Avalon Willoughby West is nipping at the heels of the skyscraper that dethroned the Brooklyner

Got your steppin’ stone! 388 Bridge Street is Brooklyn’s tallest tower, for now

The Brooklyn Paper
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It is Brooklyn’s Chrysler Building.

The just-completed 53-story tower at 388 Bridge Street is the borough’s new tallest building, but only for a year, as an under-construction skyscraper across the street will take the title when it is finished in 2015. The Brooklyn Paper got the grand tour of the soon-to-be-second-tallest structure in Brooklyn, which is bringing 378 of the estimated 3,300 new apartments coming to Downtown in the next three years.

“This, along with several other buildings, is going to change the character of the neighborho­od,” said William Ross, managing director of Halstead Property Development Marketing, which is handling sales and leasing at the new behemoth.

The $270-million luxury residential high-rise between Willoughby and Fulton streets unseats The Brooklyner, half a block away on Lawrence Street, as the borough’s highest edifice. The 37-story Williamsburgh Savings Bank held the distinction for more than 80 years until The Brooklyner opened its doors in 2010. But, just as Manhattan’s Chrysler Building only enjoyed 11 short months at the top spot in that borough between 1930 and 1931 before being dethroned by the Empire State Building, 388 Bridge Street’s reign will be cut short by Avalon Willoughby West, directly across Bridge Street on Willoughby Street, when it rises to 57 stories next year.

For now, though, Avalon Willoughby West is just a hole in the ground and 388 Bridge Street wears the crown. The glass spire is already attracting tenants, the first of which started moving in on Feb. 28. So far, only 20 of the 378 units have been filled, said Ross, adding that many of the new residents came from recent developments nearby.

“An enormous number of them are from the neighborhood, and were in other buildings that aren’t quite as nice as this one,” Ross said.

Residents of the new high-rise will enjoy such amenities as a terraced common area on the roof of the building, an on-site dog spa, a media room, and a gym.

The lower 31 floors contain 234 rental apartments, ranging in price from $2,345 a month for a studio to $5,850 per month for a two-bedroom. The condos are on floors 32 through 44, and will cost from $725,000 from $1.25 million.

The two penthouses on the top floor come with their own outdoor spaces, and could cost as much as $6 million.

The tower also holds 48 below-market-rate units, ranging in price from $546 to $908 per month. Phipps Houses, a social service provider, received 4,500 applications for these apartments, according to Ross. Six low-income families have already moved in, he said.

The glass facade is easy to spot from the streets, especially at night. The top is wrapped with Light-Emitting Diode bulbs that can put on a light-show the likes of the Empire State Building’s. Eventually the flashy array will be lit up to symbolically honor various charitable causes, but for now they only represent the whims of an on-site electrician.

“I told him to have some fun,” said Ross.

Construction on 388 Bridge originally began in 2008 with an all-condo plan. But the project stalled during the excavation stage because of the Great Recession, Ross said, and restarted four years later with the current owner-rental mix.

Roger Fortune has seen the highs and lows of construction as the project manager since 2009 for what is now Kings County’s highest habitat. This spring, it is pay-off time.

“Getting out of the subway at Borough Hall one day, I saw it for the first time from afar,” Fortune said. “I asked, ‘whose building is that? Oh, that’s where I’m going!’ ”

Skyscraper experts say that Brooklyn’s battle for the tallest building is real, but it is a mole-hill compared to the monumental war between 40 Wall Street, the Chrysler Building, and the Empire State Building that raged in Manhattan 80 years ago.

“It’s comparable, but to a lesser scale,” said John Tauranac, author of “The Empire State Building: The Making of a Landmark,” back in 2009.

Reach reporter Matthew Perlman at (718) 260-8310. E-mail him at Follow him on Twitter @matthewjperlman.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

diehipster from Blowtorching Brices says:
Higher higher higher! Yes! Keep building towers! Keep turning this once great affordable melting pot into Manhattan. More kale, more brunch, more "organic labeled" food!

Thanks hipsters. Thanks for turning Brooklyn into a brand which led to THIS.
March 12, 2014, 8:38 am
Teddy from Park Slope says:
I think it's great. More downtown high rises will keep the prices of our PS browstones high and when I need to sell one day and move to Florida, I'll be raking in 7 figures! It's also nice because I feel we're getting a bit of return to good old golden days of Brooklyn, before the last 20 years of the diehipster types. Back when Brooklyn was a fancy escape from manhattan, not the ghetto of drug dens the 80s saw.
March 12, 2014, 9:28 am
Michael from Bay Ridge says:
Beautiful building, and I wish I was rich enough to live in it. A question though - how does a building have 40 penthouses? I can imagine the top floor split into a few apartments, but 10.5% of the apartments in this building are penthouses. Supposedly. Is this a new use of the word penthouse?
March 12, 2014, 9:29 am
Mark from Kensington says:
Aww, diehipster. The Brooklyn you grew up in is gone. Sadly you haven't come to accept it yet.
March 12, 2014, 9:44 am
Louis Winthorp III from Ditmas Park says:
Diehipster, were you happier when that part of Brooklyn was a crap hole?
March 12, 2014, 9:49 am
NYPD from NY says:
Yes diehipster, hipsters are building highrise condos.
March 12, 2014, 10:28 am
david d from sunset park says:
As rental/condo towers take Downtown land they displace much needed office space. Over 1 million sq feet of office space have been taken out of DT Brooklyn for conversion or demolition.
Condo/residential development in downtown cores= loss of jobs loss of tax revenue. Very poor planning by the city.
March 12, 2014, 11 am
The Chooch from The Bohemian Magic Show says:
Abbra Kazaam, baby. I mean abbra ka friggin' Shazoom!
March 12, 2014, 12:26 pm
aging hipster says:
diehipster, this building has almost no appeal to hipsters, who probably dislike buildings of this scale as much as you. It must be fun to bloviate without any sense of reality.
March 12, 2014, 12:26 pm
diehipster from Blowtorching Brices says:
Guess they didn't teach reading comprehension back in Iowa. I didn't say this building appeals to hipsters, I said the hipster "branding " of Brooklyn has LED to this.

And what's really funny is not one person besides me on this thread is from Brooklyn yet you all think every square inch of Brooklyn was some kind of crackhead war zone up until the year 2000. Hysterical. Not one of you has set foot much further south of Prospect Park to know how clean, quiet, safe, multi cultural, affordable, and normal it's been forever.

Stay above the line!

Long live actual Brooklyn!!!
March 12, 2014, 1:08 pm
NYPD from NY says:
↑↑↑↑↑Village Idiot Talking To Himself↑↑↑↑↑
March 12, 2014, 1:23 pm
The Chooch from The Bohemian Magic Show says:
Well. Clean, quiet, and safe it was not. Anyone who was in Brooklyn in the 80s knows that as well as they know war is peace. Orwellian revisionism or, if you like, mere bleary-eyed nostalgia, afflicts many a local historian I'm afraid. But history has a way of speaking for itself:

"Between 1979 and 1980, in the Southside alone, a small section of Williamsburg, we lost 48 young people. I was the director of community medicine at Greenpoint Hospital, and I spent a lot of time in the emergency room, where the young people would come, mostly dead on arrival."

- Luis Garden Acosta, founder of El Puente
March 12, 2014, 1:27 pm
NYPD from NY says:
Chooch, diehipster is not from Brooklyn or even New York State. She is a fraud.
March 12, 2014, 1:28 pm
SwampYankee from Ruined Brooklyn says:
^^^^^^silly hipster with matchstick arms^^^^^^^^^^
March 12, 2014, 1:29 pm
NYPD from NY says:
↑↑↑↑↑Whiny Transplant jelly of my REAL BROOKLYN arrows↑↑↑↑↑
March 12, 2014, 1:30 pm
The Chooch from The Bohemian Magic Show says:
That's just the Southside. Not Bushwick. Not Bed Stuy, etc. etc. etc. The NYPD stats are online going back to 1990. Before that, I guess they're too embarrassed to say. But the drop in crime in northern Brooklyn is precipitous. Get used to it mookie, we have come to conquer. Not by the sword. ... but by the wand!
March 12, 2014, 1:34 pm
BunnynSunny from Clitnon Hills says:
Much to posh for me.
March 12, 2014, 1:37 pm
The Chooch from yo mamma's bildin'! says:
Well then Bunny I guess you gots to do yo damn homework! Grrrl!
March 12, 2014, 1:39 pm
Mark from Kensington says:
Diehipster, I was born and raised in Kensington (Ocean Parkway and Beverley Rd). I realize you have a very nostalgic view of Brooklyn but when I was a kid in the 70's and 80's, downtown Brooklyn was pretty crappy. This was also back when Park Slope ended at 9th street.

The borough is getting nicer and more built up, if it prices some people out then so be it. Down worry though, south Brookyn is safe for now. The "actual brooklyn" that you keep going on about is soon to be extinct.
March 12, 2014, 1:48 pm
bkmanhatman from nubrucklyn says:
@diehipster & @chooch
It isn't hipsters for leading the way for glass tower condos of Manhattan but rather greedy developers & foreign hedge fund managers.
Second, I didn't like Bk in the 80's, old enough to remember how segregated it was. The hipsters actually brought integration, not just going into the offices & schools but into the bedrooms. Deblasio's family is an example of "the damily' that represents NuBrucklyn.
March 12, 2014, 2:02 pm
diehipster from Blowtorching Brices says:
Hahaha! Still, EthanChooch is rambling on about one zip code. What a phony. And Mark like I said you're talking about Prospect Park area where none of these yups go below.

I'm talking about Bensonhurst,Borough Park, Bath Beach, Dyker, Midwood, Marine Park, Gravesend, sheepshead, Brighton. All awesome safe and clean hoods that always were. 2000s 90s 80s 70s and beyond. We are hipster free and wish to remain. I shall protect what's left of real Brooklyn.


March 12, 2014, 2:11 pm
Mike from Willliamsburg says:
"I shall protect."

lololol someone's got delusions of grandeur
March 12, 2014, 2:28 pm
NYPD from NY says:
Mike from Willliamsburg:

Sad and true, it's all he has.
March 12, 2014, 2:50 pm
mr.G from DoBro says:
The 388 site was actually a 1 story and a 2 story building, and they are adding more net retail and commercial space below the residential tower than ever existed on this site. Ditto for Avalon site across the street. Both will increase the tax base immeasurably compared to what used to be on these sites.
March 12, 2014, 3:17 pm
The Chooch from The Bohemian Magic Show says:
Benson'oist? Midwood? Nice? Nice in the 70s? nice then, nice now, nice forever? I'm sure it was nice. I'm sure it was just like "All in the Family". It's irrelevant. Brooklyn was blighted, crime-ridden, industry had been falling off since the 50s. And what happened with the bohemo-hipstoid colonization was what is SUPPOSED to happen to any great city in decline. Lots of smart young people come in from out of town and jazz the place up again. Then come the yuppies and developers to do the grunt work. Why is this so difficult for you mooks to grok? Would you rather have Detroit's problems?
March 12, 2014, 5:22 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Personally, I find the quality of an area to be better than the quantity of what's there. Just having a skyscraper boom doesn't place a city or even the neighborhood it's happening in on top. By such logic, Dubai must be a very popular place with all that skyscraper construction. Then again, it could be because the land is cheap compared to anywhere else around the world. The same concept implies here. Let's not forget that real estate is a boom bust economy, and when it goes down, these new buildings will be seen as a major glut. On a side note, I wonder if the person in the first picture is pointing to where the so-called Miss Brooklyn was supposed to be built, but knowing Forest City Ratner and their broken promises, it probably never will.
March 12, 2014, 6:30 pm
jay from nyc says:
sounds like diehipster and tal need to get an actual job. Building more housing will actually drive down prices which means unemployed and underemployed broke people like diehipster and tal will have a better shot at living in a decent place.I used to think that would be a good thing, but now that I realize it would have the effect of making tal and diehispter happy, I may need to rethink that.
March 12, 2014, 7:24 pm
The Chooch from The Bohemian Magic Show says:
That's right, Tal. "Just having a skyscraper" means absolutely nothing in itself. A skyscraper is only successful in connection with many other conditions. But with the housing shortage as it is in NYC, there is no downside to building residential towers. If they don't sell, they can be converted to subsidized housing. But they will sell.
March 12, 2014, 7:36 pm
Brooklyn real, from downtown says:
Just for the record the people that move into these type of buildings are not hipsters, most hipsters are young kids living off their parents checks, and little jobs. Most of the people that can afford these type of apartments are very wealthy and from other countries they dont just leave a 2 room apartment in Williamsburg and move in . Lets face it these buildings are built for the rich end of story , not yuppies,Hipsters,or locals .... The RICH
March 12, 2014, 9:22 pm
uhhh from NYC says:
For the record:

•Building tall residential buildings increases supply, reducing price...

•Mixing downtown areas with residential and commercial properties increases vibrancy, commerce, and reduces pollution and congestion because workers may live close to where they work....

March 13, 2014, 12:40 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I'm not against progress, I'm against the way developers seem to get their way even when their projects are highly opposed by both residents and politicians, but can still get around like Ratner did with the AY. Some of the places picked to build aren't done because they are found to be prestigious, it more has to do with getting a good deal out of it, otherwise they wouldn't think twice of building there. On a side note, I do feel appalled by that NY Times article that says how Prospect-Lefferts Gardens is on the map now just because of that new 23 story apartment building that is going up there as if it wasn't known before for its brownstones, the former site of Ebbets Field, or even where the Lefferts Historic House is. If something out of context with an area should be built, it should be because of demand, not just for the fun of it like Dubai does. Also, a lot of this development does lead to a lot of traffic especially due to high density. For the most part, much of this is built for the rich, not those on lower income unless it happens to be public housing.
March 13, 2014, 6:30 pm
The Chooch from The Bohemian Magic Show says:
It's a beautiful building and exactly the right idea for downtown Brooklyn. Live where you work, mixed business and residential. And let's turn downtown into a real downtown already! This neighborhood has been too dreary for too long. It's where you go to pay a parking ticket. That will change. It's thrilling what's in store for the downtown and Metroech valley.
March 13, 2014, 10 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Actually Metro Tech Center made downtown Brooklyn even worse than before. It was seen as an office park for the most part. Try coming there after work hours, and the place will be seen as a ghost town. Just like the Atlantic Yards, eminent domain abuse and corporate welfare. When it opened, not a lot of space was used and it felt like a huge office glut. The only way Forest City Ratner got saved was to have a lot of city and state agencies set up their offices there with taxpayers paying up their leases. Any businesses (public or private) just relocated their employees from other areas rather than just hire locals, which doesn't help at all. BTW, if any businesses are moving into that complex, it's not because of it being prestigious, it has more to do with having a subsidized rent. Keep in mind that Gage & Tollner's, a known restaurant in the area, did go out of business back in 2004 when CEOs and other employees working at MTC chose to eat at the subsidized cafeterias, which made them go out of business for not being able to afford the expensive renovation. Overall, this complex was NOT a benefit for the area, just another developer trying to make a legacy.
March 14, 2014, 3 pm
The Chooch from The Bohemian Magic Show says:
You're missing the point, Tal. It's irrelevant that MetroTech "made downtown Brooklyn even worse." A lot of things have made downtown Brooklyn even worse. Every neighborhood in Brooklyn is hipper than downtown Brooklyn. Everyone knows this. The challenge now becomes what to do about it. Heavy residential development and the addition of the Watchtower complex as a new enterprise zone in the Cadman Plaza donut ... are a good start.
March 14, 2014, 4:49 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Chooch, development like this comes with a cost. This pushes out those that were there before it was hip. Many of them can't seem to find anywhere else nearby, which is what forces them to leave the city as a whole due to costs. Again, construction booms don't always equal a world class city. The only reason why cities such as NYC and London are so well known around the world is mainly because they have been centers of commerce for centuries. In reality, it's the quality that defines a city, not the quantity.
March 14, 2014, 6:25 pm
The Chooch from The Bohemian Magic Show says:
It's not the condos that are pushing people out of Brooklyn. It's the fact that everyone wants to live here. The solution is to build condos, for the rich, but also to take the pressure off the existing housing. It's not something you can control with policy. You can't mandate the demand away. People are getting squeezed out of Brooklyn because everyone wants to live in Brooklyn. Period. We have to build for the demand. Why are you complaining. To whom are you complaining. Abbra Shazaaam baby.
March 14, 2014, 10:57 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Let me break it down so that even George W Bush and Sarah Palin could understand this. Take the example of Times Square when all of that new construction started. Building all those glass towers may have seen good at first, but numerous businesses that were there before and local as well couldn't afford to stay there as the rents and property taxes skyrocketed since then. Times Square would have been a good place if the police actually did their jobs in catching crooks there. Of course, it's so easy to say that it was a seedy area before without looking at the full history. The truth about Disneyfying is that it just turns an area to something that you can just find anywhere else hence not making it that unique. It's not like I had to go there for certain restaurants that I could have just had back around my own area. In reality, this is more like chewing gum and then spitting it out just because the flavor is gone only to find a new one to do the process all over again.
March 15, 2014, 2:19 pm

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