Community Board 2 committee gives thumbs-up to development combining Brooklyn’s tallest tower and landmarked Dime Savings Bank

February 18, 2016 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
This 1,066-foot-tall tower is planned for 340 Flatbush Ave. Extension, next to the landmarked Dime Savings Bank. Renderings by SHoP Architects
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Now that will be an interesting marriage.

The tallest tower in Brooklyn is being combined in a single development project with one of the borough’s greatest architectural icons, the former Dime Savings Bank.

The 1,066-foot-tall skyscraper planned for 340 Flatbush Ave. Extension in Downtown Brooklyn will have a low-rise glass entryway that will make the iconic bank building newly visible from that street.

The dome atop the Dime building, which is a century-old city landmark, can be seen peeking above the skyscraper’s entrance in one rendering by SHoP Architects.

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In another rendering depicting the Flatbush Avenue Extension entrance to the planned 73-story residential and commercial tower, dramatic columns that grace the interior of the now-untenanted bank building are visible out on the sidewalk thanks to huge windows.

Gregg Pasquarelli of SHoP Architects showed the renderings to Community Board 2’s Land Use Committee at a meeting Wednesday night at NYU Tandon School of Engineering’s Dibner Building.

In order to build the glamorous tower design, two annexes of the neo-Classical bank at 9 DeKalb Ave. must be demolished, one of them five stories tall, another a single story in height, he said.    

Also, SHoP Architects’ design calls for the removal of tellers’ counters from the banking hall.

After expressing enthusiasm for the skyscraper design, the community board committee voted to approve the planned modifications to the stunning former savings and loan building, whose façade is ringed with columns. It combines ancient Greek and Roman design elements, and resembles a temple.

The properties cost $133 million

The bank is an individual city landmark, meaning that changes to its exteriors can only be made with the approval of the city Landmarks Preservation Commission. And the LPC’s approval is required for alterations to the building’s first-floor banking hall — it’s an interior landmark, which is a rarity in New York City.

The bank property and the Flatbush Avenue Extension site both belong to a single development team and are components of a single development project.

The team, which consists of the Chetrit Group and Michael Stern’s JDS Development, paid $90 million for the Dime building this past December, city Finance Department records indicate. The developers bought the 340 Flatbush Ave. Extension site for $43 million in 2014, Finance Department records show. 

Almost twice as tall

The height of the planned skyscraper was not a subject of debate by the community board committee.

A 1,000-plus-foot tower can be built as of right at 340 Flatbush Ave. Extension thanks to air rights from the landmarked bank.

The tower will be nearly twice the height of the two new residential properties that are currently Brooklyn’s tallest buildings — 388 Bridge St. and AVA DoBro at 100 Willoughby St. — as well as the Hub, a slightly taller residential tower under construction at 333 Schermerhorn St.  

According to city Buildings Department records, the design for 340 Flatbush Ave. Extension includes 463,470 square feet of residential space configured as 417 apartments and 92,694 square feet of commercial space.  

The banking hall at 9 DeKalb Ave. — which was occupied until last year by a J.P. Morgan Chase branch — will become a retail space, Pasquarelli said at the CB2 meeting.  

In his presentation, he called the tower design “a series of interlocking hexagons.”

The proposed tower’s construction materials are inspired by the landmarked bank building, but with a slightly different palette: White marble, crystal gray vision glass, bronzed metal and blackened stainless steel.

The tower’s glass façade will be overlaid with “tubes” of stone and metal, Pasquarelli said, that are visual references to the columns on the bank.

The Dime building needs a lot of restoration work, including the removal of ATM buildouts on the bank’s portico that faces Albee Square.

Architectural conservator Richard Pieper, who also spoke at the community board meeting, said repairs will be made to the marble façade, which is cracked.

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