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Mr. Brooklyn

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Bruce Ratner is planning to build the city’s tallest residential tower — a whopping 1,000-foot skyscraper that would dwarf the 512-foot Williamsburgh Savings Bank building, Brooklyn’s tallest.

But as with Ratner’s Atlantic Yards mega-development, the secret, closed-door deal is already casting a shadow.

“No comment,” Ratner told a Brooklyn Paper reporter who approached him at the annual Metrotech Christmas tree lighting ceremony on Wednesday night, hours after renderings of the Renzo Piano–designed 1,000-foot-tall edifice at the corner of Jay and Tillary streets were splashed all over the city’s tabloids.

Earlier in the day, a Ratner spokesman said by e-mail that the drawing “was quite old and not indicative of current plans.” But the spokesman refused to say what the current plans are.

Secrecy is nothing new for Ratner. As at Atlantic Yards, Ratner is partnering with a public agency — in this case, City University of New York — in a process that will not undergo the city’s rigorous land-use review process. Current zoning allows Ratner to build as high as he wants — but neither his company nor CUNY officials would say how high that is.

Here are some details about the closed-door public-private partnership:

• The complex — on Jay Street between Tillary Street and Tech Place — would consist of a new, 11- to 14-story City Tech laboratory and classroom building, and an adjacent underground auditorium and gym. It is not known how much Ratner would be paid for this work.

• As part of the package, Ratner would control the corner lot at Jay and Tillary streets — currently home to City Tech’s antiquated Klitgord Auditorium.

• CUNY picked Ratner’s company over rival developer Tishman Speyer in 2005. Details of each company’s bids have not been released to the public despite repeated requests. As a result, it is unclear how much the chosen developer stands to benefit from this public-private partnership.

The Ratner spokesman’s renunciation of the rendering shrouds the project in additional secrecy. The New York Post reported that the building would rise anywhere from 700 to 1,000 feet and include 600 market-rate apartments, retail space on the ground floor and office space for CUNY.

This project represents Ratner’s second attempt to build the tallest building in Brooklyn. His Frank Gehry–designed “Miss Brooklyn” tower was originally slated to be well over 600 feet, but its height was trimmed to 511 feet just before the Atlantic Yards project was approved by the state.

The new “Mr. Brooklyn” tower does not show up in the glitzy presentation of the future of Downtown Brooklyn released last month by the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership.

But Partnership president Joe Chan said he is “excited” by the building, whatever its height may be.

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Reader Feedback

Sunset Park from Shawn says:
I'm all for Mr.Brooklyn. It's in the right place, it doesn't block the view of the Williamsburgh Savings Bank building. And Brooklyn can say with pride. We have the tallest building on Long Island not Queens. I'm all for it!!
Dec. 3, 2007, 11:19 am
Queen of the Click from http://www.queenoftheclick.com says:

It's ridiculous that Ratner has no limit on how high he can build. Why is Markowitz handing Brooklyn over without voicing Brooklynites concerns?
Dec. 3, 2007, 10:24 pm
clinton hill from maverick says:
I say go for it! Manhattan can not be the only place in NYC with tall buildings. I am all for it. On the subject that no building should be taller than the Williamsburg Bank building. People get with the program. What if people stood with that idea about the Woolworh Building, when it was the tallest skyscraper of its time. Come on get smart, the rest of the world is passing us by. Has anyone been to Dhabi, Hong-Kung, or Tokyo? And we think 1000ft is big. Look at those world cities. Now those buildings are big.
Dec. 6, 2007, 11:38 am
tyrone from nyc says:
whats gud this is tyrone
Oct. 6, 2009, 11:15 am
JR. from Walworth WI says:
cliton hill wht are u talking about man. 1000 ft is big and wht are u saying about tokyo and those other places having bigger buildings then these. Tokyo's buildings dont match up to even 1000 ft...
Sept. 27, 2010, 2:24 pm

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