Union Square too expensive for your tech start-up? DUMBO too full? Downtown Brooklyn too… Downtown Brooklyn? Jed Walentas has a new suggestion: how about the Williamsburg waterfront?
Two Trees is looking to return to its commercial roots at the old Domino Sugar factory site, The Wall Street Journal reports. Jed wants to convert the 11-acre site’s signature structure into office space and throw up a new office building, for a total of 630,000 square feet. If successful, that would be nearly twice Williamsburg’s paltry existing stock of 350,000 square feet of large-block space.
For more than a year now, ever since the very first rental units at the monolithic, magnificent Mercedes House came on the market, Two Trees Management has been debating what to do with the rest of its zig-zagging luxury building on the Far West Side of Manhattan. The massive block-long project was a gamble for the Brooklyn firm, about as big and brash and far away from its home turf in Dumbo as one could get (without going to Godforbid, N.J.).
Mercedes House was built in two phases, a swooping base and a connected tower. There would be two sets of rentals, and, the cherry on top, a contingent of condos crowning the 1.3-million-square-foot building, with better finishes and excellent views, on floors 22 through 32. “Everything was high end,” Two Trees managing director Asher Abehsera told The Observer late last week.
He had called in part to set the record straight about the sale of those condos units in a block to Invesco, the Atlanta-based investment management group, that was widely reported last week.
During our conversation with Two Trees managing director Asher Abehsera on the success of the firm’s massive Mercedes House project, we turned briefly to the topic of the Domino sugar refinery in Williamsburg.
As we previously reported, Two Trees is rethinking the entire Domino project, including the controversial move of how much affordable housing to include. We asked Mr. Abeshsera how things are progressing. According to him, the planning process is just getting under way.
Just what makes the Mercedes House so popular? It’s not German engineering, but it sure looks like it. Take our tour and see for yourself what’s inside Two Tree’s latest sapling.
Who would want to live all the way out on 11th Avenue, at 54th Street, no less? What’s there? Nothing! Except the Mercedes House, where the answer to first question appears to be: everyone!
According to Two Trees’ Asher Abehsera, the second phase of the massive Far West Side development has been renting faster than a sports car, with more than half of the units gone since coming on the market a little over two months ago. So far, 174 of the 384 units have been leased, and move-ins are underway—without the help of any outside brokers, Mr. Abehsera said.
“I don’t know that other people have done 170 apartments at market-rate prices with no outside brokers in two and a half months. That’s probably a big deal,” he said.
on the waterfront
Living in Hell’s Kitchen has been, well, Hell recently—at least for neighbors of the vaunted Mercedes House on 11th Avenue.
under the bridge
As The Observer previously reported, Brooklyn Bridge Park had attracted a swell of high-profile development and design attention to the first new development parcel planned alongside the park. Calling for a hotel and luxury apartments, the competition attracted not only the firms we knew—Two Trees, Toll Brothers, Dermot, Extell and Hamlin—but also Read More
Punch Drunk Love
Even if the city could be headed for further construction slowdowns, developers are still readying themselves for the (eventual?) recovery. The MoMA Tower, Hudson Yards, East Coast Number 4—all are showing signs of life. And they all have something in common, as well: their developers have their sights set on the first site at Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Tech and the City
Don’t listen to all the reports of economic doom and gloom. The good times are here again! How do we know? Because insane condo parties have returned.
Dumbo, the impossibly hip haven conjured by David Walentas two decades ago, has become the first area of New York City where the parks and the plazas are covered by free wireless Internet access. Don’t expect it to spark a trend, though, as Adrianne Jeffries at our sister site BetaBeat reports:
We can’t imagine Read More