Brooklyn Heights

Brooklyn Trust Company condos are almost ready to live in

Eye on Real Estate

October 28, 2015 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
O Brave New World, as Shakespeare would say — there are condos in the Brooklyn Trust Company Building. Eagle photos by Rob Abruzzese
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If Romeo and Juliet lived happily ever after, would their home be a palazzo like this one?

A Brooklyn Heights neo-Italian Renaissance-style bank modeled after the Palazzo della Gran Guardia — which is in their hometown of Verona — is undergoing a condo conversion that’s nearly finished.

The first of the Brooklyn Trust Company Building’s 12 condos will be ready for occupancy in December, Bill Ross, director of Brown Harris Stevens Development Marketing, told us the other day. His group at the real estate brokerage is exclusively handling apartment sales there.

In January, all the units should be ready to live in.

The century-old individual city landmark at 177 Montague St. is an irresistible architectural icon with a Chase branch in its stately ground-floor banking hall. The building’s newly created residents’ entrance is at 138 Pierrepont St. If it were named Capulet Street instead, both Romeo’s and Juliet’s family names would be used in the building’s addresses.

Building architect York & Sawyer was considered the premier firm in its day for designing banks whose grandeur was meant to reassure customers about the financial institutions’ strength and stability.

The condo converter, the Stahl Organization, has created model apartments in the building for potential buyers to visit. We got to see them.

Ross took us and our photographer colleague Rob Abruzzese on a tour that also included a terrific space called the owners’ lounge, with a huge living room, a sound-proof music room and playrooms for kids.

After 3½ years of work on the condo-conversion project, Ross is pleased that the finish line is near.

“It’s just such a pleasure to see the vision come to fruition,” he said.   


Liebherr wine cabinets and a ‘lazy master bedroom’

This was our second tour of the historic property. In our first visit last May, we had to wear hard hats.

Now there are impeccable apartments filled with tasteful furniture, their walls hung with paintings, their oak floors gleaming.

The firm that staged the model apartments, IMG, did a meticulous job. Every object in the rooms seems carefully chosen, right down to the box of basil-scented aromatherapeutic dryer sheets in Unit 4F’s laundry room.

The developer has included countless upscale touches. The kitchens have Liebherr temperature-controlled wine storage cabinets and Wolf stoves with six burners. There’s radiant heat built into beautiful mosaic tile bathroom floors so bare feet needn’t be cold feet.

“So perfect and so peerless,” which is a line of Shakespeare’s, came to mind when we lingered in the living room of Unit 4F.

It’s a serene place, with understated charm. There are up-close views of St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church’s Gothic Revival tower and statues of cultural luminaries on the Brooklyn Historical Society’s façade. While we’re on the subject of Shakespeare, one statue is a bust of the Bard.

In the second model apartment we saw, Unit 5I, which is a duplex, there’s a big, comfy bedroom that Ross referred to as a “lazy master bedroom” right next to the fifth-floor living room.

It will come in handy for residents who are too lazy to walk upstairs when it’s time for lights out to the apartment’s real master bedroom, which is on the sixth floor.

There are three bedrooms on Unit 5I’s sixth floor — including one that IMG has staged as a kid’s room. A staircase with a dozen steps leads up to a loft furnished with twin beds. The area at the bottom of the stairs is set up as a play space and has a wall covered with “chalkboard paint” that can be drawn on and erased like a blackboard.

As we mentioned in last spring’s story about our hard-hat tour, the building’s entire sixth floor has interesting-looking steel trusses standing out in the open here and there and remote-control skylights instead of windows.

‘Fabulous’ feedback

Seven Brooklyn Trust Company condos had been released to the market the last time we checked Brown Harris Stevens’ website. There are signed contracts for three condos, according to the site.

Three-bedroom Unit 4F, which we visited, had a $3.21 million asking price. Three-bedroom Unit 4E had a $3.348 million asking price. Four-bedroom Unit 4D had a $3.853 million asking price.

The priciest condo that’s currently listed is Unit 6L, a four-bedroom duplex with a $4.366 million asking price.

The marketing process is going well: “The feedback has been fabulous,” Ross said.

An Oct. 15 party to introduce the property to real estate professionals drew 100 brokers. A few of them sneaked their clients into the event, he said.

The Brooklyn Trust Company Building is the second York & Sawyer-designed palazzo-style bank that the Stahl Organization has turned into a condo building. The first one was an Apple Bank branch at Broadway and W. 73rd Street on the Upper West Side.

A trivia tidbit about that Apple branch: Two decades ago, when the Johnny Depp movie “Donnie Brasco” was being shot, film crews set up a fake phone booth outside of it for a scene. We remember it well — we were there, just by chance. 

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