Art in Real Estate

Pulitzer Poet Immortalizes Atlantic Avenue, Talks Brooklyn Development

3 Sections

Carroll Gardens scribe Vijay Seshadri, the 2014 winner of the Pulitzer Prize in poetry, took home the honor this spring after devoting a 16-page poem to thoughts evoked by his taxi rides along Brooklyn’s Atlantic Avenue to John F. Kennedy Airport, and the chair of the writing program at Sarah Lawrence College recently took time to explain his mixed views of the street and its continuing development in an exclusive email interview with Commercial Observer.

The 60-year-old married father of one’s “3 Sections,” published by Graywolf Press, features a poem called “Personal Essay” that portrays the busy corridor which runs from the Brooklyn waterfront, past the new Barclays Center and into Queens before terminating at the Van Wyck Expressway as a Walt Whitman-inspired launching pad for existential questions and, in the poet’s words, a “redemptive movement.” Read More

New Developments

Nets to Build Training Center in Brooklyn

148 39th Street. (PropertyShark)

The Brooklyn Nets franchise has announced plans to build a 70,000-square-foot training center at 148 39th Street in Industry City.

The franchise plans to relocate its training center to the eighth floor of the building from East Rutherford, N.J. in time for the start of the 2015-16 NBA season. Located one subway stop from the Barclay’s Center, the MANICA Architecture-designed facility will include two basketball courts, a weight room, a training pool and two hydro pools, a rooftop entertainment space, an 18-seat multimedia theater and more. Read More

TerraCRG’s Ofer Cohen on Brooklyn Rezoning, Retail and a Revitalized Condo Market [Updated]

Ofer Cohen

Ofer Cohen, the president of TerraCRG, founded the Brooklyn-focused commercial brokerage and advisory firm in 2008 after a stint as a broker at Massey Knakal Realty Services preceded by time as a partner in a boutique marketing agency. TerraCRG seals roughly 70 deals per year. The firm recently closed the sales of four multifamily buildings in Park Slope and Carroll Gardens for a collective $12.5 million and inked a lease to bring the first Doughnut Plant bakery to the borough in Prospect Heights. Mr. Cohen invited Commercial Observer to the company’s office that sits opposite the Barclays Center to dish on the Brooklyn market, contextual rezoning and military discipline. Read More

Lease Beat

Sugar Factory Signs Sweet Deal at Barclays Center

Barclays Center.

Come September, Barclays Center will be home to New York City’s second Sugar Factory. The Las Vegas-based cafe and sweetery chain signed a lease on May 15 for 4,000 square feet on the ground floor of the arena, Commercial Observer has learned.

The asking rent in the 15-year deal at the major sports and entertainment venue, at 620 Atlantic Avenue, was $200 per foot, a source with knowledge of the deal said. Read More

Ace Hotel

Ace Hotel Likely Coming to Downtown Brooklyn

Ace Hotel New York. (Ace Hotel New York website)

GFI Capital Resources is close to sealing a deal with the Ace Hotel to open a new lodge under its brand a few blocks away from the Barclays Center in Downtown Brooklyn, Commercial Observer has learned.

Allen Gross, president and CEO of GFI Capital Resources, has nabbed a number of parcels on Bond Street, at the corner of Schermerhorn Street, in an off-market deal, and hopes to bring a trendy Ace Hotel to the site, sources with knowledge of the deal told CO. His equity partner in the deal was Spruce Capital, which now owns a majority stake in the development site. Read More

Sports

Forest City Ratner Eyes Sale of Nets Stake

Barclays Center.

Forest City Ratner Companies has hired Evercore Partners to advise the developer on the sale of its 20-percent stake in the Brooklyn Nets basketball franchise, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.

The company and a group of investors acquired the team for $300 million in 2004 when the Nets were based in New Jersey. The acquisition played an integral role in bringing the Nets to Brooklyn and the Barclays Center arena, the focal point of Forest City Ratner’s Atlantic Yards development. Read More

On the Market

Mixed-Use Property Near Barclays Center Hits Market at $8M

260 Flatbush Avenue

A Park Slope mixed-use property three blocks from Barclays Center has come on the market for $8 million, Commercial Observer has learned.

The residential and retail property, at 260 Flatbush Avenue, also known as 89-91 Prospect Place, is being exclusively marketed by Eastern Consolidated. The buyer can erect a seven-story addition on top of the existing 3,975-square-foot, one-story structure. Read More

Barclays Center

Barclays Center Soundproofed Before The Ozzman Cometh

Vocalist Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath will play a newly dampened Barclay's Arena next month. (Credit: virginmedia.com)

Particularly loud acts visiting the Barclays Center in Brooklyn will be asked to keep the noise down despite the recent installation of 1,800 insulated ceiling panels meant to keep sound from escaping the arena and into the rattled ears of fed up neighbors. 

The installation of the ceiling panels, first reported in atlanticyardsreport.com, followed a string of noise complaints by disgruntled neighbors which in May of last year led to a $3,200 noise violation fine.

Read More

The Sit-Down

Tucker Reed Won’t Sleep Until Downtown Brooklyn Becomes a 24/7 Community

Tucker Reed, president of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership

Tucker Reed is sweet on Brooklyn—big time. A resident of Prospect Heights who enjoys frequenting the Barclays Center, the Brooklyn Museum and the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Mr. Reed is a champion of the city’s most populous borough. He is a ball of energy as he talks about all of the work the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership has done with him as president for the past two years, from supporting the technology sector with the Brooklyn Tech Triangle Coalition to establishing Downtown Brooklyn as New York City’s college town. About a year after Commercial Observer conducted the Sit-Down interview with Mr. Tucker, we wanted to check in and see how the nonprofit has been doing with the reinvention of Downtown Brooklyn. Read More

Lobby

MaryAnne Gilmartin Named Co-Chair of Downtown Brooklyn Partnership Board

MaryAnne Gilmartin

MaryAnne Gilmartin, president and CEO of Forest City Ratner Companies, and tech leader MakerBot CEO Bre Pettis will serve as the new co-chairs of the board of directors of the nonprofit Downtown Brooklyn Partnership.

“When the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership launched in 2006, Downtown Brooklyn looked, felt and served a very different role than today,” Downtown Brooklyn Partnership President Tucker Reed said in a statement. “Now, new firms and families are choosing to be here because of the neighborhood’s strong foundation and rich history. MaryAnne and Bre embody a new generation of Brooklyn entrepreneurs, and I am delighted that we’ll be able to tap into their experience and wisdom.” Read More

Sales Beat

Massey Knakal Arranges $8.9M Retail Sale Along Flatbush Avenue

357-365 Flatbush Avenue

Massey Knakal has arranged the $8.9 million sale of a 10,400-square-foot mixed-use building at 357-365 Flatbush Avenue, located between Sterling and Park Places in Brooklyn’s Prospect Heights neighborhood.

The new owner purchased the property as a retail play, with hopes of bringing in a major retailer in the vein of a CVS or Duane Reade—if not a fashion boutique Read More

Atlantic Yards

Forest City and Greenland Group Complete Atlantic Yards Partnership Agreement

atlantic-yards

Forest City Enterprises and Greenland Holdings Group, a Chinese state-owned developer, have completed an agreement for a joint-venture to develop Atlantic Yards, the companies announced today.

The two parties had previously announced a preliminary deal in October under which Greenland would acquire a 70-percent stake in the Atlantic Yards project from Forest City. Expected to close in 2014, the joint venture includes phases one and two of the project, excluding the Barclays Center and the B2 modular housing tower.

Read More

Lease Beat

Little Cupcake Bakeshop Bites Into Prospect Heights Lease

The Nolita branch of Little Cupcake Bakeshop

Little Cupcake Bakeshop signed a 15-year, 2,200-square-foot lease at 598 Vanderbilt Avenue in Prospect Heights and not far from the growing constellation of dining options around the Barclays Center.

It’s the third outpost of the bakery, which debuted eight years ago in Bay Ridge and in 2010 expanded to Nolita. Asking rent was $150 per square foot. The store is split between a 1,000-square-foot basement and 1,200-square-foot ground floor. Read More

Atlantic Yards

Forest City Ratner Sues the City for More Atlantic Yards Tax Breaks

The arena is there, but the housing towers remain ghosts.

Apparently, $761 million in subsidies and tax breaks isn’t enough for Forest City Ratner. The Atlantic Yards developer is thanking the city for its generosity by suing the Department of Finance for a lower tax assessment.

The developer has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Finance, in an attempt to knock down the market value assessment on block 1129, which comprises the southern section of the development site, from $11.2 million to a scant $1.6 million, DNAinfo reported today. Read More