Greenpoint

Landmarks Preservation Commission okays residential conversion of Green Point Savings Bank’s annex

May 17, 2016 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The 1950s-vintage building (right) that's connected to historic Green Point Savings Bank is slated for residential conversion. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan

Busy developer Slate Property Group is involved in a Greenpoint residential project you probably haven’t heard about until now.

It involves a decidedly un-picturesque 1950s-vintage office building — which is an annex to stunning, century-old neo-Classical-style Green Point Savings Bank at 807 Manhattan Ave.

On Tuesday, the city Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) greenlighted Slate Property Group’s plan to give the three-story, 40-foot office building a new façade and enlarge it to a five-story, 70-foot structure.

At a public hearing at the LPC’s Lower Manhattan headquarters, the preservation agency voted unanimously to approve PKSB Architects PC’s proposed design for the residential makeover of the 1950s building.

This structure — which is referred to as the Calyer Building in a memorandum of lease found in city Finance Department records — is on the corner of Calyer and Lorimer streets.  

It’s connected to grand, granite Green Point Savings Bank, which is on the corner of Manhattan Avenue and Calyer Street. The bank looks like an ancient temple, with Greek Doric columns outside its front entrance and a dome with a very beautiful interior.

The name “Green Point” is carved in stone over the historic building’s entrance, but it’s currently used as a Capital One branch.

The entire property is located within the Greenpoint Historic District, which is why the LPC’s approval is required.

After its makeover, the Calyer Building will have about 7,800 square feet of commercial space and 23 apartments, city Buildings Department records indicate.

Its new façade will be pewter-colored brick with a granite base, to complement the historic bank building.

A penthouse that’s being added to the Calyer Building will be set back from the street so it won’t block views of Green Point Savings Bank’s distinctive dome.

LPC Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan noted that the design for the residential makeover looks very much like a modified commercial building, which is “an approach I can support.”

Its subdued design will make it a “background building,” Commissioner Michael Goldblum said — it won’t compete for attention with the eye-catching bank.

It’s Slate Property Group’s project

Slate Property Group, which was founded by Martin Nussbaum and David Schwartz, focuses its work in Brooklyn and Manhattan. The firm’s principals have bought more than $1 billion in real estate in the past five years, its website says.

In the case of the Green Point Savings Bank project, Slate Property Group actually leases the Calyer Building for a 49-year term through an LLC rather than owning it, a memorandum of lease  

in Finance Department records indicates.

Nussbaum and Schwartz, the Slate Property Group co-founders, are the authorized signatories for the LLC that is leasing the Calyer Building, Finance Department and Buildings Department records indicate.

The landlord is an LLC with Michael Betesh as manager, which bought the entire Green Point Savings Bank property for $15.2 million from Capital One in October 2015, Finance Department records show.

Capital One is leasing the historic Manhattan Avenue portion of the property, which was built in 1906 and designed by Helmle & Huberty, a distinguished architecture firm of that era.

Green Point Savings Bank was founded in the 1860s. As GreenPoint Financial Corp., it grew to be a nationwide mortgage lender in the 1990s. A decade ago, GreenPoint merged with North Fork Bancorporation — which was later acquired by Capital One.