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While many of us are struggling to get back to a normal work routine after the holidays, NYC's real estate and construction industry rarely takes a break, slow-down be damned. A recent visit to rapidly evolving Downtown Brooklyn shows that two major projects, 9 Dekalb Avenue and 1 University Plaza, are making significant headway towards transforming the fuggetaboutit borough's skyline.

Developed by JDS Development, 9 DeKalb Avenue will overtake Extell Development's Brooklyn Point as the tallest building in the borough upon completion in 2022. The 73-story project is set to stand 1,066 feet tall and will become the first supertall (a skyscraper reaching 300 meters, or 984 feet) outside of Manhattan in the Tri-state region. The tower will connect to the restored interiors of the landmarked Dime Savings Bank of Brooklyn and the project will bring 425 rental apartments and 150 condominiums to the still-hungry Brooklyn market.
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After on-and-off construction over the past several years, foundation work restarted this past fall after $664 million of financing was provided by Otéra Capital and Silverstein Capital Partners. Currently, a construction crane is being erected on the rather tight site just off Flatbush Avenue Ext. and adjacent to world-famous Junior's Restaurant.
The majestic bank building in front will be incorporated into the tower and is expected to host a banquet hall and retail. A recent rendering shows the bank's roof will have a one-of-kind roof deck with stunning views and a pool wrapped around the iconic Guastavino dome. An entrance will connect to the preserved historic interiors, and the project will contain 425 rental apartments and 150 condominiums.
9 DeKalb Avenue Dime Savings Bank roof deck (JDS Development)

1 University Plaza -rentals Rendering credit: RXR Realty
New york apartment construction Construction work rising above grade as of early January 2020
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Meanwhile, thanks to the purchase of air rights from surrounding campus buildings, a sleek, 34-story residential building at 1 University Plaza is on the rise in the heart of Long Island University’s Brooklyn campus. Perkins Eastman Architects is the designer of record, and RXR Realty is at the helm of both this project and a low-rise university building with athletic space on the roof.
Upon completion, 30 percent of the 476 units in the new tower will be priced below market-rate. Brooklyn Daily Eagle reports that RXR Realty has been criticized for its decision to price these units at “middle-income” rate - aimed at individuals and households earning 130 percent of the area median income, which ranges from $97,110 for one person to $183,170 for a family of eight. The developer defends the choice by citing what the university can do with more generous compensation. It also describes the affordable units as “workforce housing” for professionals who want to live in the area, but we don’t know any nurses or teachers making the kind of money necessary for these "affordable" units.
1 University Plaza
Completion of both buildings is estimated for 2022, at which time they will come as a welcome addition to an increasingly in-demand area. Downtown Brooklyn’s easy access to Manhattan cannot be ignored, but the past few years have seen the neighborhood emerge as a destination in its own right with an increasing array of retail, restaurants, fitness, and entertainment opportunities. The bustling City Point and its popular food hall, DeKALB Market Hall, is a perfect encapsulation of all this.
Downtown Brooklyn's popularity is evident in its real estate. Despite thousands of new rental apartments coming online in recent years, the neighborhood only shows 136 availabilities for rent. These include Avalon Fort Greene, where 23 rentals range from $2,845/month for studios to $5,925/month for three-bedrooms, and AVA DoBro, which has nine availabilities from $2,955/month for studios to $5,348/month for two-bedrooms. On the nearby Fort Greene-Clinton Hill border, RXR Realty also recently opened 475 Clermont, which offers a courtyard with a large-scale mural, communal dining experiences hosted by a chef in residence, and 11 availabilities ranging from $2,660/month for studios to $6,215/month for two-bedrooms.

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Content Specialist Michelle Mazzarella Michelle is a contributing writer and editor for real estate news in New York City
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