One Hanson Place

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1 Hanson Place, New York City

One Hanson Place

One Hanson Place in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, NYC
Building Information
Developer Original: Halsey, McCormack and Helmer; Conversion: Canyon-Johnson Urban Funds and Dermot Company
Architect Original: Halsey, McCormack and Helmer; Conversion: H. Thomas O'Hara
Number of Units 178
Number of Floors 37
Year Built 1927
Construction Method Concrete
Type of Roof Gilded Dome
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1 Hanson Place, New York City
Distance to Public Transit Over 30 nearby routes
Region New York City
Municipality New York City
Zoning C6 - 1
Title of Land Condominium



Built in 1927, One Hanson Place was originally a commercial building called The Williamsburg Savings Bank Tower and was designed to house the offices of the Williamsburg Savings Bank. Designed and built by the architectural firm of Halsey, McCormack and Helmer, the Williamsburg Savings Bank Tower was the tallest building in Brooklyn for over eight decades, only recently unseated with the construction of the Brooklyner in 2010. Recognized as a landmark building in Brooklyn almost from the moment it opened, the Williamsburg Savings Bank Tower was declared a landmark of New York City in 1977, and has come to be known as one of the iconic structures of the borough.[1]

Originally occupied by the Williamsburg Savings Bank, the building was later owned and occupied by the Republic National Bank and ultimately HSBC after a series of mergers. The building began its conversion to luxury residential condominiums in 2006, an undertaking spearheaded by NBA superstar Magic Johnson and when completed, the name of the building was officially changed to One Hanson Place. The conversion was co-developed by Canyon-Johnson Urban Funds and The Dermot Company, and the architect was H. Thomas O’Hara. Now primarily a residential building, the remaining commercial space was bought in 2008 by CJ Follini and Noyack Medical Partners.[2]


Despite the building’s original name, One Hanson Place is not located in Williamsburg, but instead in the neighborhood of Fort Greene in the borough of Brooklyn, New York City. Fort Greene is found in the northwest section of Brooklyn close to the famed Prospect Park and is designated a Historic District by the city of New York. The neighborhood is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has a long and storied history. Named after the fort built in 1776 by General Nathanael Greene in preparation for the American Revolutionary War, Fort Greene has played a significant part in the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and the American Civil War, hosting battles, riots, historical speakers, and widely diverse ethnic and socioeconomic demographics.[3]

Today, Fort Greene remains economically and racially diverse. It has become known for its cultural institutions, in particular, the world renowned Brooklyn Academy of Music. With a walk score of 100 out of 100, and a transit score of 100 out of 100, residents of One Hanson Place do not require a car to complete their daily errands, and are walking distance to countless shops, restaurants, and home services.[4]


Construction on the Williamsburg Savings Bank Tower began in 1927 and was completed in 1929, with the building measuring 512 feet tall. Built in a modernized Art Deco, Byzantine, and Romanesque style, the building has long been considered one of the great architectural icons of the neighborhood. One Hanson Place has one of the most famous interiors in all of New York City. Wanting to present the building as a cathedral to thrift and prosperity, the entrance to the building features a stunning 63 foot high banking hall that is framed on either side by marble columns and features limestone and marble finishes.[5]

The exterior of One Hanson Place is made of brick and features successive setbacks as the floors rise, culminating in the clock tower at the top of the building. The exterior walls are decorated with depictions of birds, turtles, and lions. The exteriors are entirely protected by the building’s landmark status. In 1989, 906 new windows were installed in the building by the bank and the Landmarks Preservation Commission responded by successfully suing the bank to restore the building’s outward appearance to its original state.

The banking hall can be naturally lit by daylight through tinted windows that are decorated with iron cutouts depicting scenes of workers and students. The area surrounding the windows is elegantly designed with ornamentation of thriftiness, such as beehives, wise owls, lions that stand guard over the bank’s lock-box, and Mercury, the God of Commerce.

The entrance to this 128 foot long banking hall is found through large glass doors at either end that are inlaid with wrought iron screens featuring various artisan trades. The ceiling is painted blue with gold stars arranged in constellation patterns of the Zodiac, while the floor is set in marble. This hall was once the eye popping centerpiece of the bank’s operations but since the conversion of the building into residences, the area has been used as a banquet hall and has become an extremely popular location to host weddings.[6]

Layout and Features

One of the building’s most distinctive features is the four sided clock tower that holds four clock faces 17 feet in diameter each. Above the clock tower is the building’s famous gilded domed roof, a feature that was not part of the architects’ original plan. Instead, it was constructed at the behest of the bank, despite the vehement protests by the designers.[7]

Inside One Hanson Place, the apartments vary in size from studios to large penthouse duplexes, but regardless of their size, nearly every unit has a stunning view of Brooklyn through the large windows that are found throughout the building. Apartments have over 10 foot high ceilings, hardwood floors, limestone and mosaic tiling in the bathroom, and modern, fully equipped kitchens. While not all apartments feature private terraces, there are four fully furnished terraces that are available to all residents for use.[8]

Floor Plans

With over 130 available floor plans, a selection is presented.


Residents of One Hanson Place enjoy amenities such as:

  • Services of a 13 member staff that includes a resident manager, 24 hour doormen, and concierge service
  • A fitness center
  • Bicycle storage
  • Game room
  • Children’s playroom
  • Furnished common terraces
  • Residents only lounge[9]


One Hanson Place Bylaws
Rentals Yes
Age No

  • There are no age restrictions for ownership in this building
  • Rentals are permitted


Built in 1927, One Hanson Place was constructed before the era of sustainable living awareness and as such, it is a product of its time.

With high "Walk Score" website ratings, residents of this building do not require a car for day to day needs, thereby reducing their carbon footprint.


  • The building with its capped dome roof has long been remarked upon for its overly phallic appearance. In 2007, the building was the subject of an article written by Jonathan Ames that stated that One Hanson Place was the most phallic building in the world. This article led to the creation of the Most Phallic Building in the World contest.[10]
  • At one point, most of the office space in the building was occupied by dentist offices, leading the building to be nicknamed a Dentist’s Mecca.


  1. Wikipedia - One Hanson Place
  2. City Realty - review
  3. Wikipedia - Fort Greene, Brooklyn
  4. Walk Score
  5. City Realty - review
  6. Wikipedia - One Hanson Place
  7. Wikipedia - One Hanson Place
  8. Street Easy
  9. Street Easy
  10. Wikipedia - Jonathan Ames

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