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Architecture, Brooklyn, Carter Uncut, Downtown Brooklyn, Features, real estate trends, Urban Design

Skyline Wars: Brooklyn Enters the Supertall Race

By Carter B. Horsley, Wed, April 20, 2016

Carter Uncut brings New York City’s latest development news under the critical eye of resident architecture critic Carter B. Horsley. Here, Carter brings us his fifth installment of “Skyline Wars,” a series that examines the explosive and unprecedented supertall phenomenon that is transforming the city’s silhouette. In this post Carter looks at Brooklyn’s once demure skyline, soon to be Manhattan’s rival.

Downtown Brooklyn has had a modest but pleasant skyline highlighted by the 350-foot-high Court & Remsen Building and the 343-foot-high great ornate terraces of 75 Livingston Street, both erected in 1926, and the 462-foot-high flat top of the 1927 Montague Court Building. The borough’s tallest building, however, was the great 514-foot-high dome of the 1929 Williamsburg Savings Bank Tower, now known as One Hanson Place, a bit removed to the east from Downtown Brooklyn. It remained as the borough’s tallest for a very long time, from 1929 until 2009. A flurry of new towers in recent years has significantly enlarged Brooklyn’s skyline. Since 2008, nine new towers higher than 359 feet have sprouted there, in large part as a result of a rezoning by the city in 2007. A few other towers have also given its riverfront an impressive frontage.

Whereas in the past the vast majority of towers were clustered about Borough Hall downtown, now there are several clusters with some around the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the former Williamsburg Savings Bank Tower and some around the Williamsburg riverfront.

more on Brooklyn’s skyline here

Brooklyn, real estate trends

Google Earth rendering of the new residential buildings going up in Downtown Brooklyn, via CityRealty

We recently reported that New York City was entering its biggest building boom since 1963. Building permits rose 156 percent over the last year, accounting for 52,618 new residential units. If that number seems large to you, keep in mind it’s spread over the five boroughs, including the supertall towers of Manhattan. But a new report from CityRealty shows that northern Brooklyn alone with get 22,000 new apartments over the next four years.

According to the report, which only looked at buildings with 20 or more units, “around 2,700 new units are expected to be delivered in 2015. That number will nearly double in 2016, when approximately 5,000 apartments will be ready for occupancy.” The majority of these units, 29 percent or 6,412 apartments, will come to Downtown Brooklyn, followed by Williamsburg with 20 percent or 4,341 units.

More on the Brooklyn building boom

Architecture, New Developments, Polls, Rentals, Williamsburg

Yesterday, former New York governor Eliot Spitzer revealed the first official rendering for Spitzer Enterprises’ mega development on the South Williamsburg waterfront. The $700 million trio of 24-story rental towers was designed by ODA Architects, who referred to the project as a “molded iceberg.” Today, Lincoln Restler, a senior policy advisor to Mayor de Blasio, took to Facebook to deem the design “offensive,” continuing to say, “Someone who had fashioned himself as a progressive and sold properties worth 1.5 billion last year is now trying to squeeze every penny out of a development in our neighborhood – without any concern for the needs of the community.” Do you agree with his social media rant?

Rendering via ODA Architects

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