Dumbo Office Space So Rare, Sugar Crystal Building Developer Drops Condo Plan


Inline with local demands for office space, developer Glacial Global Partners is retaining 10 Jay Street as a commercial property.

Previously slated for residential conversion, fabulous renderings of the space by architect ODA New York show a sugar crystal-inspired facade on the building’s Manhattan-facing waterfront side. The glassy, gem-like pattern required approval from the Landmarks Preservation Commission, as the historic 19th-century factory and warehouse sits in the Dumbo Historic District.

While the building is no longer going residential, exterior redevelopment will still retain the unique design, Glacier Global founder Yaniv Blumenfeld confirmed to The Real Deal. Inside, however, the building is now planned to have 200,000 square feet of office and retail space as opposed to original plans for 46 condos.

Blumenfeld has credited market trends for the decision, saying, “The more the neighborhood is becoming residential, the more attractive it becomes for commercial tenants,” according to The Real Deal.

What with Dumbo having Brooklyn’s highest average asking rents, as reported by the CBRE market report, the decision is understandable. Dumbo’s average asking rents in the third quarter were $64.47 per square foot, according to CBRE. Brooklyn is the sixth largest office market in the U.S., with 48 million square feet of office space over 190 properties.

Brooklyn’s “Tech Triangle” (Dumbo, Downtown Brooklyn, the Navy Yard) has office vacancy rates as low as 3.4 percent, according to a February report by the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership. What with the demand for office space so high, it’s possible Glacier realized they could make more money in the commercial sector.

Still, other possibilities for the decision include that Blumenfeld and his team didn’t want to have to include affordable apartments in the building.

“Brooklyn is desperate for office space,” aptsandlofts.com broker Christopher Havens told Brownstoner, “it’s the tightest market since the Second World War.”

Additionally, Havens mentioned that office space is cheaper to build, and easier to get through the Buildings Department.

Or perhaps the developer realized how tricky it would be to convert and sell condos in a warehouse with limited windows, and the plentiful interior space better lent itself to stores and desks. A possible remedy for this, should Glacier have wanted to keep the property residential, would be to insert a light shaft into the building’s center. This is, however, a difficult and expensive process, and would be costly in terms of square footage.

The attractive building will give the sprawling office development Dumbo Heights some competition. A group of developers including Jared Kushner and Aby Rosen are converting 1.4 million square feet of former Jehovah’s Witness properties into “creative” office and hotel space. The first building in the complex, housing WeWork, opened earlier this year.

[Source: TRD | TRD | Rendering: ODA New York]

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