The Sit-Down

Jewel in the Crown: Brownstoner’s Jonathan Butler Invests in BK

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After establishing Brownstoner.com and the Brooklyn Flea, Jonathan Butler has expanded his Brooklyn empire into brick and mortar, acquiring 1000 Dean Street in a joint venture with BFC Partners and the Goldman Sachs urban investment group. The 140,000-square-foot commercial building in Crown Heights will open for occupancy on October 1 and is expected to welcome a mixture of artists, technology firms and nonprofits, offering lower-cost office space for Brooklyn’s entrepreneurial class. Mr. Butler spoke with The Commercial Observer outside his office in Dumbo last week, offering insight into his motivation for acquiring the property and his vision for the future. Read More

New Developments

Empire Outlets and $300 M. Wheel Begin City’s ULURP Process

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Staten Island’s proposed Empire Outlets development project – and an accompanying 600-foot, $300 million ferris wheel – entered into the city’s six-month Universal Land Use Review Procedure yesterday.

If the zoning changes and special permits required for the construction of the development (and the giant wheel) are granted upon completion of the review, Brooklyn-based developer Read More

Lease Beat

Demolished Dive Mars Bar Could Return

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A third wave of mourning for dear departed dive Mars Bar crested yesterday when news broke that TD Bank had signed a lease at the former site of the punk-drunk-artist-squatter-hanger on haunt whose closure and demolition in 2011 was seen by many as (yet another) nail in the once-scruffy East Village’s burnished coffin.

Now, a source familiar with the deal tells us that the lease includes a second retail space whose future tenant could assume the notorious Mars Bar’s trade name and liquor license. The development company BFC Partners reached an agreement with the Mars Bar crew that would allow the next commercial tenant to occupy a 4,456-square-foot basement and ground floor space under the proud, stubborn  and–who knew?–business-minded Mars Bar auspices. Read More