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Brooklyn Developers Embark On Race Into The Sky

Long the sole preserve of Manhattan developers, Brooklyn is now the setting for its own race to the sky. Two developers are planning to break ground next year on residential buildings that will loom nearly 100 ft over any of their predecessors.
December 13, 2011, 7am PST | George Haugh
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At the beginning of next year, Stahl Real Estate will begin laying the foundations of a 590-foot tower at 388 Bridge Street that will be the boroughs tallest. But its reign could be short lived if Avalon Bay Communities succeeds in realizing plans for a 596-foot residential tower just down the street. The new buildings continue a trend away from Brownstone dotted Brooklyn, which has seen steady growth in demand for luxury residential towers over the last half a decade.

It remains to be seen if Brooklyn can support the current development boom, as it's poised to add hundreds of rental units in the next couple of years downtown and on the waterfront. The boom is thanks in part to the Bloomberg administration's rezoning of Downtown Brooklyn and the Williamsburg and Greenpoint waterfronts in 2004 and 2005 to allow for more high-rise development.

Critics have questioned if the glass towers being erected along the Brooklyn waterfront are too bland to reflect the borough's fashionable identity. "We have big buildings popping up and they could be anywhere. They don't really inspire a profile that's interesting," said Timothy Johnson, an architect and chairman of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat.

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Published on Monday, December 12, 2011 in The Wall Street Journal
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