Condo Shindig in Billyburg Harkens Back to a Happier Housing Era

“The industry needs a party.”

That was one attendant’s take in the bathroom line at a Thursday night, April 2, soiree hosted by Curbed, the neighborhood blog of cheeky record, and The Edge, the largest new condo in Brooklyn, being developed by Douglaston Development.

Early in the evening, amid model condos, cucina from local pizzeria Motorino and lubrication complements of Brooklyn Brewery, out popped a certain 2006 ebullience. There used to be, in Manhattan and Brooklyn in particular, condo promotion parties like this every other day. (This reporter remembers when John Legend and Seal sang at different parties on the same night, one in the Financial District, one on the Upper West Side.) 

But the parties don’t happen quite as much any more, of course—actually, barely at all. Lehman Brothers saw to that. And Bear Stearns. And the boys in D.C.

The Edge party, at the condo’s Kent Avenue sales office, actually happened the same day as several Manhattan housing market reports reiterated just how bad things have gotten in the housing market, with sales dropping precipitously in the first three months of 2009. 

But that was just coincidence, the Edge party and the market reports. And the reports were about Manhattan anyway. This was Brooklyn. More to the point: This was Williamsburg, the genesis kernel of Brooklyn chic.

The crowd, including brokers, was young and, in some lapidary cases, beautiful, rendering the “Please Do Not Touch the Models” warnings slapped on the miniature condo details achingly ironic. It’s what you might expect for a Williamsburg party, condo promo or otherwise. And, good for Douglaston, it’s perhaps the kind of clientele a fresh New York condo would want to attract: young oftentimes equals virginal (e.g., first-time buyers). 

“We are seeing a lot more activity on the lower end of the market, the starter market, with a lot of action on studios and one-bedroom apartments,” Corcoran Group chief executive Pam Liebman told The Observer on Thursday.

The Edge’s 550 or so condos (some have been combined) run from $750 to $1,300 a square foot; and the development also includes 347 rental apartments and 60,000 square feet of retail. It also has a colorful advertising history, as these things go, including the famed election-themed billboard splash: “Sarah Palin, Live Here, See Wall Street.” 

Lockhart Steele, Curbed’s dapper publisher, brandished another ad early in the party; a small, pink pin: “Live Here or Die.” It was good for a laugh, a little joy, before the rain came.

“Let’s eat, drink and be merry,” Mr. Steele said matter-of-factly, “and celebrate the warm weather, and, hopefully, the warmer real estate market.”

 

Collage image by Daniel Krieger via Curbed.