New York’s first Supertall tower outside of Manhattan rises in Brooklyn

Near the top of the 1,066-foot Brooklyn Tower in downtown Brooklyn, the wind whipped the unfinished concrete slab, and developer Michael Stern presented the jaw-dropping, dizzying views.

There was the glittering harbor of New York; the distant beaches of Queens; the dappled rooftops of Brooklyn skyscrapers; and the building’s closest spiritual relative: the towering condos of Manhattan’s Billionaires’ Row.

But don’t expect a tour.

“The price of admission to the observation deck?” Mr. Stern was impassive. “You must buy or rent a unit.”

After five years of construction, his company, JDS Development Group, has nearly completed the city’s first and only super-tall tower outside of Manhattan – defined as exceeding 300 meters or 984 feet. The next tallest tower in the borough, the nearby Brooklyn Point condo, is nearly 350 feet shorter than the Brooklyn Tower — unlike a Statue of Liberty, plus a few townhouses stacked on top.

The project hits the market as luxury real estate resurfaces in the city, particularly in parts of Brooklyn where tight inventory and growing demand have pushed prices above pre-pandemic levels. But it’s also a market warier of super-tall apartment towers, which critics have dubbed piggy banks for the ultra-rich. And complaints about serious construction flaws last year at the nearly 1,400ft tower at 432 Park Avenue on Billionaires’ Row may have fueled further hesitation about their future.

Still, the developer is betting on lofty design and higher elevations to stand out from its peers across the river – and possibly break price records in the borough.

The 9 DeKalb Avenue tower — designed by SHoP Architects, the company behind Manhattan’s 111 West 57th Street supertall, another JDS project — will have 150 condos ranging from around $875,000 for studios to $8 million for apartments. four bedroom apartments. The penthouses have yet to be valued, but the developer will likely aim higher.

The condo units start 535 feet in the air and will have 11-foot ceilings, European white oak flooring, and interior design by Gachot Studios, the modern minimalist New York design firm named to Architectural’s AD100 list. digest.

There will also be around 400 rental apartments, of which 30%, or 120, will be reserved for “middle-income” tenants, in exchange for city ​​tax cuts. The low-income units, all but 19 of which will be bachelor or one-bedroom apartments, will be pegged to tenants representing 130% of the area’s median income.

Pricing has yet to be set, but a single person applying for a low-income unit could earn up to $108,680 a year, while a family of three would be capped at $139,620. The median household income for renters in Brooklyn was around $54,000 in 2019, the latest reliable survey, according to the New York University Furman Center.

Rental begins in the summer and the developer expects its first residents to move in before the end of 2022. Douglas Elliman Development Marketing will lead sales and rentals, and New York-based MGNY Consulting will manage the units at limited income.

But since the project launched in 2017, attitudes towards supertalls have changed. Last year’s reports of flooding, blocked elevators and safety hazards at 432 Park may have shaken buyer confidence, said Nancy Packes, president of Nancy Packes Signature Marketing Services, a company of advice.

“There may be some reluctance due to issues that may arise,” she said, adding that the emergence of residential supertalls is still a very recent phenomenon.

Among apartments currently listed, the average price per square foot is nearly $2,300, putting it above its closest competitors, according to Marketproof, a real estate analytics firm.

But the apartments will likely sell, said Kael Goodman, the company’s chief executive.

“Tall buildings are selling really well right now,” he said, in part because remote working has given projects with more space and amenities an edge. (And prices are still a far cry from Manhattan, where some units have fetched well over $10,000 a square foot.)

Sales of new developments in Brooklyn, especially at the high end, are booming. Sales volume in 2021 was more than $1.5 billion, up 154% from 2020 and 77% from 2019, before the pandemic, according to consulting and marketing firm Brown Harris Stevens. Development Marketing.

The tower stands out for other reasons: it is connected to the iconic Dime Savings Bank, a lavish banking hall with 40-foot ceilings and a domed ceiling created by the famous Guastavino fireproof construction company. With the purchase of unused development rights from the old bank, the tower gained about 30 stories higher than it could have otherwise built. The bank’s lobby will become a “flagship” retail space, part of a 100,000 square foot retail plan, Stern said.

The bank’s interior, with its tiles and hexagonal patterns, inspired the building’s facade, a mix of stainless steel and anodized aluminum unlike many of the blue glass towers that surround it, said Gregg Pasquarelli , founding director of SHoP Architects.

Where the new tower connects to the roof of the bank, the building will have three outdoor pools surrounding the dome. There will be a range of amenities, including a cinema, gym, billiards room, children’s playroom and – a late pandemic addition – coworking spaces and conference rooms for remote workers. Tenants have access to all amenities except for the 85th floor “sky lounge” which is reserved for condo owners.

Other features draw on the towering height of the building. Two outdoor amenity areas, on the 66th and 85th floors, will feature outdoor basketball (with fencing to prevent an errant pass from the side of the building) and possibly the world’s tallest dog race, Mr. Stern said. The floors are open to the elements in part because they help wind pass through the tower to dampen building sway – a complaint raised in other super-tall towers.

But the pandemic has delayed construction by about four months, and more recently supply chain issues have slowed the delivery of several items, including doors and some high-end finishes, Stern said.

And in February, companies linked to the Chetrit Group, a former partner in the project, filed a lawsuit in the New York State Supreme Court. The companies say they owe more than $17 million under a takeover deal with JDS and Mr. Stern. A JDS spokesperson said Mr. Stern and the company would not comment on the lawsuit, and Chetrit did not respond to requests for comment.

As for concerns about the perception of supertalls, Stern is undeterred. He points out that, unlike Manhattan’s skinny supertalls, which are among the thinnest in the city, his building has a wider base that’s less prone to swaying, and they’ve studied the problems of other supertall towers.

“When you’re pioneering, sometimes there are growing pains,” he said in defense of developers at 432 Park Avenue, where residents are suing for at least $125 million after reports of intolerable noise. , electrical explosions and burst pipes related to the construction of the building.

“I think we’ve learned all those lessons already,” he said.

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