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Mentioned in this Article:
Stephen G. Kliegerman

Stephen G. Kliegerman
President of Development Marketing

Roberta Benzilio

Roberta Benzilio
Executive Director of Development Marketing

Crains

4 B'klyn Towers Top List Of City's Best Sellers

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By Amanda Fung

Several new Brooklyn developments topped the list of buildings reporting the highest number of units sold during the first three quarters of this year, according to recent data by PropertyShark.com. Price cuts played a big role in their out-performance.

According to the analysis, which is based on city records, Toren in downtown Brooklyn was the city's best-selling building in the nine-month period, beating out all other co-op or condo buildings in the city. At Toren, a total of 99 units sold for an average price of $513,712.

In second place was One Brooklyn Bridge Park, which sold 88 units for an average price of $1.1 million.

Even once-troubled projects have soared to the top of the pack this year. Warehouse 11 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and Forte Condominium in downtown Brooklyn—which was rebranded 230 Ashland—rounded out the top four spots, selling 79 and 70 apartments, respectively.

“We set out to build a high quality, high design product that would stand apart from others, and along the way we had to adjust and reprice a number of units,” said Don Capoccia, a partner at BFC Partners, the developer of the 240-unit Toren.

Before the market meltdown in late 2008, BFC had expected apartments in the building to fetch $750 per square foot. Today, those units are being sold for an average of $690 per square foot.

Similarly, massive condo conversion One Brooklyn Bridge Park in Brooklyn Heights—a former Jehovah's Witness warehouse—also went through a price correction. There, the cuts varied from just a few percent to as much as a 30% discount, depending on the location of the apartment in the 438-unit building. Prices for the apartments, which range from humble studios to three-bed, three-bath penthouses, range from $425,000 to $7 million. The opening of two portions of the Brooklyn Bridge Park, which is basically the building's backyard, also helped lift sales, noted Rachel Poggi, director of sales for One Brooklyn Bridge Park.

“The park is a huge plus for the building,” said Ms. Poggi, adding that One Brooklyn Bridge just recently reached 55% sold or in contract.

An even bigger turnaround story is that of Warehouse 11, which not long ago stood on the brink of foreclosure. Now that the project's developers have worked out a refinancing with their bank, the 120-unit property has been selling at a rapid clip.

During the first three quarters of the year, units sold for an average price of $501,934. That momentum has continued, according to David Maundrell, president of AptsandLofts.com, which has been marketing the project. Currently the building is 90% sold or in contract. When Mr. Maundrell began selling units in January, prices were cut 22% from 2007 levels to about $600 per square foot for most units, except the first-floor duplex apartments.

“It's all directly related to more favorable pricing compared to other product in the neighborhood,” he added.

Rounding out the Top 4 list is another turnaround story. Last year, after Forte Condominium's lender seized control of the 30-story luxury residential tower, The Corcoran Group was brought in to remarket the 108-units. Rebranded as 230 Ashland, the property is now sold out. In the end, the owners put their remaining 70 units on the market with prices nearly halved, to $510-$515 per square foot, according to Adam Pacelli, a broker at The Corcoran Group, who took over sales in October 2009.

“Within six weeks, contracts for the remaining units of the building were signed, and the last closings took place in April,” said Mr. Pacelli. “We priced it at where things sold, and it gave a perception of value, and in the end everyone is happy.”

While new Brooklyn developments dominated the Top 10 list, two Manhattan residential buildings in the Lincoln Square neighborhood also demonstrated strong sales activity in the period. Extell Development's The Rushmore recorded 62 units sold for an average price of $2.6 million, and 30 Lincoln Plaza sold 47 units for an average price of $1.3 million. At The Rushmore, there is a pending case between the developer and 41 condo buyers who are seeking to recoup their deposits representing more than $100 million in sales at the development.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010