Brooklyn may soon get a tower nearly as tall as the Empire State Building
A rendering of a tall tower that approximates what developer Michael Stern could build on his site in downtown Brooklyn.
Brooklyn could soon have a residential skyscraper as tall as the Empire State Building.
Developer Michael Stern, the builder of one of the tallest luxury condo towers on Manhattan’s Billionaires’ Row, and real estate developer Joe Chetrit have struck a $90 million deal to acquire the former Dime Savings Bank of New York, located adjacent to the famed restaurant Junior’s in downtown Brooklyn.
The bank at 9 Dekalb Ave. is a 150-year-old landmarked Neo-Roman building with a domed roof and an ornate interior. But perhaps more important than the building, which could become a prime retail location for an upscale brand like Apple, are the development rights that come with it: roughly 300,000-square-feet.
Mr. Stern could use them to build a tower next door at 340 Flatbush Avenue Extension, a property he owns in partnership with Mr. Chetrit. Combined with existing air rights, a nearly 600,000-square-foot tower could rise there.
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. One source familiar with the deal suggested that Mr. Stern could build a tower potentially higher than the Empire State Building, whose spire stands at 1,454 feet. Only one other residential tower plans to soar that high, a 1,775-foot-tall building being developed by Extell Development, which is currently under construction in Manhattan on West 57th Street, known as Billionaires’ Row.
A more likely outcome is a tower that is as tall as the Empire State Building itself, minus its antenna. That’s a cool 1,250 feet. A source familiar with the deal said the tower will likely be between 1,000 feet and 1,200 feet tall.
According to published reports, the tallest tower in Brooklyn is 388 Bridge St. at 590 feet tall—half the size of what Mr. Stern may have planned for his site—followed by The Brooklyner, which is 514 feet tall.
The landmarked Dime Savings Bank of New York at 9 DeKalb Ave. could become home to a major retailer.
Mr. Stern, a Crain’s 40 Under 40, is already erecting a tower at 111 W. 57th St. that will be over 1,400 feet tall. That building is also under construction and will cater to ultra-wealthy buyers who will pay tens of millions of dollars for apartments with sweeping views of nearby Central Park. Mr. Stern secured $725 million in construction financing from AIG and Apollo Global Management in recent weeks to proceed with work on that project.
The deal at 9 Dekalb Ave. plays into Mr. Stern’s strength of meshing landmarked structures with new construction into high-end luxury residential space. At 111 W. 57th St., Mr. Stern, who is building that tower in partnership with Property Markets Group, is incorporating an existing building whose ground-floor retail space used to be a showroom for the piano maker Steinway & Sons and is landmarked. Mr. Stern, also in partnership with PMG, transformed a former Art Deco-era Verizon Building at West 18th Street into one of the most successful luxury condo conversions—called Walker Tower—in the city in recent years.
Mr. Stern could link 9 Dekalb Ave. into the new tower as a lobby entrance or use it separately as retail space.
Bob Knakal, the chairman of investment sales at Cushman & Wakefield, handled the sale of 9 Dekalb Ave. for JPMorganChase.
By Daniel Geiger , Crains New York
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