Chinese property developer Greenland Holdings Group, which is owned by the Chinese state, has agreed to buy a majority stake, or 70 percent, in the remaining as-yet-unbuilt Atlantic Yards project, owned by Forest City Ratner, The Wall Street Journal reported. The purchase would not include the first tower, known as B2, which is already going up next to the arena. How much Greenland will pay for the ownership stake was not disclosed, and the deal will not close for some time, because it needs to be reviewed by Chinese and U.S. officials.
The purchase may hasten the construction of the remaining towers, which were originally expected to be completed as early as this year, according to the Journal. (Above, the rail yard over which some of the towers will be built.) It’s unclear how much Forest City Ratner will benefit from the deal. In September, an exec with company that owns FCR said “the company wasn’t expecting to receive more than the cost of the land in any sale at Atlantic Yards,” said the Journal.
The remaining towers are residential except for one office building and retail space. Greenland is also working on some other high-profile projects, including what will likely be China’s tallest skyscraper, in Wuhan and, in Sydney, the tallest apartment building.
It looks like a long-stalled residential development at 538 Washington Avenue between Atlantic and Fulton is finally putting up some steel. The architect of record is none other than villified Brooklyn architect Robert Scarano, who filed the original plans and new building permits in 2008. While the building permits don’t tell us much, we do know the building will be five stories with eight units. The DOB issued a new building permit in June, which explains why we’re seeing some progress. The most recent sale of the property was last year, when an LLC sold to another LLC, evidently developer Sam Boymelgreen, for $860,000, according to PropertyShark. GMAP
The Karl Fischer-designed building at 659 Bergen Street in Prospect Heights finally received its certificate of occupancy May 17. Some buyers have been in contract since 2010 and expected to move in long ago. Thirty-day notices were sent out June 4 telling buyers to prepare their mortgages and get ready to move. But then the next day another letter went out telling them to disregard the first one and that the owner is working to resolve some title issues, a source told us. As it turns out, a lis pendens was filed against the building in February, which means the buyers cannot close.
“They cannot close until the foreclosure is resolved,” said an attorney for one of the buyers, who requested anonymity. “Either they make a settlement with the bank to close or someone else buys the debt. It’s an objection to title.” The impact on the buyers has been “devastating,” he continued. “There’s a lot of money and emotion tied up in this.” His client could cancel the contract and get back the deposit, but doesn’t want to. So much time has elapsed that it would be impossible for buyers to find a comparable space in the same area for the same price, he said.
But the end may be in sight. “Our client believes everything will be resolved shortly,” said Jeffrey Zwick of Jeffrey Zwick & Associates, the attorney for owner Boaz Gilad. He declined to comment further.
After a lull in development during the downturn, the number of apartment units under construction is back to late 2008 levels, according to a report from the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy at NYU. Most — three-quarters — of the units are being built in Brooklyn and Queens, not Manhattan, DNAinfo reported. They’re coming from two sources: Stalled construction sites that are now finishing up, and new projects. “Brooklyn is seeing a lot of development right now,” said Brian Meier, an agent with Douglas Elliman. “The entry points are a lot easier [for developers] to get into and there’s availability.” At the same time, some rental buildings are now converting back to condos to meet demand. One of these is a 40-unit building at 35-41 Clarkson Avenue in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, which recently put 14 units on the market. Within one night, the apartments — priced between $200,000 and $400,000 – all had offers at ask with backup buyers. The Meadowwood at Gateway in East New York, a huge complex with 19 buildings and 1,100 units, is also converting from rentals to condos. “There was such a gap in new development,” said Jodi Stasse, Citi Habitats managing director of new developments. ”[Now] there’s a good pipeline of much needed great inventory.” Do you think more inventory could mean less competition and lower prices? New Construction Rises in City After a Five Year Lull [DNAinfo]
Lo and behold, work is finally under way at the huge project at 500 Metropolitan Avenue once known as “The Gateway to Williamsburg.” It looked like they were working on the foundation when we stopped by. We found a new rendering, which looks slightly different from the one we dug up last year, but the basic idea of a large, wedge-shaped, stepped, glassy building in a very prominent location hasn’t changed. Some details have been altered: The building will be 15 stories, not 14, with 148 hotel rooms and 81 residential units. It should be done in 2015. The developer is still Chetrit Group and the architect is still Gene Kaufman. Click through to the jump for photos of the work in progress. What do you think of the new look? Long-Stalled, Huge ‘Burg Project Showing Signs of Life [Brownstoner]
There’s an interesting leasing project in place for two buildings on South 4th Street in South Williamsburg. Developers plan to renovate an existing one-story warehouse, pictured above, part of a three-building complex at 100 South 4th Street, with new storefronts to client specifications and roof access. The spaces will be delivered in vanilla box form. Currently the leasing agent, 5CRE, is seeking to bring a restaurant, gallery and retail to the building. Very recently a start-up retail boutique signed on, but at this stage 5CRE is still scoping out the neighborhood. Another pretty interesting plan in place with the developers is for 364 Bedford Avenue, the forever-stalled site of the Bedford Lofts on the corner of South Fourth and Bedford. The lis pendens filed by the bank in 2009 expires in December of this year. Allison DaCruz, a representative at 5CRE, tell us that once retail space is up and running at 100 South 4th, construction will resume at 364 Beford. The two properties have the same owner. DaCruz says: “We are discussing using the upper levels for office space now, instead of converting it to additional residential use… Though this is not definite quite yet. It may also be a mixed-use building (office, retail, apartments on the upper levels).” There isn’t a set timeline on when construction at 364 Bedford will begin. DaCruz notes of the project, “We are attempting to re-brand a block and create a central attraction in South Williamsburg and plan on creating a gateway to South Williamsburg through these properties.” GMAP
A reader let us know about a few stalled projects in East Williamsburg he’s been watching collect dust for the past few years. The first (pictured) is on Meserole Street between Graham Avenue and Humboldt Street. The DOB filed the last permit for this four-story, eight-unit Scarano design in 2008. It’s been sitting there empty since. The second is a lot on the corner of Humboldt and Montrose. Our tipster says: “It has always been a vacant lot since I came to the area in 2006. In 2010, some digging began and in fall 2011 a bulldozer began churning up soil for about a month and even foundation work started. Then it came to a halt! In late February 2012, we saw a crew doing some work again, then it stopped and there has been no activity since. Getting a structure finally built and occupied would go a long way in brightening up a corner with such great potential.” GMAP
It doesn’t look like anything has budged at 364 Bedford Avenue (aka 120 S 4th Street) since Broadway Bank of Chicago filed a lis pendens on this Karl Fischer-designed Bedford Lofts LLC project in South Williamsburg in 2009. When we went by, we saw expired permits and violations for dirty sidewalks. In May of 2010, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development filed a permit to install a sidewalk shed to make repairs. This may be one of the few stalled sites still left in Williamsburg. Foreclosure Not Far off at 364 Bedford Avenue [Brownstoner] Karl Fischer at 120 South 4th Street [Brownstoner] 364 Bedford Avenue [Property Shark] GMAP