bornhere

    Wow. It didn’t take long for the Other Godwin’s Law to be invoked….

  • Willow Street Watch

    The question is what will restore a stable middle class? What would attract those who fled from the city in the last 40 years or would attract a new stable middle class into the city. You need an employment sector, not easy with 50 years of exporting industry. Only THEN we can address housing in any kind of responsible basis.

    Oh by the way, the very LAST thing we need is some wild development is great type or child of the Frankfurt school lecturing us on NIMBY.
    If someone dumps some toxic waste next to my home and I don’t feel it belongs there that somehow makes me a bad guy? really?

    You can poison a neighborhood or a whole city in many ways, high taxes, the wrong or worsening housing, the wrong neighbors, ALL of which happened here. So there are VERY legitimate reasons to have concerns and not want the many destructive syndromes now at play in the Heights.

  • skunky


  • skunky

    “unregulated development” is a hilarious way of describing NYC building codes and zoning laws. Welcome to BHB, R.O.Shipman, where no development larger than three stories is reasonable.

  • Michael M.

    I disagree. Downtown Brooklyn is a very bad place to put so many tall residential buildings.

    1. These residential towers tend to replace commercial buildings that hold a lot of small and medium
    sized companies and good middle income jobs. A residential tower will hold perhaps 4 to 6 jobs at most.
    since the rezoning, Downtown Brooklyn lost over 1 million square feet of office space. Think of how many lost companies and jobs and tax revenue that represents.

    2.The towers constructed do nothing to solve the housing crisis. They make it worst. This is because most of the new construction is luxury apartments with a few “affordable units” for people that make only $100,000 per year. There is no shortage of luxury housing in the city. On top of that the city looses even more money by tax giveaways to developers for “affordable units”.

    3. By adding a large stock of luxury high priced apartments in downtown the surrounding areas are affected by rents rising. Eventually more people move out, less people can live here, even upper middle income people. according to the New York times.

    “Between 2006 and 2013, more people left Brooklyn than moved there —
    about 618,000 versus 437,000 — according to an analysis of census and
    other data by Susan Weber-Stoger, a researcher in the sociology
    department at Queens College”

    4—- The whole principle of building residential in a commercial center is wrong. A century’s worth of investment in the transportation hub was to bring people in from the surrounding and distant areas making it easier for companies and people to work in a “business district”. Now that is being reversed. They are re-purposing downtown for a privileged few to live there and be able to go anywhere in the city at the cost of companies, jobs, tax revenue ect.
    –So much sacrifice by so many for so few.–

    When I look out the window I see so much land in Brooklyn where these tall residential buildings can be built.
    corridors such as Flatbush avenue, 3rd avenue, kings highway around the elevated subway tracks. All these should be up zoned. Downtown Brooklyn should be up-zoned even more but only for commercial buildings.

  • Henry Ruffles

    This is probably the best comment. Ever.

  • R.O.Shipman

    (1) There’s no reason a new tower couldn’t have some commercial space. And I just don’t believe that the protection of a squat, antiquated, likely underused five-story office building is a reason to oppose this type of development.

    (2) So which is it, are these developments turning Brooklyn into a ghost town or making Brooklyn horribly overcrowded? It seems that every other development post on this website leads to a cascade of comments that the area doesn’t have the resources (schools, medical, fire, etc.) to handle the influx of new people. You’re saying adding a 1,000+ ft. high building is going to have the opposite effect. It can’t do both.

    (3) My argument is that the entire city needs more housing stock, which necessarily requires building up. I would love for a comprehensive housing program that was building more and better housing for the truly needy, but our society lacks the political will to get that done. But, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t add housing stock for the luxury market, at the very least it will replace lost residences in brownstones that are purchased and recombined into single family homes.

    (4) I don’t see why business districts are even needed these days. In the wired age of internet, video-conferencing, etc., the physical proximity to other businesses is completely unnecessary. Mixed use is completely appropriate. And alternatively, building where your residents can easily reach lower manhattan and all of midtown is great for residents and the environment. The fact that the the transportation hub was built for a business center 100 years ago has no bearing on what we use that transportation hub for today.

    (5) We seem to be in agreement that building should take place, and I agree that upzoning your cited areas would be good for housing stock in this city. However, neighborhood opposition would almost certainly make such moves impossible, especially to build at the scale necessary to really make a difference. In the meantime, we should not be opposed to building in locations where there is both the will to build and the opportunity to do so.

  • StoptheChop

    The City Council simply refuses to address what’s happening with as-of-right zoning– saying “that’s tough for you” (just like with the Fortis highrises at LICH, or BBP and BPL).And even if it’s required, ULURP is an exercise in CYA, designed to give a developer (who says “infrastructure ain’t my problem”) whatever it wants. NYC government has created a paradigm that as long as a developer includes a public good somewhere ( a good that that City Hall/Council recognize is needed but they themselves refuse to provide — the flip side being to ignore any negative infrastructure impacts on sanitation, transportation, etc), anything goes. This is no way to engage in “city planning”.

  • Eddyde

    You “endlessly mentioned” some unknown articles and one unnamed organization that grew “out of the world trade center/9-11 disaster”
    Um that wouldn’t be the “Truthers”would it?