The Real Deal New York

L+M pays $20M for Williamsburg warehouse

Developer plans residential conversion at the site

August 09, 2012 05:30PM
By Katherine Clarke

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L+M's Ron Moelis and 149 Kent Avenue

L+M Development Partners, the developer behind Williamsburg’s Northside Piers, has purchased a 40,000-square-foot warehouse just across the street from the mammoth 450-unit residential project.

The development firm, which partnered with Toll Brothers, City Living and RD Management on Northside Piers, paid $19.98 million for the commercially zoned property at 149 Kent Avenue on the corner of North 5th Street. It was previously owned by WB Acquisition, a company headed by Alan Henick, CEO of a Brooklyn rug company. The deal for the warehouse closed July 31, according to public records filed with the city.

The building appears to have been used as a venue for concerts, fairs and festivals by Brooklyn Night Bazaar, an organization that hosts cultural events in throughout the borough. It is next to another commercially zoned property at 204 Wythe Avenue recently acquired in by Area Property Partners. The Area property, which was also owned by WB and totals 54,850 square feet, will reportedly be transformed into five-story, 157-unit building residential building, according to a Department of Buildings application spotted by Brownstoner.com.

When contacted by The Real Deal, L+M co-founder Ron Moelis said the company was primarily interested in the building because of its prime Williamsburg location but plans for the property had not yet been decided. “It’ll be residential,” he said, “but we just closed so we’re sort of evaluating some opportunities. We don’t know exactly what it’s going to be yet.”

Christine Blackburn, a senior vice president at the Corcoran Group who was not involved in the deal, said that, while developers have been quick to turn to rentals in Williamsburg, the market for condos in the neighborhood is “extraordinary.” “The reason you don’t see so many condos is because the construction financing is more geared towards rental projects,” she said. “Most people, even if they are a huge company, are obtaining construction financing of some kind.”

While there’s always going to be a demand for standard studio, one- and two-bedroom units, there is an increasing demand for larger units in the area, Blackburn noted. “It has to do with shifting demographics,” she said. “There are more luxury buyers in the neighborhood that can spend a lot and expect a lot. They don’t mind spending $1 million or $2 million. There are also people who have had children but want to stay in the area.”

There were no brokers involved in the deal, Moelis said. Henick did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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