Brooklyn Tower Becomes the Borough’s first Supertall Skyscraper

November 18, 2021



Catherine D. Ong

In the 2010s, the tallest building in Downtown Brooklyn were the Williamsburgh Savings Tower (512 feet), The Brooklyner (514 feet) and 388 Bridge Street (590 feet). They were all surpassed by the Brooklyn Tower, which full height has extended to a staggering 1,066 feet, housing 93-storeys of residential and commercial spaces.

Designed by ShoP Architects, the Brooklyn Tower is categorized under Supertalls, which are structures that reach 300 meters (984 feet) or higher. It is located at 9 DeKalb Avenue, where the most famous landmark was the early 20th century Dime Savings Bank.

JDS Development Group bought the bank for $95 million in 2016, retaining and restoring its neoclassical interior and converting the space for retail establishments. It started construction on 2018 and cost another $750 million total to develop.

The site from which the Brooklyn Tower was erected had an irregular shape. JDS Development also purchased 340 Flatbrush Avenue right next to it, which made the building perch on a triangular block. Instead of a rectangular plan, the architects decided to place the building in a hexagon shape.

“We looked at the way the original architects dealt with the geometry of the site,” said SHoP founding principal, Gregg Pasquarelli. “They used hexagons and six-sided stars. We liked the idea that the interlocking hexagons would never make you feel like you weren’t looking at the front of the building.”

The Brooklyn Tower is described as a supertall, mixed-use building. It offers 150 condominiums, as well as 400 rentals. The residential units are not just for the multi-millionaires. 30% of the apartments are designed as “affordable housing,” in partnership with the Housing New York program.

“It’s the combination of a landmark building and a contemporary tower, and we had to thread the needle on how to do that respectfully and with design integrity. When you think of supertalls in New York, you really think of Billionaire’s Row and apartments for the ultra elite who may or may not live there. This is a real building that real people are going to live in and be part of the city’s fabric. It’s just fundamentally a different typology.” – Michael Stern, Founder and CEO of JDS Development Group

When you hear Supertalls in New York, people automatically assume it’s in Manhattan, and Gregg Pasquarelli agrees. “We talked a lot in the very beginning about what it means to put a supertall in Brooklyn. Is it Manhattan-only territory? Are we bringing Manhattan to Brooklyn? No. Brooklyn is such an incredible, thriving, culturally rich place. It should have its own tower.”

Indeed. With that JDS Development Group has brought the tallest skyscraper in Downtown Brooklyn to life. Its magnificent glass and bronze facade expresses the rich past and future of the borough and will brighten the skyline for many years to come.

Photos courtesy of ShoP Architects

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