Coney Island

B’KLYN’s fascinating fixer-uppers: The Mermaid Avenue Chase branch building

Eye On Real Estate

September 16, 2015 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The Mermaid Avenue Chase branch was four stories tall when this photo was taken in October 2013, a year after Superstorm Sandy. Eagle photos by Lore Croghan
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In manicured, marvelous Brooklyn, fixer-upper buildings really stand out.

Some are splendid despite their disrepair. The messiness adds to their allure. Some are just a mess.

The Coignet Building, a sweet little landmark surrounded by a big Gowanus Whole Foods, is the most famous of the fixer-uppers we’ve been obsessing about lately. Here’s another:

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Why is the top half of this building gone?

JPMorgan Chase had construction workers tear the top two floors off its formerly four-story Mermaid Avenue bank building as part of a post-Superstorm Sandy renovation.

Everybody who lives in Coney Island or covered the killer hurricane knows that the Chase branch that had been housed at 2909 W. 17th St., which is the building’s address, had to be moved to a trailer after the storm. When we stopped by the other day, the branch was still situated in the trailer.

The brick Mermaid Avenue commercial property’s front door and windows are still boarded up — that is, the windows in the remaining floors in this new, sawed-off two-story version of the building.

City Buildings Department filings indicate the estimated cost of the work at 2909 W. 17th St. as  $250,000 for removing the third and fourth stories, $628,143 for renovating the building’s interior and roof and $12,804 for structural work.  

We asked JPMorgan Chase’s PR reps why the top two floors of the building were removed but haven’t yet gotten an answer.

Long ago, the property belonged to Dime Savings Bank — which was founded in the 1850s in Brooklyn Heights. Dime was acquired by Washington Mutual in 2002.

JPMorgan Chase bought WaMu after its 2008 collapse. WaMu’s receiver, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., and JPMorgan Chase signed a confirmatory receiver’s deed for the Mermaid Avenue bank building in September 2008, Finance Department records indicate. It was one of nearly 100 New York City WaMu buildings that JPMorgan Chase acquired, Finance Department records show.

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