There are few things New Yorkers love more than gazing up at and fretting about the increasing amount of half-empty luxury "supertall" skyscrapers in the city, but so far, those towers have exclusively been erected in Manhattan. Now the fun is spreading to other parts of the city: The Brooklyn Tower reached its full height this week, making it the first supertall skyscraper in the borough.
This 93-story, 1,066-foot-tall residential building, which is located at 9 DeKalb Avenue in Downtown Brooklyn, has been under construction since 2018. It cost $750 million to develop and was designed by SHoP Architects in conjunction with developer JDS Development (SHoP and JDS also collaborated on the 1,428-foot-tall building at 111 West 57th Street).
For comparison, the second tallest building in the borough is Brooklyn Point, which is 720-feet tall, and has 68 floors.
The mixed-use building incorporates the landmarked early 20th-century Dime Savings Bank; JDS bought the bank and its air rights for $95 million in 2016. The bank is adjacent to, rather than directly a part of the building, but it will serve as a retail space and an entry to the tower through its colonnade.
And as you can see, the Greco-Roman design—which includes some classic fluted columns and a domed roof—has been lovingly preserved. Back when they first approved the project, the Landmark Preservation Commission called it “flawless” and “enlightened urbanism at its best,” touting that it “improved the vision of this historic landmark.”
Altogether, there will be 550 units (with 30 percent affordable housing) in the building, with 400 rentals and 150 condos for sale. The building is expected to start selling units sometime next spring and leasing them next summer, with occupancy scheduled for late 2022.
In a press release, the developers write that the building is a significant architectural milestone for the borough, and a symbol of Brooklyn's "undeniable spirit, expressive culture, and rich diversity and history." SHoP's founder Gregg Pasquarelli added, “As more people look to move to Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn, the detail that went into the texture and shape of the structure was critical. We wanted it to remain authentic, with that baroque, Brooklyn charm, but also look crisp and modern to capture the borough’s constant state of growth and influence.”
Shockingly, according to Curbed, "The project didn’t face any significant opposition when it was proposed in 2016. The local community board’s land use committee enthusiastically voted to approve the project."
The tower is still under construction, and photographer Jake Dobkin stopped by early on Thursday to take photos from the inside and roof: "My general impression was that it had pretty good views, and it’s nice they’re doing an adaptive reuse on the bank downstairs," he said. "They had a whole lot of architecture talk about honoring the borough and the unusually shaped lot, but from the outside it looks like a pretty standard 2020s tower—the most unusual thing is it’s shaped like a hexagon and they used copper-colored cladding instead of the usual steel."
Speaking to CNN, SHoP's founder Pasquarelli said he did not expect anything to come close to The Brooklyn Tower's height in the near future. "We knew that this would be the tallest building in Brooklyn—and probably will be for many decades to come," he said. "There's no other place, really, (where) you could build a building this tall."
He added that he and the developers were very aware of what it meant to be the first supertall in the borough, and were prepared for criticisms about changing the tenor of the area: "We talked a lot in the very beginning about what it means to put a supertall in Brooklyn," he said. "Is it Manhattan-only territory? Are we bringing Manhattan to Brooklyn? No. Brooklyn is such an incredible, thriving, culturally rich place. It should have its own tower."
Correction, 8pm: Jake Dobkin originally confused a hexagon, which has six sides, for a pentagon, which has only five. We regret the error.