Architectural eye candy near Downtown Brooklyn’s 1,066-foot-tall skyscraper site

Eye On Real Estate

April 27, 2016 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
This 1,066-foot-tall skyscraper will share a development site with landmarked Dime Savings Bank in Downtown Brooklyn. Rendering by SHoP Architects via the Landmarks Preservation Commission
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It’s gonna be huge.

No, wait. That’s somebody else’s catchphrase.

Let’s try again. This is a big deal. Very big.

The city Landmarks Preservation Commission recently greenlighted JDS Development’s and the Chetrit Group’s 1,066-foot-tall skyscraper project at 340 Flatbush Ave. Extension. Iconic Dime Savings Bank — which is landmarked inside and out — is part of the development. The neo-Classical building at 9 DeKalb Ave., which looks like an ancient temple, is slated for renovation and adaptive reuse as retail space.

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Thanks to air rights from the Dime building, the mega-project can now get underway with no need for the developers to seek further city approvals. As the Brooklyn Eagle previously reported, JDS Development’s Michael Stern said construction will start sometime this year.

The thousand-plus-foot-high rental-apartment tower, with an interlocking hexagonal design by SHoP Architects, will be Brooklyn’s tallest building.

In honor of this supertall addition to the B’klyn skyline, we decided to take Before And After photos of architectural eye candy — and one eyesore — in the neighborhood surrounding the site where it’s being developed.

We made sure to snap some shots of the stunning Dime building. There’s a sidewalk shed surrounding it, but even so, it’s easy on the eyes.

These are the Before pictures, of course. We’ll take the After pix in a couple years, as soon as construction is finished.


City Point

A narrow lane called Fleet Street separates Dime Savings Bank and JDS Development’s supertall tower site from mixed-use mega-development City Point.

Tenants have been moving into City Point’s two completed rental apartment buildings, which are known as 7 DeKalb Ave. and City Tower.  A third apartment tower, which will use the address 138 Willoughby St., is planned for the complex. It will be 692 feet tall.

The day we snapped photos, workers were putting up a construction fence in front of the City Point complex’s retail base, where construction is ongoing.

City Point and Dime Savings Bank are both situated on Albee Square, a funky little plaza on the edge of Fulton Mall.

We could spend all day regaling readers with tales of this retail corridor’s distinguished past, and the ebb and flow of its fortunes over the years. Numerous stories on this subject can be found on this website.


436 Albee Square

Across the street from City Point, construction is proceeding at 436 Albee Square. It will be a 28-story tower with 150 apartments plus commercial space, city Buildings Department records show.

Yoel Goldman is the president of the LLC that owns the site, city Finance Department records indicate. The developer paid $30 million for the property.

The Offerman Building

The Offerman Building is a tasty piece of Romanesque Revival-style eye candy.

Its architect back in the 1890s was Danish immigrant Peter J. Lauritzen. Sugar baron Henry Offerman commissioned it to serve as a store for S. Wechsler and Brother.

Albert Laboz’s United American Land (UAL) has spent the past several years renovating and re-tenanting the individual city landmark at 503 Fulton St.

Retailers now include Old Navy and T.J. Maxx. A new glass building UAL constructed right next door houses Swedish retailer H&M and Nordstrom Rack.  

Construction continues on condos on the upstairs floors of the Offerman Building, which is on the corner of Duffield Street. We heard that stoves have been installed in the kitchens, but other work is yet to be done.


A.I. Namm & Son Department Store

A.I. Namm & Son Department Store, an individual city landmark at 450 Fulton St., is another piece of architectural eye candy.

Its architects were Robert D. Kohn and Charles Butler.   

It was built in the 1920s in what was then a modern design, and has a façade of Indiana limestone with bronze trim.

It housed a department store founded by Polish immigrant Adolph I. Namm that became a smashing success.

The son referred to in the company’s name was Benjamin Harrison Namm.

The Chera family has owned the building for several decades, city Finance Department records indicate.

Gage & Tollner

The once-proud rowhouse at 372-374 Fulton St. is in nightmarish condition.

For more than a century, it was the home of Gage & Tollner, a swank restaurant where patrons dined by the glow of gas-lit chandeliers. The walls were covered with mirrors and burgundy velvet.

Oh, the nostalgia.

The building’s exterior is landmarked and so is the interior — which is a rare thing indeed. That’s also the case with Dime Savings Bank.

The cut-rate retailer that occupies the former restaurant space has covered the walls up to the ceiling with hangers for winter coats and other clothing for sale. Track lighting looms overhead alongside the row of old-fashioned chandeliers, which have naked light bulbs screwed into them.

An LLC that has Samuel Jemal as the president of its managing member purchased the building for $2.8 million in 2004, Finance Department records indicate. The seller was an entity headed by Joseph Chirico, the last restaurateur to operate Gage & Tollner.

In 1995, Chirico had purchased the building for $653,000 in a foreclosure, Finance Department records show.

Grove Alley

Parallel to Fulton Mall, there’s an intriguing dead-end street known as Grove Place.

A couple years ago, the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership started calling the gritty but groovy single-block street Grove Alley. The organization hosted wonderful parties there and got street artists to paint murals on the walls of the buildings.

An Adam America Real Estate project promises to enliven the alley in a more permanent way. The developer plans to build a 157-unit, 34-story residential tower at 8-16 Nevins St., at the end of the alley, Buildings Department records indicate.

The site is a vacant lot at this point. Bushburg Properties had originally planned to build there.

The Walentas’ Brooklyn Cultural District tower

There is a pair of architectural icons when you head towards Flatbush Avenue from JDS Development’s skyscraper site: 286 Ashland Place, which is under construction, and its famous neighbor, the Williamsburgh Savings Bank. 

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