Forte Reboot Priced to Sell

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After going off the market at the end of the summer (presumably while the bank figured its plan of action), the Forte hit the market again at the end of last week under the auspices of Corcoran. The big news is that the units look priced to sell! Back in the old days, a 1,000-square-foot two-bedroom woulda cost you somewhere in the mid- to high- $700,000s. Now, for that price, you can pick a 1,435-square-foot three-bedroom. Crazy. From the looks of the first wave of listings, most apartments are priced at around $500 a foot. These could go fast at these prices. GMAP

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  • more4less

    worth checking out but not sure if good enough to pull trigger yet. This vulture is indeed flying over head to monitor if this drops into the 300′s PSF

  • Still the size of Mitchell-Lama apartments from the 50′s; maybe even closer to public housing of the time. Boy, have standards declined! (You do get more bathroom, though.)

  • If these end up going for 300psf then you’re going to have a HUGE choice of alternatives.

  • “These could go fast at these prices.”

    And people wonder why I think Brownster is a shill.

  • Kensingtonian

    OK people so I have a question for all of you. So a friend called me yesterday and she looked at an apartment here on a high floor that comes out about $450/sq ft. What do you think? She loved the apartment and wondering if its a good idea to buy.

  • I sure hope the old tactic of “depressing maintenance fees until they sell and the condo board is installed, who is then forced to jack them up” is a thing of the past. Otherwise these maintenance fees could end up being astronomical.

    I thought condos were supposed to have lower maintenance fees because they have no underlying mortgage?

  • more4less

    Kens, if your friend has massive $$$ and dont mind risk that prices drop much further near term, then buy it. if the price drop is going to bug her big time, wait and see how they go – sales paces and sales price wise. appears all the new construction condos are failing, going rental route,…. so there’ll be tons of other picks to choose from

  • I’d definitely look at this place if I get back into the market. Don’t understand why its look attracts so much hate & I like views and amenities. I would not describe the pries as ‘crazy’ vs comps yet.

  • such negative ninnies. are y’all in therapy?

    bank is taking a loss. that is now cast in stone.

  • CC are way too high, 900 a month for a 1000 sft apt? Its like you a renting the place and taking the downside risk. The CC should not be more then 500

  • The floor plans are horrible. I have yet to figure out where to put a kitchen table with 4 chairs.
    People still use a table now days, don’t they??????

  • You guys who are waiting for this to go into the 300′s /sf are nuts. Where can you buy a new construction condo in a location like this (blocks from just about every subway stop) for prices anywhere near that low? Please, name one.

  • and yes I am negative on this building, it sucks! Have you seen the lobby?

  • NYGuy7

    Some of these prices are closer to $470 a sq. foot. Of course this is a slow time of year for real estate but perhaps after the new year things could really pick up here.

  • Kensingtonian

    BBB yeah she mentioned that the CC is around 700 for the apt. she is interested in and its a pretty big one bedroom. She is fine with the price and cc charges financially speaking. She was just wondering what can be the near term risk of buying there? Any thoughts anyone?

  • Just let me cash my bonus check.

    Wait, my bonus is in restricted stock that vests over a five year period. . . in a company yoked to the government.

    The backers of this building are bankrupt. This pricing is likely to drag the rest of downtown Brooklyn with them. I am agnostic as to the outcome, but wouldn’t want to live in a financially unstable building at monthly all in costs above my currently falling rent.

  • kens I would guess worse case scenario the downside is 300 psft.

  • Brownstoner, “crazy”? Any more hyperbole and I think I’ll throw up. In case you haven’t noticed, there is far more new development in brooklyn than buyers making deals, so prices will come down quite a bit more.

  • more4less

    Kens, risk is prices continue to fall – ie into the 300′s psf. prices will definitely fall, just a matter of where it’ll hold.

  • Should have typed “blocks from just about every subway *line*.” Blocks from just about every subway *stop* would be quite a feat.

    Also, I extend my query to regarding price/sf to, “Where can you buy any condo or coop in a similar location for something as low as $300′s/sf.

    Kensington, the two worries I’d see is that 1) prices go lower or 2) the building goes rental. I can’t really see prices going that much lower, and this strategy seems to signal that the building owner is committed to keeping the whole building condo.

  • you should make sure they have someone in place to handle repairs, and find out where the budget for that comes from, since the developer is bankrupt. I wonder if it is still so wrapped up in court/bank procedures that simple things can’t get done. Also, you might have to wait a long time to close, so you’ll rent for longer than you want, and the selling prices could fall in the meantime. Timing-wise, since there’s such a condo glut in downtown brooklyn, the smart money’s on waiting this out for another year. Besides that, why not — the area’s bound to improve as all of these new rentals come on line. If you’re going to do this, why not buy in one of the condo buildings that’s not bankrupt? The stigma will wear off the Forte and the prices of the other two will come down eventually; they’re hardly selling at all.

  • The prices seem pretty attractive. But its kind of in a weird area. But right next top the subway is a great advantage. Just wondering what peoples feeling are on that specific area.

  • Just to put it in perspective, $300 sq/ft prices would only be 2002-2003 levels in terms of non-prime area, but convenient to transaportation, new condos. The current prices are about 2005 prices.

  • Ditto what Mr. bummer said.

  • the good news is the place has been up for years. leaks, defects will be readily apparent.

    actually works in finance- you’re right the original backers are bust and out of the picture. but you’re also right that the current owner is technically bust, a german bank, which is also alive only to the grace of the german government.

  • Kensingtonian

    Thanks guys for all of your opinions. I am definitely waiting to hear more on this issue.

  • Kensingtonian

    Wasn’t this bought over and no longer held by a company that’s bankrupt. Didn’t Goldman spin it off or was it only spinning the mortgage on Forte off to another bank?

  • benson

    Kens;

    JTB is right on target. In a new building, there will always be “start-up” issues, and usually it is the developer/sponsor’s responsibility to address them. Now that they are out of the picture, you should really find out how this issue is being handled. It may come down to the condo association itself, in which case there will be pressure on their budget.

  • Clarett (the developer) is totally out of the picture. The new owner of the unsold units is Eurohypo, a German bank that is now trying to sell them for these lower prices. Unsubstantiated rumor holds that 10 units have gone into contract in the last week. The condo association is financially sound.

  • Kensingtonian

    Thanks zinka and benson.

  • 2005
    Commerzbank buys Eurohypo.

    2008-2009
    Commerzbank received 8.2 billion euros from the total package of state aid pledged by the German government. The Government promises an additional 10 Billion if needed.

    That’s billion, with a B. And in Euros.

    Commerzbank has promised to spin off Eurohypo, but hasn’t yet to my knowledge.

    We live in a fantasy world subsidized by cartoon-ish national debts.

    All for “luxury.” This is how our republic ends, with tacky luxury finishes.

  • I’ve never liked the layouts in this building because, as STARGAZER said, the floorplans are terrible. But, I’d seriously consider the 1,435 square foot 3-bedroom at that price, which, surprisingly looks to have a good layout. In a few years, the building’s problems will all be worked out, just as in any new condo.

  • Sorry, layouts = apartments. Layouts and floorplans are redundant.

  • Why does this feel like as good a bargain as discounted cruise tickets on the Titanic?

  • babs

    Yes, there is new development all over Brooklyn, but how much new development is there in prime Fort Greene? The Verdi and 181 Clermont (or whatever the address is)are both well away from BAM, Atlantic Ave. trains, etc.).

  • wasder

    500 a square foot doesn’t sound that great when you can buy houses in the area for much less psf.

  • Kensingtonian

    wasder, what if you don’t want a house and actually want a new modern built condo? I would opt for a house but not everyone would. Some pay a premium to have a condo and not worry about boilers and shoveling snow but we have discussed that before.

  • wasder

    kens—of course not everybody wants a house but the psf still seems a little out of whack for the condo market.

  • Wasder said: “500 a square foot doesn’t sound that great when you can buy houses in the area for much less psf.”

    I highly doubt this. Examples please?

  • davf going rate in Fort Greene Brownstones are at 500 psf

  • wasder

    davfgreene—perhaps not in Ft Greene proper but in Clinton Hill one can buy houses for 300-350 psf.

  • Corcoran site doesn’t appear to list what floor the apts are on. Without this info, it’s hard to judge the price.

  • You have to add into the equation that Corcoran are known thieves and are part of the housing problem, not the solution. In fact, if you look at the listings for this sore thumb (located conveniently right next to a 99¢ store), they claim that there is a one bedroom at 707 sf, but the floor plans show no bedroom. These people would sell one of these overpriced units (basically in the ghetto, with shootings and stabbings at least weekly after school gets out—check the crime blotter) to their own mother!

  • babs

    Subway access to Clinton Hill is vastly inferior, most of it only close to the G train (and not even all that). And what condition are these houses in for $350 psf? My guess is they are not in the historic district and not in great shape — so would require fixing up. Two totally different markets.

  • Also, buying a 3,000 SF house @ $300/sf isn’t a viable option for somebody with say a $700,000 budget, even though the square footage cost is lower.

  • benson

    Wasder;

    One more thing to consider. In a well-run condo (already established, competent baord in place) your total cost of ownership is pretty much priced into either the purchase price and the common charges. A competent board will make sure part of the cc’s are set aside for repair and replacement reserves.

    When you are purchasing a home, the down-stream costs may or may not be factored into the price.

  • Clinton Hill is not for people who work in the city. Commute is bad

  • Honestly, I would be scared to buy a condo in this bldg knowing the financial situation the developer/bank are in and I agree with whoever said that you will be stuck renting waiting to close while similar apts in the same bldg going into contract for much less than what you would be on the hook for….

  • wasder

    “Clinton Hill is not for people who work in the city. Commute is bad”

    this would be incorrect….quite an easy commute to midtown or anyplace on the west side. if you work on the east side its a bit trickier…

    and babs, my place was move in ready in Clinton Hill. I understand not everyone wants to own a house but the economics of it make sense if you can come up withe DP.

  • delepp

    “Clinton Hill is not for people who work in the city. Commute is bad.”

    ???
    I’ve been managing quite well for 5 years. Not as easy as Boerum Hill, but still at office in midtown in 30 minutes. Brisk walk down DeKalb to B or Q in the morning gets rid of cobwebs and gets me exercise to boot.

  • the worst commute obviously is Park Slope (center slope closer to dreaded F line)
    and anyone living in Windsor Terrace!
    ugh the F just blows!

  • Kensingtonian

    I dunno Gem. I’ve been using F for about 11 years and gotta say, eventhough its a bit slower, I always get a seat and sleep on the train. Plus, it seems like the least amount of problems on rails (until recently) over other trains.

  • kens- and i bet you don’t get up for old or pregnant ladies, either. just pretend to *sleep*. big meany.
    the morning f sucks doorknobs if you try to get on anywhere in from 7th ave. period.

  • in my opinion if you have to take the G to commute you may as well live in Jersey.

  • “Crazy…These could go fast at these prices.”

    Quarter off now or half off later (300 to 400 PSF). How much do you want to pay?

    ***Bid half off peak comps***

  • Anyone know what kind of tax abatement this building has? What’s going to happen to monthly taxes over the years?

    While <$500psf is a great deal on an apartment in Fort Greene in principle, this building’s ridiculous common charges put it in a different class than most condos around the area. Even at these new, bank-busting prices, it’s still not a bargain.

  • wasder

    “in my opinion if you have to take the G to commute you may as well live in Jersey.”

    first of all this is an idiotic statement. secondly, most parts of Clinton Hill are as close to the C as the G.

  • I often take the G from Smith/Bergen to 53rd/lex with transfer in LIC and with a seat on G part of it. Don’t know what the gripe is.

  • babs

    Most parts of Clinton Hill are closer to the G, especialy in the more eastern area. The farther east you go the more this becomes the case. Anything north of Lafayette is going to be closer to the G. Your average condo buyer is not going to be interested in a whole house and all the work it entails (even if it is in “move-in” condition now, there will be a lot more required down the line), especially if it’s not a short walk to (direct to Manhattan) trains.

  • Kensingtonian

    antidope, no need to be a dick. I actually pass out on the train going into work all the time. If I wake up and see an older person or preggo lady, I ALWAYS get up. On the way home, I mostly stand till about 7th Ave. No biggie.

  • wasder

    pete—good point about the seats on the G train. People are strangely invested in shitting on the G but in reality how many people have single train commutes anyway?

    I used to live at Clinton and Lafayette. While the G was right on my corner and I took it most often I also had a short walk to the C and used it plenty. Now I live much closer to the C but still use both trains depending on where I am going.

  • Really?

    F Train serves South Slope rather well – being 15-20 minutes to downtown Manhattan.

    9th St./4th Ave corner is great since it 2 stops to Atlantic Pacific. Same for Union.

    Grand Army Plaza for the North Slopers.

    Obviously there is a bald spot from 6th Ave to the park. But then again, it is a historic district filled with top notch brownstones right beside a great park. Pretty being far from the subway contributed to its current situation.

    And F Train is by far superior to G Train

    (former B-Tech alumni who knows a lot about the G Train)
    ———————————————–
    the worst commute obviously is Park Slope (center slope closer to dreaded F line)
    and anyone living in Windsor Terrace!
    ugh the F just blows!

    Posted by: gemini10 at November 23, 2009 1:32 PM

  • G is fine during rush hour.

    And if you’d rather take the C – why don’t you just walk the extra 5 minutes and gawk at all the beautiful brownstones you people love so much.

  • wasder

    DH–good point. Or you can do like DeLepp and make De Schlepp down to the Dekalb stop at Flatbush–long walk but super fast train ride into mid town.

  • dittoburg

    I use the G to commute, and then change to the V. I find it very reliable (and my finish hours vary between 7 and 10pm). I know other people don’t feel the same, but the G is the best part of my commute.

  • dittoburg

    disclaimer – I never use the G at weekends.

  • why all this G talk on Forte thread when have other choices from there anyway?

  • Yikes, I’m hoping we’ll avoid a full-blown Park Slope vs Clinton Hill debate.

    Meanwhile, back to the matter at hand:

    I also felt the Forte apartment layouts are so great but I have to say the location is pretty good, both for commuting and for the proximity to arts and dining. The big towers on Flatbush are within the boundaries of Fort Greene but are a hike from all the dining and shopping in Fort Greene South.

    The Forte is right by/AT the BAM Harvey, the main BAM Opera House/Rose Cinemas, Urban Glass, and all the destination dining through the neighborhood. Granted, I don’t think Whole Foods will open downstairs…but I would imagine some sort of upmarket store will need to open by the new towers. I could see a Gourmet Garage willing to open on the ground floor of the Forte if they can get their occupancy rate up. Especially since “One Hanson Place” must need more than just Fresh Direct, Provisions, etc. on Fulton…

    People may be right that a regular 4-storey rowhouse in the main of Fort Greene may be going for $500/square foot. I’m not sure. But there have been recent sales of renovated houses for noticeably more than that. I would say a house at around 2800-3000 square feet needing renovations might go for around if not just under $500/square foot.

    Did anyone go to the Saturday flea market? The weather was wonderful and it was teaming with people. Very well attended.

  • Sorry! “I also felt the Forte apartment layouts are NOT so great…”

  • Sorry! “I also felt the Forte apartment layouts are NOT so great…”

  • NYGuy7

    I don’t know what world some people are living in but not everyone is rich and can afford a house. When you have a budget of say 400-500K to buy something it’s coop or condo.

  • Regarding the comment about taxes, the Forte is covered under the 421a tax abatement program, as are just about all the new residential buildings (Oro, Toren, Novo, 400 Fifth, etc.) in Brooklyn. I believe the abatement last anywhere from 15 to 25 years, with the longer terms contingent on certain conditions (e.g., setting aside a percentage of the units as affordable).

    The tax rates start off absurdly low: less than $15/month is common. Then at some point the rates begin to ramp up until the end of the abatement period.

  • Yes, but have you seen the common charges? Oy.

  • Corcoran and the broker are not to be trusted~especially now that they are the firm handling the sales in this problematic building. Why buy here?

  • Corcoran and the broker are not to be trusted~especially now that they are the firm handling the sales in this problematic building. Why buy here?

  • Today’s report from the National Association of Realtors said that sales of pre-existing homes jumped more than 10% in the month of October across the U.S. The projected national sales figures for the 4th quarter of the year show an increase in sales.

    REBNY, the Real Estate Board of New York, says that sales in the five boroughs – overall sales, not just for pre-existing homes – was up 35% in October. In addition to projecting that the 4th quarter will end with a nice size increase in sales this year, REBNY is projecting continued growth in sales in the 1st quarter of 2010 and beyond.

    All the evidence suggests housing prices have reached a critical low point that is causing buyers to come off the side lines en mass. Basic economics tells us that it is unlikely for housing prices to drop signficantly moving forward. One can extrapolate from this that if it hasn’t already done so, the housing market is in the process of bottoming out. Now is probably the best time to buy a new condo or house. If you’re considerng buying, now is the time to jump in. If you don’t within the next few months, a year from now, you may find yourself kicking yourself in the butt and saying I should have bought back in December!

    No, I am not a realtor. No, I am not a developer. No, I am not an individual home owner trying to sell my property. I’m just a life long New Yorker who takes a keen interest in the most important topic in New York, real estate.

    With all that in mind, I would say yes, these apartments are a great deal, especially if you plan on staying in them for more than 5 years. Before buying the apartment we live in now, we considered purchasing in the Forte a little over a year ago. Back then, the apartments were selling for much more than they are listing for today. If we were inclined to move again within just a year and a half’s time, I would totally jump on these spacious three bedrooms. They’ve got lots of closet space and great views. The quality of workmanship at the Forte is decent, and comprabable to most good quality high rise condo buildings of our time. One can easily see how these three bedrooms will resell for $950,000 and up in the not so distant future once the economy turns around. It’s a good investment.

    One downside to the Forte is there is no basement storage area. Units do not get a 5′ x 8′ storage space that seems to be standard in most condos these days. I was told they couldn’t build a basement out because of the nearby subway and other underground utlilities.

  • Let’s see, monthly payments around 5000 for that three bedroom apartment that’s probably about 1300 ft, honestly measured. that’s the cost after you scrounge up 150K for downpayment, and then that 150K be earning for you (even at a safe 3% interest, that’s almost $400 per month).

    And that 5000 in monthly payment is just for the time period when there’s a tax abatement.

    Seriously, you can get a 1500 square foot loft in soho for that much and that’s in a nbhd where you don’t have to spend 20-30K to send kid to private school since the public schools are very good.

    when i think like this, it really seems like a rip-off, even at these “crazy” prices!

  • Regardless of what one thinks of the overall market or condos in general, the relative demise of Forte is a lesson for developers in not taking the details for granted. The bad layouts and lack of basement storage are two of those elements, as is the fact that there are only two elevators, or that the so-called gym is about the size of half a tennis court–for a building with about 120 units. I couldn’t care less whether the appliances are mid-range or of the fancy European ilk, but the cheap, intrusive HVAC units mean you can make even less of your small square footage (and lack of wall space). We’ve seen so many developers try to squeeze out every last square inch by cutting corners, so it’s nice to see someone get their comeuppance.

    That being said, every unit has a price at which it’s worth selling. From what I understand (and this is coming from a Brooklyn-based architect friend who’s seen the properties), the construction quality itself is fine, and you can’t argue with the neighborhood and (in most cases) views. Personally, I’d be pretty happy to bite at $400 to $450 for the square foot.

  • Actually, it might be closer to that $450 range. Looking through the revised listings, I saw that some of the real two bedrooms are going for $498,000. How can anyone argue with that being a good deal? We’re talking about modern apartments that have never been occupied before.

  • A 1156sf 2 bedroom on the A line on 15th floor goes for 532K (or so), add $5K per floor going up. Views get better past the 20th floor.

  • I actually think this is a great deal! after searching for a small apartment in fort greene for the last 18 months i had almost given up and had decided i was going to buy a place at the clinton hill coops. All the coops and condos in the magnificant brownstones (which i will always dream of one day having the money to live in) were super tiny and super expensive. I was ready to settle for the Clinton Hill Coops deciding it was the only affordable place but not anymore! These are cheaper and closer to the subway and don’t need renovation! woo hoo!

  • For starters if the Cocorean group is involved there is nothing economical about it. They are only good for talking up and taking large commisions. I am so glad their e-waitress owner has shut up because of the housing bubble bust. I thought I was the only one that hated her “property values always go up nonsense. Who would want to buy something that is going down in value accompanied by high maintance costs? Buyers should have the posibility of opting out of maintance and do their own. Why do I have to pay close to 1000 dollars a month to was my hallway and stairs and change a lightbulb? Some of us know how to do that!

  • We looked at the units this week. We are interested in 2 lines: A and C.
    Any advice?

  • A line seems to have more usable space because you don’t have the giant hallway taking up space and making the apartment feel off center. A line also has a separate dining area. Beyond that it’s sort of a matter of your preference for north (Manhattan) views vs. southern light.

  • The living/kitchen area on the C line looks like a disaster. The curved layout is pretty, but makes ordinary furniture somewhat impossible to place efficiently; and the overall living/dining space is too small to fit anything other than a breakfast table. There’s also very little space for any kind of shelving or media/book storage. Oh, and who knows what will block your southern exposure in a few years.