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Brooklyn's tallest building, Hub, tries to live up to its name

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The 55-story building, now renting, tries to connect old and new Brooklyn

As it stands now, Hub is the tallest building in Brooklyn. It’s a superlative that’s been claimed more than once in the past several years, as new condo and rental buildings sprout between Downtown Brooklyn, Boerum Hill, and Fort Greene.

But with its height, its location, and its name, Doug Steiner’s rental tries to best the title-holders before it. “The building is at a confluence of neighborhoods, and there’s 12 subway lines in a two block ratio,” Steiner says on a tour of the 55-story building. “You don’t have to decide which neighborhood you’re going to live in because it’s at the center of all of them.”

Hub brings 600 market-rate rentals, divided into studios, one-bedrooms, and two-bedrooms, to the corner of Schermerhorn and Nevins streets. The building seeks to set itself apart with niceties like full-size kitchen appliances and washers and dryers in every apartment, and a suite of amenities covering over 40,000 square feet that includes a 75-foot indoor/outdoor pool, outdoor pet run, and a club room with a fireplace.

Competition is stiff in the area, where in addition to Hub, Gotham Organization’s The Ashland and Two Trees’s 300 Ashland, both rentals, are immediately viewable. But Steiner rejects the idea there’s a rental glut in the area.

“I think the proof is in the pudding,” Steiner tells Curbed. “We’ve leased 75 units in about two-and-a-half months. I think the influx of new buildings only helps the market and transforms the neighborhood that much faster.” Steiner says he think this area on the Downtown Brooklyn/Boerum Hill border is going to “pop” the same way Williamsburg once did. It’s also worth noting that a reported 80,000 applications were received for Hub’s 150 affordable apartments.

A few of Hub’s rental apartments hit the market in February as part of a soft launch, with move-ins on those units starting in the beginning of March. The building has been attracting renters from Manhattan and Brooklyn alike, though a fair share of renters come to Hub looking to upgrade their lifestyle, says Seth Rosner of leasing firm Nancy Packes.

“A lot of people move to Brooklyn with the idea of quaintness,” Steiner says. But, he notes, those renters who are attracted to Brooklyn for its more traditional housing stock are seeing what they can get in a full-amenity building and are making the jump. There’s a caveat to that sort of full-amenity lifestyle, though: the building’s amenities are available to renters for an additional fee on top monthly rent. Hub’s entry-level studios are priced from $2,550, one-bedrooms from $3,135, and two-bedrooms, when they come to market, will rent from about $6,000.

The building, designed by Dattner, is expected to be complete by the end of the year. It is, of course, only a matter of time before its status as borough’s tallest is overturned yet again.

But Steiner believes, unlike its competition, his building will be set apart from the pack by how it will interact with the street. “When the amenity spaces are done you’ll see that people can look in, people can look out. It really becomes not only its own community, but part of the community and not a fortress,” he says. “To be a fortress is not Brooklynesque.”