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On the Market: Live in the Timeless Williamsburgh Savings Bank Tower

Updated: Jul 7, 2021

Explore a luxury residence at One Hanson Place.

By Bart Boehlert

The soaring Williamsburgh Savings Bank Tower in Downtown Brooklyn has long dominated the neighborhood skyline. Completed in 1929, it is one the tallest four-sided clock towers in the world, and was the tallest building in Brooklyn until 2010. The majestic building at One Hanson Place, which has been converted into luxury condominiums, retains its handsome presence and stature as an architectural treasure in Brooklyn. Brown Harris Stevens is now offering a notable residence on the 28th floor.

The Williamsburgh Savings Bank prospered at the turn of the last century and soon needed a new branch. A location was chosen near the intersection of Atlantic Avenue and Flatbush Avenue in Downtown Brooklyn, and so the Williamsburgh Savings Bank Tower rose, spelled with an "h" and not actually located in Williamsburg. The architectural firm of Halsey, McCormack & Helmer, which was well-known for its bank buildings, was hired with the task of expressing the bank’s importance and ambition through architecture that would make a grand statement and stand the test of time.

New York at the time was booming with skyscraper constructions, including the Chrysler Building, the Empire State Building, and the telephone buildings of architect Ralph Walker. The zoning resolution of 1916 required setbacks on tall buildings so that air and light could circulate. For the bank, Halsey, McCormack & Helmer designed a rectangular shaped-base from which rose asymmetrical setbacks and a clock tower at its center. The building was constructed of a pale buff-colored brick and topped by a gilded copper dome.

The Williamsburgh Savings Bank Lobby, Bart Boehlert

A favorite feature of the location is its magnificent bank lobby. With its 63-foot high vaulted ceiling, mosaic floors, soaring arches, tinted glass windows, and 22 kinds of marble, it was a “cathedral of commerce,” and surely a beautiful place to bank. Tellers' windows run along the “nave” behind wrought-iron screens, and central glass counters are supported by marble columns and illuminated by lamps with metal shades. At the front door, the low-vaulted ceiling of the entrance is decorated with mosaic tiles of midnight blue dotted with golden stars. Recently, the lobby has been the location of the winter Brooklyn Flea, and is now a site for events, editorial and films.

At the same time that the neighbors of adjacent Fort Greene worked to preserve their district, the Williamsburgh Savings Bank Tower was declared a New York City landmark in 1977. The building was then converted into luxury condominiums by basketball star and business mogul Magic Johnson in 2006. Now Rhea L. Cohen and Joel Phillip Lasher at Brown Harris Stevens are presenting a luxury home on the 28th floor, which is on the market for the first time since the condo conversion.

With ten-and-a-half foot ceilings, a 1,000-square-foot great room, three bedrooms, and two-and-a-half baths, this residence, offered at $3,950,000, has an immense sense of space. Seventeen windows to the north, west, and south offer jaw-dropping views up to the Queensboro Bridge, across New York Harbor to the Statue of Liberty and down to the Verrazano Bridge and Staten Island.

Along with its spacious proportions and vast views, this classic home also feels cozy and warm. Building amenities include concierge service, two landscaped terraces, a business conference room, gym, children’s playroom, and game room. Rising high above Brooklyn, this residence in the iconic clock tower indeed stands the test of time.


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