The DIME: Historic Bank Buildings Get a Second Act, New York Times

New York Times
Stefanos Chen
April 19, 2019
Link to Full Article

In South Williamsburg, Brooklyn, a 23-story tower is rising beside the landmark 1908 Dime Savings Bank. The developers, Tavros Development and Charney Construction & Development, bought the adjacent lot as well as the bank’s air rights for $80 million, in 2016. The purchase allowed the developers to add 20,000 square feet of floor space to the new tower, making it one of the tallest in the neighborhood. There will be retail and office space on the lower floors, topped by 177 rental apartments, 30 percent rented below market rate. The tower, called the Dime, is expected to open in late 2019.

In 2017, the developers convinced the branch owner to sell the neo-Classical bank hall outright for $12.3 million, allowing them to incorporate the building into their design. The 40-foot-tall interior space, with mullioned windows and decorative columns, will either become an office or retail space, a beer garden or restaurant. (Only the facade has landmark protection.) The roof will become part of an outdoor amenity for residents and office workers, with views of the Williamsburg Bridge. Amenities in the adjoining tower will include an indoor basketball court, yoga room and outdoor “misting stations” to cool down sunbathers.

“When you’re viewed as the big, bad developer, how do you get the authenticity that people moving into neighborhoods like this crave?” asked Sam Charney, the principal of Charney Construction & Development. Monumental architecture isn’t a bad start. Being a block from the JMZ subway lines also helps.

Those perks will be vital to the marketing pitch. About 80 percent of the units will be studios or one-bedrooms, with the average one-bedroom measuring about 560 square feet, said Nicholas Silvers, a partner at Tavros. The average size of one-bedroom rentals in the borough was 727 square feet in March, said Mr. Miller, the real estate appraiser.

Prices haven’t been announced, but the developers’ strategy is to market units for less than those of nearby competitors, like 325 Kent, part of the redesigned Domino Sugar Refinery site, where the luxury rentals list for an average of $3,436 a month for one-bedroom apartments, according to StreetEasy.

“We think this will be leased up in three to five months, at the most,” Mr. Charney said.

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