Sale of Bushwick Lot for $3.8 Million Ousts Nonprofit That Helps Homeless

219 mckibbin street bushwick

A nonprofit that helps homeless people who collect cans for a 5-cent deposit is being pushed out of its home in Bushwick because the landlord is about to sell the property for $3,800,000. The organization, Sure We Can, signed a five-year lease last year to pay more than $4,000 a month to rent the lot at 219 McKibbin Street, DNAinfo reported.

Property owner Otto Perez’s family offered the group $50,000 to end the lease early, after a buyer offered him $3,800,000 for the 13,000-square-foot lot. The plot includes a shed and storage lockers where the can collectors can store their wares until they’re ready to trade them in. They’re hoping to raise money from nonprofits and foundations to buy the land in the buyer’s stead.

Sure We Can’s dilemma shows how valuable Bushwick property is becoming, particularly in the industrial business zone the city calls East Williamsburg near the Morgan Avenue L train. Only a block over on Siegel and Moore Streets, Massey Knakal is marketing a large commercial property for $35,000,000. But under current zoning, any building constructed at 219 McKibbin can’t be larger than 13,000 square feet.

Nonprofit That Gives Homeless a Hand With Recycling Faces Ouster [DNAinfo]
Photo via Google Maps

4 Comment

  • I think there is more to this story that bears investigating. Why are developers willing to pay astronomical prices for properties that are zoned only for industrial use? Several large sites nearby on the other side of Flushing Ave. have recently been rezoned for residential. Many of the large loft buildings in this area have been converted to “artists lofts” and are effectively being used as apartment buildings. Are developers betting on a wholesale rezoning of this area? Are they planning on building hotels or other commercial buildings that are permitted in an industrial zone? Are they building more commercial lofts with the tacit understanding by the City that they will be used as residences? I don’t know the answer but change is afoot and people are looking to make a lot of money in the process.

    • I’d bet even odds that is exactly what they are doing. I may take a few years, but they will sit on this property till they can push through residential rezoning. This happened recently at 161 Imlay st. in Red Hook. A developer came in saying that they would convert to “affordable artist’s lofts” in an industrial building, and just yesterday they went live with a promotional website with renderings showing luxurious apartments.

  • Thank goodness. Poor people are *so gross*.

  • Very sad, just a continuation of the aggrandizement of the real estate people as neighborhoods change.. Even if the homeless center can find a decent place to relocate, the message this sale sends is not a good one. Every building in neighborhoods like this is fair game.