What will actually happen to the former Capital One Building at 856 Washington - Brooklynian

What will actually happen to the former Capital One Building at 856 Washington

edited January 2015 in Prospect Heights


Despite several unfounded rumors (i.e. Trader Joe's), I can now confirm that this site has been purchased by a developer and financing is presently being sought for a multi-unit residential building.

The pro-forma sales estimates are $1300 a sq ft.     

Unknown at this time if facade will be saved.

856 Washington
Prospect Heights
Crown Heights


  • What a shame. I hope that the facade will remain at the very least. 
  • That is a damn shame. It's a beautiful space in there.
  • Echoing ehgee, its a damn shame. Is this a historic district? Is the building in any way protected? 

    Maybe this means Trader Joe's will come to the Armory. Wishful thinking.
  • This building is in no way protected.
  • Building appears to be in an R7A zone, which should result in a building similar in height and density to those around it.

  • I hope they find a way to do it while keeping the facade. It can be done:


    And people will pay a premium for it. 
  • Agreed...Total shame! Its such a lovely building just the way it is. Is it safe to assume they will be adding several stories? What would be the max # of stories allowable there?
  • If they do some set backs, they could pretty easily get eight stories out of this site.

    The higher floors will have views of Manhattan.
  • Actually, from the zoning maps on the nyc.gov site, it looks like this lot may be in the Eastern Parkway R8x zoning district, which allows 14-16 story buildings. That would be a nightmare for those of us who live in the surrounding buildings.  Are there any updates on the plans for this building?  Is there anything that can be done to resist a new 14-16 story tower?
  • edited January 2015
    In my prior reading of the map, I viewed it as being on the R7A side of the line:

    However, this site seems to agree with you, we should be talking about R8x:

    It also points out that it sold for $6.5M on Dec 18, 2014, which is right about the same time that my source informed me that financing was presently being sought for residential.

    If it is R8x, then a building like this could be built "as of right": http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/pdf/zone/zoning_handbook/r8x.pdf

    "As of right" means that the owner can construct such a building without getting the consent of the community board and similar entities.

  • After a quick zoning analysis, the developer is likely to build no less than 9 stories, and up to 14 or 15 stories (depending on ceiling heights). R8X allows max height of 150'. A 15' setback is required somewhere between 60-85'. Max lot coverage is 70%. 

    Option 1: If they maximize their lot coverage, they will likely have a base that is 92' x 50' wide for 7 stories. After the 15' setback, the floorplates will be 77' x 50' for an additional 2 stories. Total 9 stories. 

    Option 2: If they go for height (and less lot coverage), they will have approximately 70'x50' floors at the base for 7 stores, then 6 stories of 55'x50'. Total 14 stories. 

    Option 2 is the likeliest scenario. 
  • Forgot to mention that the floor area ratio allowed on R8X is 6.02. So the lot (6,604sf) times the FAR (6.02) yields a building that is 39,756sf of zoning area. 
  • Thanks wbm.

    Given that this building is presently surrounded by existing buildings on three sides, I find it really hard to imagine that the developer is going to save the facade AND create a 39k sq ft residential building.

    I have no reason to believe that they were not successful in their quest to secure residential financing...
  • What a shame.  I wonder if it is worth petitioning to get landmark status for the current building?  It was built in the 1920s I believe, but I don't know if there's anything unique enough about it to warrant landmark consideration. 
  • From the Landmarks Preservation Commission website:

    To become an individual landmark, a building must be at least 30 years old and have "a special character or special historical or aesthetic interest or value as part of the development, heritage, or cultural characteristics of the City, state, or nation"

    I believe that this building could qualify as a landmark. It is certainly over 30 years old, and contributes to the special aesthetic interest and character of the neighborhood. Anyone can apply for landmark status for any building. Is anyone interested in taking this on?

    Here is a link to the form on the LPC website: http://www.nyc.gov/html/lpc/downloads/pdf/forms/RFE_INDIV.pdf
  • This building is falling apart. The roof is shot, the foundation is sinking. The bank spent lots of money just on repairs until the point where its no longer worth it. Besides the building is one giant asbestos dump it wont be able to stand for much longer.
  • iamahmadrabah: Asbestos doesn't really cause much of an issue UNTIL the building is torn down, as far as I understand, but if significant alterations were to occur I imagine that would be cause for concern/expense.

    WBM: I also think it could Qualify as a Landmark ergh well maybe.  I have no idea how these things work,(as in it might be too late) but I would certainly try to apply.  Is it a power in numbers type of thing?
  • edited January 2015
    I believe it is safe to assume that the investor that bought this building for $6.5M, and is/was in the process of shopping for financing to make it residential, will be opposed.

    They are not going to give up their rights, just because neighbors like how it presently looks. 

    If you offer to pay them more to keep it the way it is, THAN they would earn by doing what they are allowed to build, they might return your call.
  • This truly is such a lovely building & facade that allowing it to be destroyed would be a true shame & a loss to our neighborhood. Since it seems to qualify, taking steps to at least try to get it landmarked would be wonderful. Perhaps there is someone on this thread that is intimately familiar with architecture, as well as these types of city/buildings dept processes, that would be open to volunteering to lead the charge..?
  • Actually, the owner/developer doesn't need to have any role in the land marking process. In fact, seeking landmark status of a beloved building is a common way for community activists to stop developers. The developers would certainly be opposed, but they can't stop the land marking process once it starts. However, someone would have to file with the LPC before they are granted their demolition permit.
  • According to city records, the building was constructed in 1928. 87 years old. And it is beautiful. I would say this qualifies as a landmark.
  • edited January 2015
    Just because something looks nice doesn't mean it's landmark-worthy.  

    First of all, 87 years is nothing.  It's newer than most of the buildings around it by three decades.

    Also, these Gilded Age neo-classical constructions may look pretty, but are typically built with cheap, hollow concrete castings and aren't really suitable for recomposition into a modern structure.

    I'll be curious to see what it looks like when they're tearing it down.  

  • Actually Eastbloc, you are wrong. One of the parameters used by the Landmark Preservation Committee is "aesthetic merit".

    Secondly, the neighboring buildings were built in 1924 and 1922, so these were all built within a few years of each other. That block on Washington has looked that way since the 20's.

    Lastly, you're comment about construction quality is not accurate. The quality of buildings from that era is typically high. These were solidly built masonry buildings that tend to last a long time when properly maintained.
  • I was referring to the brownstone blocks off Washington that have actual landmark value.  

    The buildings immediately around the bank prove my point.  No one would argue that they are historic.  They're ho-hum apartment buildings that probably replaced much more interesting structures when they were built.

    And I'm sure the building itself is made of bricks, wbm, but my money is that those columns and embellishments are hollow concrete casts and as such might not make good candidates for integration into a new construction.

  • And for what it's worth, I like the building.  I'd much rather have seen it become a Trader Joe's :(
  • edited January 2015
    Washington between Lincoln and EP is about to have a lot of construction.

    Across the street, the residence next to Key Food will be demolished and replaced with a 7 story building.

  • Dear developers:

    Rich people with the means to buy expensive-ass apartments in a historic neighborhood of Brooklyn like beautiful old buildings, which is a big part of why they are paying out the ass to live in such a neighborhood.

    You might well get a better ROI if you figure out how to shove some columns through this building to hold up a pedestal for your glass condos, and use it as a lobby.
  • Just in from Brownstoner:  The building was purchased by Slate Property Group for a few million.  The companies portfolio is linked to in the article.

  • They have developed some tasteful buildings, and just finished a project to expand an existing building:
    That is a hopeful sign.
  • ehgee: I thought the same thing. Some yucky ones too but I'm even a fan of the crazy step-back building planned for 4th Ave in Park Slope to replace the McDonalds.
  • Yup, Slate Property Group is the entity that was shopping for residential financing that I discussed above.
  • edited January 2015
    I can now make an additional disclosure:

    Property owners on Lincoln Place are being approached by representatives from Slate regarding the purchase of air rights.

    If successful, this would be mean that Slate could amass rights that would allow it to build a larger building than @wbm calculated.

    Don't know what air rights are?    This article will give you a rough idea: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/24/realestate/the-great-race-for-manhattan-air-rights.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
  • I've been on the nice roof deck at 400 Lincoln Place. I suppose They wouldn't lose their nice view of Manhattan, if they sold air rights. They stand to gain a little canopy provided by the hulking Slate Property next door.
  • It is a grand plan for great views. Manhattan on one side, Botanical Garden and Museum on the other.

  • I have been on the roof of nearby Turner Towers (135 Eastern Parkway).

    The view was amazing, and the top of the Slate building would be as high or a little higher.
  • A company called Valyrian Capital is saying they are the new owner and that they plan to put up a mixed
    use luxury condominium that "will
    consist of a 13-story structure containing 17 condominium units and 1
    retail unit totaling roughly 50,000 square feet" - see  http://valyriancapital.imageworksllc.com/current-projects

    Does anyone know this company or what connection they have to Slate Property Group?  And how can they put 50,000 square feet into 13 stories?  Does buying air rights mean that they don't have to comply with the rules about setbacks, FAR, and lot coverage?

  • edited February 2015
    "Valyrian acquired this development site in 2014. Plans call for a mixed use luxury condominium in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. The Building will consist of a 13-story structure containing 17 condominium units and 1 retail unit totaling roughly 50,000 square feet. The building will feature modern finishes, high ceilings, and abundant amenities including a part-time doorman, gym, roof deck, package room, and a laundry room in each unit. Units on floors 7-13, will benefit from unobstructed views of Prospect Park and the Manhattan skyline"

    @bob_loblaw -
    When one buys the air rights of an adjacent property, the two lots become "one lot" for development purposes. Then, one can use the air rights "as of right".

    One can count the building that isn't being used toward setbacks required.

    This document discusses it under Development Rights and refers to the merger as a Zoning Lot Merger:


    Slightly related: Wow, those are going to be some nice condos.
  • The lot area is 6,604 sq ft (50' x 127.75') x 60% lot coverage x 13 stories = ~ 50,000.  The calculated FAR is 7.57.  They are likely using air rights to get this much FAR.
  • Can someone explain in my laymens terms what this means?  i.e. will the main facade be destroyed?  I'm kinda fine if its kept, and condos built atop and around, as long as its kept.  Maybe something (this?) will be a catalyst for the killing of one of the big space markets on washington to make way for a nicer place like trader joes or something better.
  • edited February 2015
    @goldemi1 -
    Above, I was not optimistic:
    Given that this building is presently surrounded by existing buildings on three sides, I find it really hard to imagine that the developer is going to save the facade AND create a 39k sq ft residential building.
    Now that the building will be 50,000 sq ft and 13 floors high, I continue to be skeptical that it would be fiscally possible to somehow create a foundation for that large of a building while maintaining the facade.

    I wonder how much it would cost to remove the facade and then rebuild it after construction was finished....
  • It isn't unprecedented to reuse facade elements, though I would reckon most of today's construction companies are tragically unskilled in such work.
  • edited February 2015
    I suspect it would cut into their profit margins too much.   

    IE   The condo owners who will live in the building and the business that will occupy the first floor won't be willing to pay the costs required to preserve the facade to the degree that it provides a nice short term profit to the developer.  
  • Most of the facade elements that get reused seem to be to save cost on a fancy new pointing while perhaps retaining some original element.

    I'm very curious how the major-alt on the carriage house on Sterling and Washington is going to go.  They preserved a very ho-hum facade while tearing down the rest of the building.  

    That particular one is interesting because two doors over, there's a carriage house being sold as-is for an exorbitant sum ($2.5m)

    It's twin 482 is the one that's getting a full make-over (make-under?) while keeping the facade.  It sold for what at the time I thought was a crazy price of $1.3m.

  • The one that is saving the ho-hum facade may be doing so to qualify as an "alteration", as opposed to a new building.    (I'm too lazy to verify that statement)

    There are some lovely spaces being created inside of those old buildings.

  • You may be right.  I'm not sure the facade alone qualifies the site for "alteration", but they may also be saving the front wall.  Anyway, there's no more "inside" of that building.

    There was a major alt two doors down from me that left one party wall intact and built a Fedders.  This building will meet a better fate.
  • edited March 2015
    A company called Valyrian Capital is saying they are the new owner and that they plan to put up a mixed
    use luxury condominium that "will
    consist of a 13-story structure containing 17 condominium units and 1
    retail unit totaling roughly 50,000 square feet" - see  http://valyriancapital.imageworksllc.com/current-projects
    That description no longer appears on their website. Now this description appears, without stating the address:

    "Valyrian acquired this site in 2014. Plans call for a mixed use luxury condominium in Brooklyn. The building will feature modern finishes, high ceilings, and abundant amenities including a part-time doorman, gym, roof deck, package room, and a laundry room in each unit"

    I suppose they could have sold the bank site and are now discussing a different site, but I suspect they are talking about the same site. There is a crude rendering up, which seems to match the shape of the lot.


    No demolition permit on file yet: http://a810-bisweb.nyc.gov/bisweb/PermitsInProcessIssuedByBinServlet?requestid=1&allbin=3029639

  • edited March 2015
    crude rendering:

    I'm assuming there would be no windows on the left and right sides of the building, until it rose above the adjacent buildings.

    So, let's imagine a glass front and solid sides until we get above the 6th floor on the south side.
  • Is it me or does that wireframe look like a lot less than 13 floors?
  • It isn't just you.

    My resulting thought is maybe they decided not to buy those air rights afterall.
  • Today, I went in search of a new rendering.   However, I only determined that the website for Valyrian Capital is gone.     It seems to be an LLC formed in CT.


    I suspect it won't be long before we learn more.   Someone will file for a demolition permit, or something.
  • I noted that this morning a generator seemed to be hooked to a long cord going into the old Bank and then a little later there were large trucks with special equipment parked outside,  workers walking around inside.  Any word on a Demo permit filed?   
  • No demo permit on file: http://a810-bisweb.nyc.gov/bisweb/PermitsInProcessIssuedByBinServlet?requestid=1&allbin=3029639

    They might be removing items of value before they get the demo permit.

    ...demo permits are needed for removing structural elements.

  • edited June 2015
    "special equipment"

    A soil boring machine has arrived. It takes soil samples, which are then measured for density and toxins.     

    People at the DOB and engineers then look at said results.

    One needs to do such things before one gets financing and permits.

  • whynot, your rendering doesnt seem to actually show the original bank facade in it.  do you think they're going to destroy the whole structure and rebuild?  i really hoped it was landmarked and would be preserved even if a sh.tty glass structure was built on top.
  • edited June 2015
    This structure is not landmarked. I do not believe any part of it will be kept.
  • whynot, what makes you believe that? I'm not saying it's not possible, the building isn't landmarked, but Im not so sure it isn't being fitted for some sort of repurposing. I stopped by yesterday, they are doing drilling (I assume repair) work to the foundation. I spoke with one of the workers he didn't speak much English but I asked if they were tearing it down and he said no.
    anyway we will have to wait and see , I'm certainly hoping this beautiful structure stays standing...
  • edited June 2015
    The guy you spoke with is likely right: He and his team isn't tearing it down.

    However, I've reached the conclusion it will be torn down by someone else.

    My conclusion is based on what I and others have posted up thread, as well as the amount the property sold for.

    Who knows, maybe someone has since purchased it. I suppose it is POSSIBLE someone has recently bought this building, complete with its allowed 40k BSF, and then decided to keep the existing 20k SF to run a business.

    ....I just don't think it is LIKELY based on the posts above.

    BTW, this building seems to have opened as a bank on June 17, 1928.
    See bottom right: http://bklyn.newspapers.com/image/57556087/

    It has had a great run.
  • edited July 2015
    I could not find anything on ACRIS after the sale to Slate


    However, Slate does not list it on their portfolio:  http://www.slatepg.com/portfolio/
  • Request for permits to build a 14 story building have now been filed with DOB

  • edited October 2015

    I just checked the website of the architect firm listed on the permits, but they don't have a rendering up YET.


    However, asbestos removal contractors are already preparing the building for demolition. In these "last interior shots" taken this week, you can see that the valuable glass and marble appears to have already been stripped.



    View from a distance, which will be different in 2018:
  • Construction guy today nodded affirmatively when I asked if they were going to demolish it.

    The rodent bait signs are always the telltale.
  • I've never seen the interior before. Wow. It is beautiful and reminds me of why used to be the Dime bank near juniors.
  • Yup.

    Those are the reasons I asked the contractor if I could get some quick photos.

    BTW, the city officially issued a demolition permit last week: http://a810-bisweb.nyc.gov/bisweb/JobsQueryByNumberServlet?requestid=1&passjobnumber=321229782&passdocnumber=01
  • edited October 2015
     For those who have been reading this thread, there is not much news in that story.

    If the facade is carefully demolished, the developer might use elements of it in the new design. Time will tell.
  • A local politician who likes the building how it is would like it landmarked.


    Um, it seems waaaaay too late for that.

  • A local politician who likes the building how it is would like it landmarked.

    https://www.nysenate.gov/newsroom/articles/jesse-hamilton/landmark-856-washington-aveUm, it seems waaaaay too late for that.
    Definitely.  Where was this guy before the permits were issued and the building could actually be saved?
  • Anyone have any updates re: demolition/development and/or reversals on the decision not to landmark the building based on Jesse Hamilton's sudden interest? Any changes to the plan to develop into condos?
  • None that I am aware of.

  • edited February 2016
    ----------------- * PROFESSIONALLY CERTIFIED * ---------------------
    Last Action: PERMIT ISSUED - ENTIRE JOB/WORK 01/28/2016 (R)
    Application approved on: 01/15/2016

    Today, National Grid disconnected the gas to the building, which is one of the final tasks before structural demolition can begin.  image
  • That is one attractive building. I am curious about trader joe's rumors. how do they get started? does everyone see a cool old bank building and assume TJ will jump in?

    I think TJs could do quite well near brooklyn college.
  • edited March 2016
    Here are some additional interior shots, including what it looks like today.   It appears interior demolition is now almost complete.   The vault has been removed.

    (photos not by me)
    12790957_10153501100269779_2467216593877830671_n 12799011_10153501103394779_2309939062514278732_n 12804797_10153501100764779_7036098729652895317_n
  • edited March 2016
    Today, I was able to attend an open house for a penthouse in 135 Eastern Parkway.

    The higher floors of the condo building that will be built on the bank site will have views that are similar.

    In the last photo, you can see the roof top of the bank (center)
  • A stop work order appeared on the bank building a few days ago. Does anyone know what's up?
  • edited March 2016
    It seems to relate to the work they did removing the windows in the back of the building.

    Last Inspection:  03/03/2016 - - BY BADGE # 2531 
    Disposition:  03/03/2016 - L1 - PARTIAL STOP WORK ORDER P 
    DOB Violation #:   030316BS08MC01 
    ECB Violation #:   35165422N 

  • It looks like this change.org petition needs only 10 more signatures to reach their goal of halting the destruction of the bank building.

    There was a stop worker order placed last week (since March 3) but the workers are back to dismantling the building today.

  • Yesterday, workers began covering the entire back of the bank building in scaffolding.  It isn't visible from the street, but I can see it from my apartment.  This is full scaffolding, not just a sidewalk shed.  
  • They usually remove the roof first.    It contains petroleum products that must be disposed of (recycled) differently

    Then they knock the walls into what was the interior.

  • If one signed the petition they received this message... 

    New York State Historic Preservation Office Application Sent

    Scott Watson
    Brooklyn, NY

    Mar 17, 2016 — We've submitted a Third Party Determination of Eligibility for the building, which means that if the New York State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) deems it worthy (which is highly likely) they will contact the owners and send them a package of tax breaks and deals that can benefit the developer of a landmarked building, which would include a 20% federal and 20% state tax rehabilitation tax credit. 

    Hopefully, this will start a conversation as to how the developers can incorporate the building's facade and other priceless features while also getting tax breaks from the federal and state level. 

    You can follow the application's status at the link below, with the project number - 16PR01651

  • Anyone interested in showing their support in trying to save the Greenpoint Savings edifice can attend a demonstration which has been organized to take place this Sunday 11am-1pm.

  • By then, workers may have all of the scaffolding up.

  • Reminder: The demonstration is this morning.... Starting in 25 minutes....

    Anyone interested in showing their support in trying to save the Greenpoint Savings edifice can attend a demonstration which has been organized to take place this Sunday 11am-1pm.

  • edited March 2016
  • According to the literature I receive having signed the petition to "save the bank"

    - The bank was DENIED landmark status by Mary Beth Betts, working for the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission. Her explanation:

    The agency has carefully reviewed the property and has noted that the building is not a significant example of an early-20th century bank building in terms of its architecture and siting, such as the following examples of Brooklyn banks that have been designated by the Commission:

    Williamsburgh Savings Bank (175 Broadway)

    Kings County Savings Bank (135 Broadway)

    Brooklyn Trust Company Building (177 Montague Street)

    The Dime Savings Bank (9 DeKalb Avenue).

    Therefore, it does not rise to the level of significance necessary for designation and does not merit further consideration as a potential individual New York City

    There are other calls to action regarding preserving the structure linked to on change.org


  • Ms. Betts' [the LPC's Director of Research] first response  often seems to be that a property or district is unworthy of consideration. This is what happened several years ago when we were seeking designation for what is now the Ocean on the Park Historic District. It's not always the final word.
  • I love the landmarked interior of Walgrens on Fulton near Nostrand that was once a bank.
  • edited June 2016

    Interior demolition now appears complete.   I assume they will begin on the roof next.   

    more than you ever wanted to know about demolition planning: http://www.aia.org/aiaucmp/groups/aia/documents/pdf/aiab089227.pdf

  • A neighbor informs me that work has resumed today.    The work is reportedly structural, but it is not yet clear whether the shell of the building has been pierced.

  • I saw grey sky through the ceiling this morning on my way to work...
  • edited June 2016

    I'll see if I can get some shots from above after work.    Readers, they usually collapse the roof into the center of the building and then work on the walls.   

    When the piles become large enough, they start scooping it into trucks with an excavator.

  • edited June 2016
    From this vantage point, it does not appear that the roof has been pierced yet. This was taken from the 14th Floor of Turner Towers, looking East. A view that will be obstructed by 2019. Bank is the building at bottom center of photos with debris on roof. image image
  • A few photos from this AM -- has looked about the same for the past few weeks...

    IMG_7506 IMG_7507
  • From your photos, it appears as if they have completely removed the ceiling, and created a small opening in the roof.   

    My photos seemed to indicate that they have removed most of the tar and petroleum products that make up a flat roof, and must be recycled separately.

    ...very soon we will be able to get a "sky through the former bank shot" and/or a "bank through the former roof shot"

This discussion has been closed.