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Downtown tower keeps going and going and going… - Brooklyn Paper

Downtown tower keeps going and going and going…

Standing tall: Construction workers haven’t even topped out on the tower at 111 Lawrence St. in Downtown — a building that will be the tallest in the borough.
The Brooklyn Paper / Kate Emerson

Up, up and away!

Here you go, architecture fans: an updated glimpse of the tallest building in Brooklyn reaching for the stars.

The 491-unit residential tower, slated to top off at 514 feet, or two feet taller than the legendary Williamsburgh Savings Bank Building, is at 111 Lawrence St., between Willoughby Street and the vestigial remnant of Myrtle Avenue, in rapidly changing Downtown.

The bank building, which is at Hanson Place and Flatbush Avenue in nearby Fort Greene, has been the ceiling for Brooklyn since it was built in 1929.

But the gentlemen’s agreement to keep structures below 512 feet was broken two years ago, when the developers of the City Point tower at Albee Square vowed to build a 70-story tower there (though that project is stalled due to the economic downturn).

A year earlier, some Brooklynites were aghast to discover that Frank Gehry’s iconic Miss Brooklyn tower, the trophy skyscraper at the gateway to Bruce Ratner’s Atlantic Yards mega-project, would rise to 620 feet and obscure some views of the bank building’s clocktower. But later that year, Ratner agreed to lower its height to just below 512 feet (though, not to sound like a broken record, the project is stalled due to the economic downturn).

Despite its size, the Lawrence Street tower, developed by the Clarett Group, has been under many people’s radar screens.

“There is nothing sacrosanct about the specific height of the Williamsburgh Bank building,” Simeon Bankoff, the executive director of the Historic Districts Council told The Brooklyn Paper, when the building was first proposed.

That said, Bankoff suggested that he would have preferred a different design.

“It’s more of a case of what we want Brooklyn to look like. Do we want Brooklyn to be the mirror image of the Manhattan skyline?” he said.

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