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Carter's View

The landmark Williamsburgh Savings Bank building has sold for $4.5 million to 175 Broadway Hospitality LLC, of which New York hostelier Juan Figueroa, who runs the New York Loft Hostel in East Williamsburg, is a principal, according to an article by Joey Arak today at

The 135-year-old, 28,500-square-foot building hit the market in August when Massey Knakal Realty Services had been retained to sell it.

The historic building with its soaring domed roof was owned by HSBC Bank, which had been using it as a branch since 1996 when it assumed ownership of the building as part of its merger with the State Republic Bank of New York, the article said.

HSBC is selling the building because it wants to move its branch a few blocks north to a new building in another section of the neighborhood at North 3rd Street and Bedford Avenue.

The neo-classical Williamsburgh Savings Bank building was designed by renowned architect George B. Post - whose other buildings include the New York Stock Exchange and the Wisconsin State Capitol - and built in 1875. Its dome, vast banking room and vault exterior all have been landmarked.

The site, which also includes a 6,400-square-foot neighboring parking lot, is a stone's throw from the Williamsburg Bridge and Peter Luger's Steakhouse and is close to the Brooklyn Queens Expressway.

"All signs point to some sort of hotel conversion of the building (hopefully something a little more upscale than an $18-per-night bunk bed), but we couldn't reach Figueroa at his hostel, and Massey Knakal director of sales Brendan Maddigan told us that, for now, Figueroa is keeping things quiet. A press release announcing some details has been prepared, and should go out in the next couple days, pending approval," the article said.

Mr. Maddigan said "the unique circumstances - landmark property, no listed price, etc. -didn't deter a pool of buyers from making their pitches. Some proposed traditional retail uses, while others came up with more 'creative' ideas, though he couldn't divulge specifics. We're guessing the 28,500-square-foot building's adjacent 6,400-square-foot parking lot, and its juicy development rights, also helped draw interest," the article added.
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Architecture Critic Carter Horsley Since 1997, Carter B. Horsley has been the editorial director of CityRealty. He began his journalistic career at The New York Times in 1961 where he spent 26 years as a reporter specializing in real estate & architectural news. In 1987, he became the architecture critic and real estate editor of The New York Post.
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