This is the conclusion of the Third and Bond blog, which has run on Brownstoner since 2007. It’s been a great run!
The day has come and gone. Every unit at Third + Bond is sold and closed. It’s been such a long time coming that you probably forgot about our weekly blog detailing the ins-and-outs of real estate development. Our first post was in August of 2007. Since then we have subjected you to the project minutiae in 154 posts over 200-plus weeks, including this one. Well, friends, we promised to show you the development process, warts and all, and this was a doozy. We bought the property during the boom, and five years later we are glad the roller coaster is slowing to a stop.
In the time since we broke ground, we have witnessed the most severe economic bust in 80 years and the explosion of Brooklyn’s popularity. There is now a neighborhood Superfund. Although the Gowanus rose to be six inches against the corner of the building, we did not have water infiltration from Sandy. No emergency pumping, no loss of electricity, nothing.
And, Whole Foods is actually on site at Third and Third, building a grocery store! Like, right now. Seeing bulldozers there brings us to tears. We bought at Third and Bond specifically to follow Whole Foods, the neighborhood changer, and we (jokingly) called our project Aisle 11.
Throughout this period, the property held its projected value fairly well. To say it was a slam dunk would be an exaggeration but we did well enough. The neighborhood has only gotten better and the building has great curb appeal. We predict the first owners are going to be very well rewarded when they decide to sell down the road.
In our most recent posting, we wrote about the first annual condo owner meeting and election of the condo board. Last November, we had the second annual meeting. The first year resident board members did very well by their community. They kept costs down, listened, worked out day-to-day challenges alongside the management company, and even hired a third party engineering company to do an in-depth inventory of the building condition.
We, the Sponsor, supported the engineering review. It gives the board a great deal of comfort in knowing that there aren’t likely to be big surprises in a couple of years when we are off working on other projects. It also gives us the opportunity to either address an issue or to say, hey, we did a good job.
There is much we loved about this project, from its contextual design to its diversity of interesting units. There are also a few things we would do differently next time. The biggest lesson learned? The conventional wisdom of real estate is location, location, location, but it’s really timing, timing, timing… particularly for a condo project. We bought land and construction at the height of the market and started sales when the market was softening and end loans disappeared. If this had been a rental, we would have taken initial lumps and then been on the upswing. As it is, the initial unit owners have made a greate investment – and good for them!
What else would we do differently? Well, building eight small buildings instead of one large building was challenging. We essentially filed for permits for eight buildings which meant eight opportunities for the Department of Buildings to misplace files. A single monolith building would have been simpler construction than eight buildings on a single foundation. And the maintenance staff wouldn’t have to worry about eight different stairwells.
But on the other hand, we would have ended up with a conventional, less contextual project instead of this gorgeous row of townhouse-like buildings which knit together the 100-plus-year-old brick houses to the west and the industrial area to the east. We’re proud that the Building Brooklyn Awards honored Third + Bond this past summer.
Thanks so much to Brownstoner and our many readers for your eyes and ears over the last several years. It’s been a lot of fun sharing the process with you. We hope the next time you see helical underpinning, FSC certified wood, or brise soleils, you’ll think of us.
As for Hudson, we’ve moved on to new projects in Kensington, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, East New York, Harlem, Roosevelt Island and Yonkers. And we think of Frank Lloyd Wright when he was asked to name his favorite project. His reply: “the next one.” See you there.
Our legal fine print: The complete offering terms are in an Offering Plan available from Sponsor. File No. CD080490. Sponsor: Hudson Third LLC, 826 Broadway, New York, NY 10003.