9 Dekalb Avenue Becomes Brooklyn’s Tallest Structure

The growth of Downtown Brooklyn’s skyline reached a major milestone this past week.

9 Dekalb Avenue, the 93-story residential skyscraper that will one day be the tallest building in the borough, officially became the tallest structure in Brooklyn on Wednesday during its construction. 9 Dekalb surpassed the 720-foot mark, making it taller than the Brooklyn Point Building at 138 Willoughby Street that is currently the borough’s tallest.

Designed by SHoP Architects and developed by JDS, 9 DeKalb Avenue will stand 1,066 feet tall when it is finally completed sometime next year. The building will come equipped with 450 rental apartments and 150 condominiums, none of which will be reserved as affordable housing units.

9 Dekalb Avenue is located directly behind the neoclassical Dime Savings Bank of Brooklyn (which first opened in 1908), and together the two structures paint an effective picture of the monumental changes Brooklyn has experienced over the past century.

For many years, the Williamsburg Savings Bank Tower — originally opened in 1929 — was the tallest structure in Brooklyn. It held that title all the way through 2010, when it was finally surpassed by the Brooklyner building at 111 Lawrence Street. The honor of tallest building in Brooklyn has changed many times in the past decade, with 9 Dekalb becoming the latest to hold the title.

For reference, the Williamsburg Savings Bank Tower rises 512 feet high, approximately half the height of the 1,066 feet tall tower at 9 Dekalb Avenue.

The surge in high-rise development can largely be attributed to Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s historic 2004 upzoning of multiple neighborhoods in Brooklyn. The zoning change opened the gates to high-rises (for both residential and commercial use) and other large developments that had previously been prohibited in the area.

While the rezoning has led to an unprecedented amount of growth in the area, it has coincided with constantly rising costs throughout the borough and widespread gentrification.

Additionally, residents throughout North Brooklyn are upset that the park space that was also promised as a part of the 2004 rezoning is still yet to be constructed. In Williamsburg and Greenpoint, the grassroots organization Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park have continued to lobby the city to add additional green spaces throughout the area to match the stunning rate of high rise development.

“The population growth along the North Brooklyn waterfront initiated by the 2004 rezoning has exceeded the city’s estimates by historic proportions,” Steve Chesler, an organizer for Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park, explained to our paper. “After 16 years and counting only 8 acres out of 27 are built or in progress. For our health and well being, the city must speed up its execution and funding for completion of this public green space, and fulfill its commitment to its residents.”

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