When someone mentions skyscrapers to us, our thoughts turn to the towering monoliths of midtown, or the glass giants of lower Manhattan. The Landmarks Preservation Commission has been considering creating the first historic skyscraper district in the city for the past several years, but it wouldn't be in either of those places, or in Manhattan at all—instead, it would be in Brooklyn Heights, by Borough Hall. “We have skyscrapers in Downtown Brooklyn that rival Manhattan’s. We want to make sure we don’t lose them,” Brooklyn Heights Association Executive Director Judy Stanton told the Post.
The possibility of a skyscraper district was first discussed in 2005, according to Brownstoner. The district would run along Court Street, from Montague Street four blocks south to Livingston Street, and would protect Brooklyn Borough Hall and 19 high-rise commercial and government office buildings, predominantly from the late 19th Century and early 20th Century, from developers ruddy forward-thinking fingers. Those buildings include the 35-story Montague-Court Building at 16 Court Street and the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce Building at 75 Livingston Street.
A public meeting will be held next Tuesday to discuss the matter, but already some developers are scoffing at the idea: "I think it’s unwarranted. By trying to preserve the past, you prevent new development that could improve in the existing architecture” of the borough’s skyline, said Michael Slattery, senior vice president of the Real Estate Board of New York. Proponents, including the Brooklyn Heights Association, argue that landmark designation doesn't prevent new development or renovations, but rather creates a new set of controls to maintain the architectural consistency of the neighborhood.