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October 15, 2011

From 1990 to 2003: Ratner gets the gumption to build beyond the height of the Williamsburgh Bank Tower

Atlantic Yards Report

How times change. A 3/18/90 New York Times Real Estate section article, headlined COMMERCIAL PROPERTY: Downtown Brooklyn; Two Tall Office Towers Planned on a Single Block, described plans for Forest City Ratner's MetroTech:

AS originally designed, 330 Jay Street was 505 feet tall, only seven feet shy of the Williamsburgh building. [Developer] Mr. [Bruce] Ratner was asked whether he ever considered proposing the tallest tower in Brooklyn.

"'We're not into that,'' he answered. ''We don't have to be the tallest, as long as it gets up and built.''

Bolder plans

By 2003, however, Ratner had achieved many more successes, and Brooklyn was booming. Hence the plan, when Atlantic Yards was announced, to build a flagship tower (dubbed "Miss Brooklyn" by architect Frank Gehry), that would rise 620 feet, 108 feet taller than the iconic bank tower.

No one pointed out Ratner's 1990 pledge.

However, "Miss Brooklyn" was still not supposed to block views of the tower's famous clock. As it turned out, Forest City Ratner at project approval in 2006 did agree to cut the height of the building to 511 feet, one foot shorter than the bank tower.

At the same time, however, that 2003 promise was abandoned, as the tower would still block the view of the clock.

For now, the issue of blocking the clock is subdued, because there's no market for an office tower. Meanwhile, another building in Downtown Brooklyn, the Brooklyner, became the tallest in the borough. It's not near the bank building, though, so it doesn't block the clock.

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Posted by steve at October 15, 2011 11:59 PM