Clocktower Building

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1 Main Street, Brooklyn, NY

Clocktower Building

The Clocktower Building, Brooklyn, NYC
Building Information
Developer David Walentas, Two Tree Management
Architect William Higginson
Number of Units 124
Number of Floors 16
Year Built 1914
Construction Method Concrete
Type of Roof IRMA
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1 Main Street, Brooklyn, NY
Distance to Public Transit 29 nearby routes
Region New York City
Municipality New York City
Zoning C6 - 2A
Title of Land Condominium



Designed in 1914 by William Higginson, the Clocktower Building was not originally intended to be a residential building. The building was the most dominant in a line of industrial factory buildings built by Robert Gair, a Scottish immigrant to the United States, a real estate developer and an industrialist.

The group of factories owned by Gair in Brooklyn came to be known as Gairville and by the 1920s were mostly occupied by the Charles Williams Stores, a mail order supply business based out of New York that was founded by John Arbuckle.[1]


The Clocktower Building is located in the borough of Brooklyn in New York City, specifically in the neighborhood of DUMBO, an acronym that stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass. The area was originally called Fulton Landing, named after the Fulton ferry that used to connect Brooklyn to Manhattan prior to the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge in 1903. DUMBO was primarily an industrial neighborhood in the 19th and the first half of the 20th century, housing manufacturing warehouses and factories. It wasn’t until the 1970s that the area began to attract residential tenants, in particular artists seeking less expensive home and studio space than could be found in Manhattan. The term DUMBO was coined by these first residents in the hope that a ridiculous name would deter high end developers and prevent the gentrification of the neighborhood.[2]

This goal did not last long, as developers began to see the potential of the area. In particular, David Walentas and his Two Trees Management company purchased 2.5 million square feet of DUMBO for $12 million in the early 1980s, and they quickly became the driving force behind revitalizing the neighborhood. The process did not initially go smoothly, as rezoning the area took Walentas nearly 17 years. It was not until New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani stepped in and he helped to approve the rezoning in 1997, leading the way for The Clocktower Building to be redeveloped into apartments in 1998.[3]

Since that time, DUMBO has become a vibrant neighborhood, and a crucial component of New York City’s thriving art scene. Holding numerous galleries, shops, restaurants, and non-for-profit arts institutions such as the St. Ann’s Warehouse, DUMBO has emerged from its dark reputation as the mob’s dumping ground, to become a high valued New York City address.

The Clocktower Building has a walk score of 94 out of 100, and a transit score of 100 out of 100, meaning that residents do not require a car to complete their daily errands. [4]


While construction of The Clocktower Building was completed in 1914, it was not initially a residential building and instead, was rented out as industrial space to the Charles Williams Stores. In the 1980s and 1990s, developer David Walentas pushed New York City to rezone the area and with Mayor Guiliani’s help, the rezoning was approved in 1997. With the zoning in place, Walentas’ first project was The Clocktower Building, converting the former industrial factory into a 124 unit condominium by 1998.[5]

Layout and Features

The Clocktower Building holds 250,000 square feet of space, and is a mostly square concrete building with a four level clock tower at the top. Located at the entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge, The Clocktower Building is a waterfront property, offering residents stunning and unobstructed views of both Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge. The entrance to the building is marked with a prominent entrance marque that leads to a large decorative lobby, with Bubby’s Restaurant nearby on the ground floor.[6]

Apartments in The Clocktower Building range in size from one bedroom units, to the three floor penthouse at the top of building. All units feature modern appliances, over sized windows, and in suite laundry, and the building itself has a live in superintendent. Residents of The Clocktower Building enjoy the prestige of living in one of the most dominant buildings in DUMBO, as noted by the Landmarks Preservation Commission, and the first to be developed by the Two Trees Management company and David Walentas. [7]

Floor Plans

Here are a few examples of floor layouts:


The Clocktower Building has many luxury amenities including:

  • A prominent entrance marque
  • Doormen
  • 24 hour concierge
  • Fitness center
  • Health club
  • Shared roof deck


Clocktower Building Bylaws
Rentals Yes
Pets Yes
Age No
Barbecues No

  • There are no age restrictions for ownership in this building
  • Rentals are permitted
  • Pets are allowed
  • There are no balconies in The Clocktower Building and therefore, there are no barbecues


The Clocktower Building was built in the early 20th century, well before sustainable living gained awareness and therefore, The Clocktower Building doesn’t have many of the green features that are commonplace today.

The building does feature large, oversize windows in the apartments, allowing for natural light to cut back on the need for electricity during the day.

With a walk score of 94, residents do not require a car to meet day to day needs, thus reducing their carbon footprint in the process.


  • In 2011, the penthouse apartment in The Clocktower Building was chosen as Esquire Magazine’s Ultimate Bachelor Pad for their 9th edition of the Esquire Apartment Project. This was the first time an apartment that is located outside of Manhattan was chosen for the project.[8]
  • The building’s official address is 1 Main Street, but additional addresses include 82-90 Plymouth Street and 97-111 Water Street in Brooklyn. David Walentas, the developer who converted the building into condominiums was the one who gave the building its name of The Clocktower Building.[9]
  • The penthouse apartment that occupies the top three floors of the building was put on the market in 2008 for $25 million, breaking the record at the time for the most expensive apartment in Brooklyn.
  • Comedian Jerry Seinfeld once joked that the neighborhood really is just Down Under the Manhattan Bridge, but residents added the Overpass to the title, simply to avoid living in an area called DUMB.[10]
  • Actress Anne Hathaway has been a tenant in this building.[11]


  1. City Realty - Review
  2. Wikipedia - Dumbo, Brooklyn
  3. New York Sun
  4. Walk Score
  5. New York Sun
  6. Street Easy
  7. City Realty - Review
  8. New York Post
  9. City Realty - Review
  10. Wikipedia - Dumbo, Brooklyn
  11. Curbed NY

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