Is This the Toughest Time Ever to Buy a Brooklyn Building?


This year appears to be the most competitive commercial property market in Brooklyn history. With the intense interest in what many describe as the “coolest” borough in New York City, the volume of buyer calls has never been greater or more varied (amateurs, huge funds, small businesses, foreign nationals, homegrown 1031 exchanges).

My specialty is leasing, yet I get a steady stream of calls for purchase opportunities from buyers big and small. I’ve had more meetings with large funds seeking leasing info and advice in the past 12 months than I’ve had in five years.

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Buyers are all-cash, a dime a dozen and from all over the world. I like to say that if things are going well—or badly—in Asia, Russia, Europe or the Middle East, the money comes here. Developers are bombarded with offers of cash to invest in their projects.

Because buy/sell is the most competitive, and because information is sketchy and hard to come by, the market is full of skullduggery, with pirates and sharks dominating the waters.

At the same time, product is quite scarce. It may not look like it to you bridge-and-tunnel people coming to Brooklyn, but generally buildings are full and in use! Therefore, off-market sales are the buyer’s best option, though not the seller’s, in my opinion. Buildings with tenants secretly turn over, much to the surprise of the latter.

If the deal pencils out, the number is too low to succeed. If you want a building in Brooklyn, make a ridiculous cash offer.