By Liana Grey
For four consecutive quarters, the Edge, a pair of waterfront towers in Williamsburg, has sold more units than any other building in the five boroughs — including luxury towers in Manhattan’s trendiest enclaves.
In Williamsburg alone, the 565-unit development has accounted for 50% of sales this past quarter, according to a recent report by the brokerage firm MNS.
Developer Jeffrey Levine attributes the project’s success to its high-quality finishes, which were once rare in gritty, industrial Williamsburg, as well as the type of buyer attracted to the Second Borough.
“The demographic of buyers interested in Brooklyn are young people, between the ages of 25 and 40, who are very attracted to the social and cultural and retail amenities,” said Levine.
“These are people in their decision-making years, asking: ‘Am I going to continue to gang up with people and live with three buddies, live with my parents in the suburbs, or break out and live on my own?’”
There’s no doubt that Brooklyn — and Williamsburg in particular — is the place to be for developers looking to launch a new residential project.
According to the MNS report, the borough saw a two percent increase in median price per square foot over the last quarter. And units at recently constructed towers flew off the shelves, with inventory down by nearly 50% since last quarter.
Following the success of the Edge, which has one of the largest amenities packages in Williamsburg, including a 5,000 s/f terrace, swimming pool, and indoor basketball court, Levine is looking to further capitalize on Brooklyn’s soaring popularity. In June, he plans to break ground on a new rental project on the corner of North 4th Street and Kent Avenue, just steps from the Williamsburg waterfront.
The 509-unit glass tower, which will offer unobstructed views of the East River and Manhattan skyline, will be finished by the spring of 2014.
The building will be several blocks from a new Whole Foods on Bedford Avenue, the neighborhood’s main commercial thoroughfare, as well as a parcel of mixed-use buildings on Bedford recently purchased by Waterbridge Capital and RedSky Capital.
That joint venture plans to upgrade the site’s 50,000 s/f of retail, and lease the space to clothiers, restaurants, and necessity retailers like dry cleaners, grocers and pharmacies.
Though Williamsburg is perhaps Brooklyn’s hottest neighborhood for young apartment hunters, Levine, who is also building an active adult community on Staten Island and an affordable housing development in the Bronx, is open to other sections of the borough.
“We’re continually looking for new opportunities,” he said. Highlyann Krasnow, a broker at MNS and director of sales at the Edge, said that One Brooklyn Bridge Park in Brooklyn Heights has attracted a number of buyers in recent months with its waterfront location and access to six subway lines at the Court Street station.
Nearby DUMBO, she added, is a hot spot for rentals. “We’ve just opened 109 Gold,” Krasnow said, referring to a former condo building with 33 studio through two-bedroom units renting for $2,000 a month and upwards, some with home offices and views of Manhattan. “It’s doing really well.”
This past quarter, MNS counted 450 new listings at recently constructed buildings throughout Brooklyn. “Anything that has views on the waterfront and [convenient] transportation is doing extremely well,” said Krasnow.
Read more about Brooklyn New Development Report MNS is Real Impact Real Estate by www.mns.com.
But the borough is not without its frontiers for new construction.
Further inland, in historic brownstone territory, Ken Horn, founder and president of Alchemy Properties, is building a brownstone-style condo development on Court Street, between Sackett and Union streets, in Carroll Gardens.
The median price per s/f for recent construction in the neighborhood, according to MNS, was $680 this past quarter, compared to $782 in Williamsburg.
Horn’s seven-story boutique building will have 32 condos and 11 single-family townhomes with backyards and other suburban perks. “Most units come with parking spaces,” Horn said.
At the same time, the building — which will be one of only several new projects in Carroll Gardens, along with 360 Smith, a low-rise brick and glass rental development being marketed by Triumph Property Group — will have some of the appeal of the trendy glass towers along Brooklyn’s waterfront.
Because much of the surrounding neighborhood consists of low-rise brownstones, units on the new development’s fourth through seventh floors will boast views of New York Harbor.
In addition, the building is a short walk from popular dining spots like Saul, a Michelin star restaurant specializing in seasonal food, and Char 4, a whiskey bar and restaurant, on Smith Street, Carroll Garden’s restaurant row.
Horn expects construction to be complete in about a year, but already the building has attracted a lot of buzz.
“It has a waiting list of 100 people,” Horn said.
Such demand for new construction is expected to drive up sales prices borough wide.
According to the new development report MNS released this past quarter, “with high demand and little supply comes minimal negotiating, so we might expect to see next quarter’s sales prices to be about 15-20% higher than this quarter.”