Developers want to crack open Dime Savings Bank to make way for borough’s tallest building

Sky high: This supertower on Flatbush Avenue Extension and Fleet Street will rise more than 1,000 feet above Downtown.
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They want to break the bank!

The developers behind Brooklyn’s first “supertall” skyscraper want to demolish part of Fulton Mall’s landmarked Dime Savings Bank to make room for the 73-story behemoth, and build stores inside the rest of the 108-year-old cash repository. And locals say they can’t wait to crack the vault after seeing the plan on Wednesday night.

“It’s a beautiful project and a great opportunity to save the bank,” said Hazra Ali, a member of Community Board 2’s land-use committee, which enthusiastically approved the changes 11–0 with one abstention at a meeting on Wednesday night.

Reps for builders JDS Development and the Cherit Group told residents they want to pulverize a segment in the back of the bank at Flatbush Avenue Extension so they can create a glassy new entrance and set the Chrysler Building-sized tower off to the side.

The portion of the building slated for destruction is a service area that is not architecturally significant, the firms claimed.

If city officials don’t approve the change, the developers told residents they would just erect their massive new tower flush against the back of the bank — blocking its windows, and creating an unattractive flat wall along Flatbush Avenue Extension.

The city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission has shot down changes to the protected building before — it refused to let previous owner JP Morgan Chase build a handicap ramp there in 2013. But one preservationist says he thinks the body won’t have too many gripes with this alteration, and doesn’t think its members will object to the neighboring tower, either.

Inside look: Pedestrians on Flatbush Avenue will be able glimpse into the revamped Dime Savings Bank through the new entrance.
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“Getting landmarks’ approval is not going to be the thing that stops it if someone wants to stop this tower,” said Simeon Bankoff of preservation advocacy group the Historic Districts Council.

The developers bought the bank primarily so they could use its air rights to construct the 1,066-foot tower next door, but they do plan to renovate it. Inside, they intend to rip out the 1970s Formica teller stations to make room for retail stores, and they promised to restore the building’s cracked facade and steps out the front.

The reps also offered new details for the gargantuan high-rise itself.

The needle-like building will boast a bronze, stone, stainless steel, and black granite exterior that will change colors as pedestrians walk it from Fleet Street to Flatbush Avenue Extension, they said.

And the interior will include four floors of retail and office space at the base, with 417-units of housing — which will be rentals, according to a New York Times report — above that.

The full community board will vote on the changes to the bank next, but its vote is only advisory — the landmarks commission will ultimately say yea or nay.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at lgill@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill
Spare a Dime?: Developers want to blow a hole in the historic Dime Savings Bank so they can create a new entrance and erect a massive tower next door.

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