Massey Knakal is hunting for a buyer for Downtown Brooklyn’s iconic Dime Savings Bank building

January 22, 2015 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The landmarked Dime Savings Bank at 9 DeKalb Ave. is for sale. The City Point development is seen on the left edge of the photo, and Junior's Restaurant on the right. Eagle photos by Lore Croghan
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Brother, can you spare a Dime?

And not just any old Dime will do.

This one’s clad in white marble, looks like a Classical temple and has a firing range in the basement. What more could you want from a landmark?

We’re talking about the Dime Savings Bank building at 9 DeKalb Ave., which is for sale.

News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

Massey Knakal Realty Services is amping up its hunt for a buyer for the historic property, which is one of the crown jewels of Downtown Brooklyn real estate.

An email touting the stately property situated on the Fulton Mall was sent out Tuesday by a rep for the real estate brokerage, which was hired as 9 DeKalb’s exclusive agent by building owner and current occupant JPMorgan Chase.

This is “a rare opportunity for an investor to acquire one of the most architecturally significant properties in Brooklyn and all of New York City,” James Berluti, an associate in the Capital Markets unit of Cushman & Wakefield, wrote in the email.

Cushman & Wakefield, a global commercial real estate brokerage with a big presence in New York City, announced its acquisition of metro-area firm Massey Knakal in December.

The property will be vacant this August, according to Berluti, who praised its “prime retail potential.”

Iconic 9 DeKalb, known for its dome and rows of Ionic columns, is “one of the great buildings of Brooklyn,”‘s Suzanne Spellen, who writes under the pen name Montrose Morris, said  in an April 2012 “Building of the Day” column.

The five-story property is approximately 68,904 gross square feet in size — and has air rights of more than 313,476 square feet as of right, and as much as 377,206 square feet if inclusionary housing is built, Berluti wrote. The air rights could be used to build out the property to its maximum envelope of 446,110 square feet or deployed at a neighboring site, he explained.

Berluti would do well to read the city Landmarks Preservation Commission’s designation report about Dime Savings Bank before he sends out any further marketing missives.

His email said the building was originally constructed in the mid-1850s.

According to the designation report, the original building, designed by architecture firm Mowbray & Uffinger, was built in 1906 to 1908. In 1931 and 1932, it was enlarged according to a design by architecture firm Halsey, McCormack & Helmer.

Dime, which was chartered in 1859, got its start at 211 Montague St. in Brooklyn Heights, the designation report indicates. After that, the savings and loan relocated a number of times to locations on Court Street or Fulton Street before its move to 9 DeKalb in 1908.  

According to Crain’s, which was the first publication to report that the stunning landmark is up for sale, in a basement floor there’s “a firing range that guards once used to practice their shooting skills.”   

When asked how the sales effort is progressing, Massey Knakal partner Stephen Palmese told the Brooklyn Eagle, “Unfortunately, I am not at liberty to comment.”

Washington Mutual became the owner of 9 DeKalb as a result of its January 2002 acquisition of Dime. When WaMu collapsed in 2008, federal regulators seized the failed S&L and sold it to JPMorgan Chase for $1.9 billion.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. as receiver for WaMu and JPMorgan Chase executed a confirmatory receiver’s deed for 9 DeKalb Ave. on Sept. 25, 2008, city Finance Department records indicate. That day, JPMorgan Chase paid a city real property transfer tax of $45,884,979 for the landmark and nearly 100 other New York City WaMu branch locations it took ownership of when it acquired the failed financial institution.

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