Work is almost complete on the borough’s first supertall, The Brooklyn Tower, with facade installation wrapping up on the building’s double-height plinth and tenants and homeowners already taking up residence in the skyscraper that towers over it.
On Tuesday, workers at 9 Dekalb Ave. were busy in the still-under construction section of the base fronting Fleet Street, while the stretch along Flatbush Avenue Extension and Dekalb appears finished. The wavy white marble and dark stone-faced podium fuses the tower to the landmarked Dime Savings Bank.
Meanwhile, the skyline-altering 93-story, 550-unit SHoP-designed tower stemming from the podium has proven eye-catching not just for its extreme height (being the first building in the borough to hit four digits at 1,066 feet), but also for its dark and piercing appearance reminiscent of both grand Art Deco structures and the Tower of Sauron from Lord of the Rings.
The crystal gray vision glass, bronzed metal, and blackened stainless steel, designed to echo some of the bank’s architectural details, make for a newly iconic and somewhat divisive Brooklyn build. A spokesperson for developer JDS Development Group called it an “important architectural milestone for the borough” on par with the Empire State Building in Manhattan in a 2021 email to Brownstoner.
SHoP are the creative minds behind some of the most prominent developments in Brooklyn, including Two Trees’ Domino Sugar Refinery master plan and the Barclays Center arena. The firm is known for bold, visually striking designs.
As part of the new development, the Dime Savings Bank, already one of Brooklyn’s most notable buildings and both an exterior and rare interior landmark, is getting a full interior and exterior renovation. It includes restoration of the rotunda and original marble floors, the addition of new marble floors, rearranged teller counters, and new double-paned windows.
The bank and the tower’s base will include shops at street level. For residents, there will be three swimming pools on the roof of the Dime Savings Bank, clustered around its dome, as well as another pool inside the tower.
As built, the tower looks a lot like renderings that were pitched to the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission as far back as 2016. LPC greenlit the plans, going so far as to call the designs “flawless,” much to the surprise of some residents.
The commission reviewed the project because of the planned alterations to the Dime Savings Bank, which the developers bought for its air rights. (Though suprisingly the LPC was not consulted about the swimming pools on the roof.)
Thanks to those air rights, the development was as of right and didn’t require a rezoning and its attendant public approval process or affordable units aimed at low- and medium-income renters. Its income-restricted units are instead part of the state’s 421-a tax abatement program, which allows relatively high incomes of 130 percent of Area Median Income.
An affordable housing lottery launched in early 2023 for the 120 so-called affordable rentals, with eligible incomes set between $90,172 and $227,630 for households of one to seven people. Included were studios for $2,630 a month, one-bedrooms for $2,811, two-bedrooms for $3,360, and three-bedrooms for $3,872.
The remaining units are a mix of market-rate rentals on the lower levels (with an address of 55 Fleet Street) and condos higher up the building. There are still a few condos listed for sale ranging from $950,000 for a studio to $7.85 million for a four-bedroom penthouse. The tower has a temporary certificate of occupancy and move-ins started last year.
While the Brooklyn Tower is still far and away the tallest building in the borough, Brooklyn’s skyline has undergone a rapid change in the near decade since the project was pitched. Downtown Brooklyn has seen a plethora of new developments creeping up to Manhattan-esque levels, and many more are in the works. Right across Dekalb Avenue a new 52-story, 591-unit tower is under way.
High-rises or plans for them have also made their way to other neighborhoods, including the towers planned for Broadway Junction and those already rising in Bushwick, Gowanus, Coney Island, Gravesend, and a number of other Brooklyn neighborhoods.
This story first appeared on Brooklyn Paper’s sister site Brownstoner.