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Williamsburgh Savings Bank to be a wedding hall

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Get ready to start rocking around the clock tower.

The landmark ground floor of the Williamsburgh Savings Bank building will open in September as a sumptuous catering hall for weddings, bar mitzvahs and high-end special events.

A Manhattan events manager is the new tenant in the opulent former bank branch in the historic 37-story skyscraper in Fort Greene, currently the tallest building in Brooklyn.

“The space is phenomenal — the pride of Brooklyn,” said Jennifer Blumin of Skyline Studios, referring to the “Clocktower at One Hanson,” a name that reflects the building’s actual address at 1 Hanson Pl., though the party room is not in the clocktower itself.

The 1927 building with its warren of dentists’ offices in the upper floors underwent a conversion to luxury housing by Magic Johnson’s real-estate company, while the ground floor has tempted Apple, Microsoft and national booksellers — all of whom shied away because the lofty interior of the former bank is protected from almost any alteration by its landmark status.

That means the vaulted ceilings with images of the night sky, a mosaic of colonial New York on the wall, wooden bank teller stations and marble tables will be untouched.

Prices start at $15,000 to book your nuptials or corporate Christmas party in the Clocktower, but there will be other “Brooklyn-sensitive prices” for other events, Blumin said.

“We want to keep that neighborhood feel in place,” she said. “We want it to be accessible to people who want to be in Brooklyn.”

The city Landmarks Preservation Commission said Blumin doesn’t need to present her plans unless she wants to modify the space, most recently an HSBC branch.

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Reader Feedback

Rhywun from Bay Ridge says:
I'm all for preservation up to a certain point, but it gets out of hand when you can't touch a building & make it suitable for any enterprise whatsoever. "Wedding hall" is one step above "99 cent store", which is what this space will eventually be if they don't watch out.
July 1, 2009, 8:25 am
al pankin from downtown says:
A perfect spot. hope they do great..
July 1, 2009, 5:46 pm
Anittah Patrick from ex-Clinton Hiller says:
Few points of clarification:

#1. To Rhywun's point, calling this space a wedding hall makes this undertaking seem a tad downmarket. Given that Jennifer Blumin has both Skylight Studios and Skyline Galleries & Studios under her belt -- the former being the home of the annual Whitney Art Party -- I think it's a stretch to compare this space to some of the cheeseball nightmares advertised in remnant cable inventory or in the outer reaches of Long Island.

#2. Blumin's not now nor has she ever been a promoter; she's a space manager with expertise in re-imagining new lives for under-loved spaces. (Skylight, for example, used to be a meeting place for a Longshoreman association; Skyline used to be a parking garage.) Promoters usually have their own guest lists, profit in some way off attendance, and have bad taste in clothes. Blumin, on the other hand, rents spaces to clients like BMW and Vogue who market and produce their individual events, fashion shows, product launches etc.

#3. $15K is the MSRP; Bklyn appropriate pricing for local private events, weddings, etc. will be made available.
July 1, 2009, 6:02 pm
Think twice from Marine Park says:
They should have called it The Bank Vault—implying opulence, exclusivity, but also irony.

Either way it'll do good. Beautiful space. Super-accessible location (12 subways and the LIRR).
July 1, 2009, 9:04 pm
FURtG from downtown says:
Every beautiful old bank that I've been in has had horrible acoustics. With the clinking of plates and glasses, miked announcers and music, will it be a cacophony?
July 3, 2009, 2:39 pm
Grace Protano from Downtown Brooklyn says:
The tenants of the gradiose suites and the owner of the opulent new catering, I am sure, think the bank is theirs somehow. Wrong. That bank is really mine. As a kid growing up in the then-depressed area of what was generally known then as South Brooklyn--from Dean Street to Union Street--that clock was our symbol of safety.

My memoir speaks to that magnificent structure and what it meant to all us kids. www.outskirtspress.com/seetheclock

Grace Zolla Protano
Nov. 29, 2009, 7:19 pm

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