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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 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":

    "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:
  • 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.