Dime Savings Bank of Williamsburgh building’s new owner can’t rent or sell it to another bank

Landmark designation is weighed for South Williamsburg icon

March 6, 2018 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The former Dime Savings Bank of Williamsburgh is under consideration for city landmark designation. Eagle photos by Lore Croghan
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One thing’s for sure.

The next occupant of the iconic Dime Savings Bank of Williamsburgh building will not be a bank.

The new owner of 209 Havemeyer St. agreed to this stipulation when it purchased the historic building last year, city Finance Department records indicate.  

News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

The 110-year-old neo-Classical bank building in South Williamsburg is in the spotlight because there was a public hearing on Tuesday about designating it as a city landmark. The hearing was held at the city Landmarks Preservation Commission’s Lower Manhattan headquarters.

More about the hearing in a moment.

Dime Community Bank, the building’s previous owner and occupant, sold 209 Havemeyer St. for $12.3 million to Havemeyer Owner LLC with Nicholas Silvers as authorized signatory, Finance Department records show.

He’s a founder of Tavros Development Partners — which in tandem with Charney Construction & Development is incorporating the Dime building into a new 23-story tower that’s being constructed on adjacent land.

According to an agreement Silvers signed in November 2017, the new owner of 209 Havemeyer St. will not sell or lease any portion of it to any U.S. or foreign bank or savings and loan. The property will not be used for a bank branch, banking offices “or otherwise for banking purposes,” the agreement says.

The agreement will remain in effect for 30 years — unless Dime Community Bank goes out of business or stops using that name or the building is “destroyed as a result of a casualty or condemnation,” the agreement notes.

Project’s co-developer supports the Dime’s landmarking

The Dime branch that had been located inside the historic Havemeyer Street building has moved to nearby 281 Broadway.

Work has started at Havemeyer Owner LLC’s development site, which is right behind the historic Dime building.

By the way, the LLC bought the site at 277 South 5th St. from Dime for $80 million in 2016, Finance Department records indicate.

Low-rise buildings that stood on the property have been demolished and foundation work is underway.

At Tuesday’s hearing, Sam Charney, an owner of the Dime building and co-developer of the adjacent tower, said the new building will have 178 rental apartments. Thirty percent of them will be affordable units.

The development will have 100,000 square feet of office space and 50,000 square feet of retail space, he said.

Charney said that landmarking the historic bank building would be a “fitting tribute” to its fine architecture. He’s all for it.

Charney didn’t talk about who the Dime building’s next tenant might be.  

In a 2017 Commercial Observer story, project architect Chris Fogarty said the bank building could be used as a lobby for office tenants or as retail space.

Preservation advocate calls the Dime building’s survival ‘remarkable’

The column-covered Indiana limestone bank building was designed by high-profile architecture firm Helmle & Huberty.

Patrick Waldo of the Historic Districts Council said it’s “remarkable” the bank building has survived Williamsburg’s rezoning and redevelopment.

“In a neighborhood sorely lacking in landmark designations and which has experienced rapid change — even by New York City standards — the recognition and protection of the Dime Savings Bank of Williamsburgh would be a welcome action,” he said.


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