Brooklyn Flea Co-Founder Sells Crown Heights Office Building to LIVWRK for $56M

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Brooklyn Flea co-founder Jonathan Butler and his partners closed on the sale of their gut renovated office warehouse at 1000 Dean Street in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, to development firm LIVWRK today, Commercial Observer has learned.

SEE ALSO: LIVWRK Grabs $61M Financing Package for Crown Heights Office Buy

The Asher Abehsera-led LIVWRK bought the 150,000-square-foot building—which has the popular Berg’n food hall on the ground level—between Classon and Franklin Avenues for $55.9 million from Butler, BFC Partners and the Goldman Sachs’ Urban Investment Group, according to TerraCRG, which brokered the deal for both sides.

“This is kind of an important transaction not only just for Brooklyn, but for the neighborhood and for the office market,” said TerraCRG’s Ofer Cohen, who worked on the sale along with Dan Marks and Daniel Lebor. “There’s a lot of office development in Brooklyn. [This sale] reinforces the idea of where the real Brooklyn office market is: Small office space for entrepreneurial companies and creative tech.”

Butler said in a statement that the “excitement” for him in the 1000 Dean Street project was “identifying opportunity in an abandoned garage in 2012 in a neighborhood that most institutional investors weren’t looking at yet and executing a coherent vision around community-building and place-making.”

“Now that we have created a stable real estate asset, it makes sense to hand it off to Asher and his partners who I know have lots of creative ideas of their own about how to take the building to the next level,” Butler said. “In the end, I really like the ideation and launch process and I’ll continue to seek out projects where I can add value in that way.”

The Real Deal first reported news of the sale in March.

The building was built in 1920 as a service station for Dodge and Plymouth cars then later for Studebaker in the 1940s, according to TerraCRG. It was abandoned for years until Butler picked it up for $11 million in 2012, as Commercial Observer previously reported.

Butler, BFC and Goldman Sachs spent about $19 million to turn the former storage facility into an office building for small businesses which finished in 2014, according to CO.

“When this was conceived the only other place that these kinds of offices existed in Brooklyn was in Dumbo,” Cohen said. “[Butler] is really a visionary when it comes to these things.”

Aside from Berg’n, the building is currently home to coworking space Ignitia Office, A+E Networks, guitar string maker D’Addario and Brooklyn Flea.

Abehrsa—who’s also a partner at the Dumbo Heights office complex—has reportedly been in talks to buy 1000 Dean Street since March, according to The Real Deal. He plans to keep the building as a hub for small companies and “continue to take the building to the next level,” Cohen said.

“We are thrilled to be purchasing the former Studebaker factory building in this creative and thriving Brooklyn neighborhood,” Abehsera said in a statement. “We look forward to infusing new life and energy into this special asset.”

A spokesman for BFC declined to comment and a spokesman for Goldman Sachs did not respond to a request for comment.