Council Committee Approves Skyscraper District


Yesterday the the City Council’s landmarks subcommittee voted to approve the Borough Hall Skyscraper Historic District, which means the 21-building district is almost certain to be approved by the full Council. Councilman Brad Lander, who heads the subcommittee, and Councilman Stephen Levin, who represents the district, issued a joint statementmsaying “we believe that this new historic district will strengthen the character of Downtown Brooklyn, allowing for new development and growth, like the new retail space planned for the Municipal Building, while preserving the graceful, historic, early-generation skyscrapers that make it Brooklyn’s civic center.” The district was controversial with landlords in the area, and the Real Estate Board of New York lobbied against its creation. City Room quotes from a mailing REBNY sent out that said, in part: “In these economic times, when every dollar counts, landmarking threatens to send Court Street back to the ‘bad old days’ of empty storefronts and dirty streets.” The full Council will vote on the district next week.
Council Panel Upholds a Historic Skyscraper District in Brooklyn [City Room]
Brooklyn Skyscraper District Moves Forward [WSJ]
Landmarks Grow in Brooklyn [NY Post]

12 Comment

  • idiots love to put everything they think is perfect in a bubble. those things would never be allow to be built now.

  • Kudos to the Landmarks Subcommittee of the City Council for not bowing under pressure from REBNY. Their scare tactics and inflammatory language were worthy of a political campaign, but the committee didn’t buy it. In any other city, buildings of this importance, magnitude and historic prominence would have been landmarked years ago.

  • Do those god-awful window AC units fall under landmark protection?

  • The landmarks staff is so overworked now, violating union regs and hours, they can’t handle any more properties. One more cost burden on a soft office market area….

  • I second Montrose’s comments. Bravo to Steve Levin in particular for not caving in to bullies. At a time when new highrises are sprouting up like weeds due to city planning’s Downtown upzoning, it is fitting that we landmark what is left of the historic skyline. This little grouping is really very unusual and significant to the Boro’s history. If these are not historic landmarks, I don’t know what are.

  • ….awaiting stargazer’s rebuttal that these are crappy buildings and that he hopes they all burn down.

  • ….awaiting stargazer’s rebuttal that these are crappy buildings and that he hopes they all burn down.

  • Sort of a random question about skyscrapers in Brooklyn: Years ago, someone told me that when the Williamsburgh Savings Bank building was built, there was an agreement that no building in Brooklyn could be built taller. Anyone know if that’s true?

    • Fultonist, I doubt that is true but it did come to pass that it would be the tallest for many decades. It has only recently been surpassed by one of the bland condo towers to go up near Downtown. No real competition except in terms of feet and inches.

  • This is great news! As a REBNY member I have repeatedly stated my opposition to their knee-jerk anti-landmark politics. As a real estate broker who has sold properties throughout Brooklyn in landmarked and non-landmarked districts I can unequivocally state that properties in landmarked areas trade at a premium vs. non-landmarked ones. Congratulations to Steve Levin and Brad Lander for standing firm in the face of REBNY’s and others’ idiotic and unfounded claims about additional costs (including that little missive on 160 Remsen read at yesterday’s hearing by Queens Councilmember Halloran, one of the abstainers). As for Jumaane Williams, we need to talk: there is plenty of assistance out there for lower-income homeowners in dealing with their landmarked property.

    Oh, and PS, re the Union League Club discussion: Abe Lincoln was a Republican – it was a totally different party back then.

  • This is great news! As a REBNY member I have repeatedly stated my opposition to their knee-jerk anti-landmark politics. As a real estate broker who has sold properties throughout Brooklyn in landmarked and non-landmarked districts I can unequivocally state that properties in landmarked areas trade at a premium vs. non-landmarked ones. Congratulations to Steve Levin and Brad Lander for standing firm in the face of REBNY’s and others’ idiotic and unfounded claims about additional costs (including that little missive on 160 Remsen read at yesterday’s hearing by Queens Councilmember Halloran, one of the abstainers). As for Jumaane Williams, we need to talk: there is plenty of assistance out there for lower-income homeowners in dealing with their landmarked property.

    Oh, and PS, re the Union League Club discussion: Abe Lincoln was a Republican – it was a totally different party back then.