The Real Deal New York

Laboz family’s firm buys disputed Brooklyn dorm for $10.7M: source

Beaux-Arts building with 23 units set for conversion to luxury rentals

September 19, 2011 02:37PM
By Adam Pincus

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From left: Jody, Albert and Jason Laboz (photo credit: panachemag.com) and 184 Joralemon Street (building credit: PropertyShark)

The real estate investment firm owned by the Laboz family, United American
Land, paid Brooklyn Law School $10.7 million for a 12-story dormitory building at
184 Joralemon in Brooklyn Heights which was caught up in a four-month contract
dispute, a source close to the deal said.

United American closed on the purchase of the 30,000-square-foot Beaux Arts
property, between Court and Clinton streets, last Thursday. The company and
the law school confirmed the sale, but did not provide details on the price.

The buyer, led by brothers Albert, Jody and Jason Laboz, plans to renovate the
23-unit building, “and introduce modern, luxury residential rentals, which are
in great demand in this Brooklyn Heights submarket,” Albert, a principal, said.
He expected to offer the units, most of which are two-bedrooms, at between
$3,500 per month and $5,000 per month. The developer was still studying what
amenities the building would have.

This was the Soho-based company’s second attempt to buy the building. The first
was in December last year when the firm offered the law school $9.2 million and
wired a deposit of $1.84 million.

But that deal fell apart when the school took a higher offer reported to be $12
million from Craig Nassi’s BCN Development, which planned to convert the
property to condominiums
. (Sources now say the offer was not that high, and was
closer to the $10.7 million sale price.) United American responded by filing a
lawsuit
in December to force the school to go
through with the sale, but that litigation was dismissed in March.

Nassi was unable to close on the acquisition, a source said, and United
American bought the property last Thursday, without signing a contract first.

Nassi, citing a confidentiality agreement, declined to comment. The school
declined to comment beyond confirming the sale and saying it did not sign a $12
million contract with Nassi.

United American has been active recently in Brooklyn Heights and Downtown
Brooklyn. In August, the city picked them to redevelop the retail at the Brooklyn
Municipal Building, a block east at 210 Joralemon Street. In
addition, the firm is building 100 loft rentals and retail at 497 and 505 Fulton
Street
, two blocks farther east.

Residential brokerage MNS shows average rental prices in Brooklyn have
trended upward over the past year, with the median price for a one-bedroom up
15 percent in August to $2,272 compared with $1,969 in August one year ago.

Chris Havens, a Brooklyn-focused real estate broker and CEO of Creative Real
Estate Group, said despite the concerns of a double dip recession, the real
estate market in Downtown Brooklyn has remained strong.

“Clearly residential rentals are white hot,” he said.

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