The Real Deal New York

Development firm sets its sights on Park Slope, Carroll Gardens

East River Partners is buying up, converting brownstone Brooklyn properties

October 01, 2012 05:30PM
By Christopher Cameron

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From left: 397 First Street, 371 Sixth Avenue, 364 Union Street and 432 10th Street

These days, high-end Manhattan condo conversions are as quotidian as eight-figure listings. But with soaring prices for properties in Brooklyn’s leafier neighborhoods, some of the borough’s pre-war multi-family rental buildings are getting Manhattan-style makeovers.

In Park Slope and Carroll Gardens, the Manhattan-based developer East River Partners is currently buying up and gut-renovating non-rent regulated multi-family buildings throughout the area. In the past year and a half, the firm has scooped up three multi-family buildings in Park Slope and one in Carroll Gardens. The company is in the process of transforming the buildings into 900- to 2,000-square-foot, two and three bedroom condominiums — units designed to lure Brooklyn’s Bugaboo stroller-pushing set.

“Rents are so strong in Brooklyn now — and interest rates so low — that the monthly cost for our buyers of owning a home can be roughly half the cost or renting once they take into effect the deduction of interest from their taxes,” East Rivers Partners principal Jody Kriss said, explaining why the firm is intent on buying up and converting Brooklyn buildings.

Kriss, together with Joseph Cohen, recently formed East River Partners to buy up and convert prime Brooklyn properties. Prior to founding the company, Kriss was a developer of high-profile Manhattan projects, including Trump Soho, and Cohen acted as the head of acquisitions at Maxx Properties.

And while the success of their Brooklyn model is still being tested, the firm has had some early victories. For instance, East Rivers’ recently converted multi-family building at 397 First Street, between Sixth and Seventh avenues, in Park Slope, which came on the market in July, has four of its seven units in contract. Asking prices on the remaining three apartments range from $829,000 to nearly $1.3 million.

Just four blocks southwest of 397 First, East River purchased another prewar multi-family building at 371 Sixth Avenue, between 5th and 6th streets, for $1.75 million in March, according to public records; beginning in October, the four-unit property is set to undergo a renovation similar to that at 397 First. And construction recently got underway at 364 Union Street, at Smith Street, in Carroll Gardens; East River picked up the Carroll Gardens property in April for $2.5 million, public records showed. Construction on both projects is expected to wrap up next year, and pricing will be similar to units at 397 First, Kriss said.

In addition, East River is in contract to buy yet another Park Slope property at 432 10th Street, between Fifth and Sixth avenues, for an undisclosed amount; the three-story building is listed for nearly $1.6 million with Century 21 Block & Lot’s Mike Hasan.

Converting multi-family buildings in Park Slope on this scale is fairly unique, due to the limited supply of non-rent controlled properties, according to Seth Brown of Aspen Equities, who is not involved in East River’s deals. Competition isn’t coming primarily from other firms looking to buy swaths of rental buildings, but from families looking to convert townhouses into grand multi-million dollar homes, he said.

East River management says that they see brownstone Brooklyn neighborhoods as a safe bet — given the proximity to Prospect Park, to well-regarded public schools, to popular restaurants and upscale retail. “We have been extremely pleased with the market’s reception to what we’ve built,” Cohen said.  “So far, all of the units we’ve sold have been at or over the asking price.”

  • Kriss Data?

    I know this article is old, but I suggest not doing any dealings with East River Partners. One of their owners is a shady guy.

    • theacclaimed

      Strong dredging of this article. How did you even find this?

      • Kriss Data?

        It’s pretty high up when you Google “East River Partners” and “Jody Kriss”.

        • krissinsider

          If pretty high up means almost the top of the first page, then yeah, it’s pretty high up!

      • krissinsider

        It’s interlinked through a few other sources.

    • krissinsider

      Shady is barely scraping the surface. Look at the New York Post article I posted above: http://nypost.com/2014/03/16/mob-rat-says-business-partner-tried-to-nail-him-over-2-5m-suit/

  • JodyKrissDotCom

    Anyone else see the article in the NY Post about Jody Kriss? If you haven’t you should give it a google.

  • river1

    What is
    going on with all these Kriss lawsuits coming to life?

    • guest

      What do you expect from Wharton, honestly?

      • river1

        That’s not fair. Don’t discredit an entire school from the results of one graduate’s business practices

        • krissinsider

          Exactly.

      • krissinsider

        It’s not Wharton, it’s a bad egg. I’m sure he was normal after graduation, but the associations made since then were what turned him into a scumbag ex mobster.

    • krissinsider

      The lawsuit against him was brought to light a few weeks ago and circulated all over the country in various news outlets.

  • Antilles

    Heard he
    tried to sue Donald Trump and dozens of others for over a billion dollars

    • guest

      Google the guy’s name and see what pops up. A lot of negative things to say about Kriss and East River Partners

      • Antilles

        Whoa, you weren’t kidding. So either this guy has some serious enemies who are trying to bury him under a mess of bad publicity, or this is some serious crap he’s in

      • krissinsider

        When a high-profile real estate developer has this kind of bad business cropping up on the headlines for his own name, something has to be up.

    • krissinsider

      Donald Trump and a whole team of others as well. http://www.jodykriss.net has the images of one of the documents for reference. Scummy individual, that’s for sure.

      • fromrealestateboards

        That’s a lot of LLC’s, LLP’s, and important people.

      • doubleentendre

        Haha look at the summons. The attorney’s email address is fredd55@aol.com. AOL??? Really???

  • guest

    I was linked to this article by a real estate forum. What is going on with East River Partners?

    • guest
      • lolmob

        This reeks of mob tactics

      • Sal

        Who is Salvatore Lauria and why did he need an anlket

        • guest

          lol, “According to the NY Law Journal posted on March 19, 2014, “Lauria claims that Kriss was “intrigued” by his criminal history, routinely asked to see his ankle monitor, courted Russian and Turkish mobsters and became known in the office as “vor-ton,” a play on words reflecting his alma mater and a Slavic phrase for thief.”

          • krissinsider

            Kriss was more than “intrugued”, he is an ex-mobster fascinated with someone who got caught doing what he was already doing.

          • fromrealestateboards

            Kriss was so enamored of the criminal underworld that he also “would routinely ask to see Lauria’s court-mandated ankle monitor and referred to it as ‘federal jewelry,’ ” according to the papers.

        • guest

          I did some digging on Lauria and found nothing really. Maybe someone with further reaching hands can dig up something deeper. I’m genuinely interested in learning more about this. I smell a book deal

          • Sal

            Regarding Lauria, a NYT article states: “Mr. Lauria agreed to cooperate with the United States attorney’s office in Brooklyn and pleaded guilty to racketeering charges in connection with the fraudulent stock brokerages”

          • guest

            Strong Jordan Belfort vibes from that guy.

          • krissinsider

            You’re telling me. But instead of dealing with Swiss banks, he is dealing with mob bosses, and instead of being a stock broker, he’s a real estate developer.

          • fromrealestateboards

            I’ve seen you responding to a lot. Do you know a lot about this case and this ex mobster? Let me know, and we can pool resources and maybe release something. Thanks.

          • fromrealestateboards
          • krissinsider

            He wasn’t alone in that racket, but what is going on now with the ex-mobster Jody Kriss is more relevant than something that happened over 10 years ago.

          • fromrealestateboards

            “Lauria began consulting for Bayrock, whose projects include the Trump Soho hotel/condominiums on Spring Street, with Kriss as the front man, the lawsuit says.

            But Kriss grew furious when Lauria brokered an $85 million real-estate deal with the FL Group of Iceland in 2007 and took the entire $2.5 million commission, the lawsuit says.”

          • krissinsider

            It’s less about Lauria and more about stopping Kriss’ scummy business practices. Look deeper and you’ll find more information regarding this.

          • fromrealestateboards

            This is some mafia-level stuff I thought only happened in movies. Never would I have thought it was all read world.

          • fromrealestateboards

            The New York Post article I linked to above stated the following: Lauria, 51, turned federal informant in the 1990s to dodge a racketeering charge as part of a $40 million Wall Street pump-and-dump scheme. A former Gambino and Genovese associate, his testimony helped put away the relatives of Carmine “the Snake’’ Persico and Sammy “Bull’’ Gravano.

        • guest
          • krissinsider

            Lauria is trying to get that book pulled, though.

          • fromrealestateboards

            I’ve read that. Filler, mainly. There’s a reason it’s not a bestseller.

        • krissinsider

          Lauria is a guy who got mixed up with the wrong crowd a long time ago. He wants $5 million for emotional distress from Kriss the scumbag.

          • fromrealestateboards

            I’m surprised he didn’t go for more. Greedy Kriss wanted a billion dollars from dozens of people haha!

          • Vorton

            A billion dollars?!?!?! Good going, Vorton. You know what I’d do with a billion dollars? I’d disappear forever.

        • fromrealestateboards

          He was involved in some crap back in the day it seems, and was harassed a lot by Kriss regarding it.

      • fromrealestateboards

        This is one of dozens of other stories from various outlets regarding the same case. Highly probable it’s legitimate.

    • Sal

      I was linked here from the same forum as well. Any more info?

      • ancil McGowan

        It could be nothing more than a swath of negative press

        • krissinsider

          Yeah, that’s a whole lot of negative press! I’ve seen worse come out of the real estate boom in the City.

        • fromrealestateboards

          New York Post doesn’t post fake information.

      • fromrealestateboards

        I’m here from the forum, too. Username on there is REGIS12

    • guest

      It’s on a ton of various news outlets. Was a large PR piece a few weeks ago.

      • guest
      • krissinsider

        A lot of bad business in all those articles. I’ve seen the same piece about Salvatore suing him for $5 million posted on news networks pages all across the country!

        • fromrealestateboards

          Serves him right. I wouldn’t want someone continuing to ask me about my anklet all the time.

          • Vorton

            Above the paragraph in the NYP article about the anklet is one about him being nicknamed “vorton” by his Russian mobster buddies. It’s funny because he went to Wharton and: Russian pals started calling him “Vor-ton,” a play on his alma mater Wharton,’’ the suit says. In Russia, mobsters are referred to as vor-in-laws, or thief-in-laws.

      • fromrealestateboards

        On various news networks and comments from other articles, plus the thread on the real estate board, I’ve counted over 30 PR pieces all over the country, to places like Hawaii and Maine and Orlando, etc.

    • krissinsider

      What’s NOT going on with East River Partners is more like it. One of their main guys is a real scummy guy with mob boss tactics.

    • fromrealestateboards

      Not all of East River, but a former employee of Bayrock turned East River principal named Jody Kriss. Scummy character.

      • Vorton

        A former employee of Bayrock turned East River principal named Vorton. -FTFY

  • curiousaboutkriss

    Are you guys from the forum thread discussing this?

    • Sal

      Yes

    • lolmob

      Yeah, taht’s where we are from

    • krissinsider

      I got word from the forum thread and spent some time digging deeper into the mess. I’m from the area, so it hits home a bit.

  • krissinsider
  • fromrealestateboards

    What about this recent New York Post article about Kriss’ shady dealings and manipulative business tactics? http://nypost.com/2014/03/16/mob-rat-says-business-partner-tried-to-nail-him-over-2-5m-suit/

  • guest72018

    Wow J. Kriss is such a scumbag, hope he and his father get their just desserts

  • Vorton

    Can someone explain to me the concept of Kriss being called “vorton” in a few articles? Thanks.

    • Vorton

      Never mind, I found it embedded within the New York Post article: Russian pals started calling him “Vor-ton,” a play on his alma mater Wharton,’’ the suit says. In Russia, mobsters are referred to as vor-in-laws, or thief-in-laws.

  • question

    What did
    he try to sue them for?

  • informant

    This
    should help: http://jodykriss.info/

  • Krisswatch

    It still doesn’t give
    any information as to what the lawsuit is about. Why is he suing all these
    people?

    • 777

      I don’t think it’s suing as much as it is tried to sue. If he had won, I’m sure it would have been all over the news. This case is almost a year old.

  • Alexis Q

    So can someone clarify this entire situation for me? I read all of the comments and I’ve been following along with Jody Kriss’ lawsuit issues and his propensity for being a habitual litigator, but I don’t know how much of it is believable. Thanks.

    • Walter V. Dugan

      Absolutely. From what I can gather from the New York Post article (http://nypost.com/2014/03/16/mob-rat-says-business-partner-tried-to-nail-him-over-2-5m-suit/), Kriss was involved in some mobster tactics and strange stuff involving a guy named Salvatore Lauria, a mob informant with a police tracking anklet that Kriss would bug him about constantly.

      • Alexis Q

        I’m not following. What does this have to do with the billion-dollar lawsuit and the $20 million blogger lawsuit he’s trying to get pushed forward?

        • Walter V. Dugan

          You can read the court document from the billion-dollar lawsuit here: http://jodykriss.net/. Kriss was involved with Bayrock. Interestingly enough, look at one of the names of the Group IV defendants.

          • Alexis Q

            Wait, this “billion-dollar lawsuit” included Donald Trump as a defendant? Why? Was it something involving the Trump SoHo project that Bayrock had?

          • Walter V. Dugan

            I’m not completely sure, but the lawsuit was thrown out, obviously. So then this Lauria fellow counter-sues Kriss for $5 million in emotional damages.

          • Alexis Q

            Was that case thrown out of court as well along with the $1 billion suit against the entirety of New York City? Or did something actually come of it?

          • Alexis Q

            Wait, so was Kriss involved in the $85 million deal with the FL Group that made Lauria the $2.5 million commission, or did he just do a small task and feel that he was entitled to some of it?

          • Walter V. Dugan

            Whatever the case was, Kriss decided to take the mobster route and hire someone to beat the crap out of him in a restaurant and threaten to kill him. I’d assume he did some of the work and thought he was entitled to half the money for some reason.

          • Walter V. Dugan

            Oh, I fully agree. The guy is a scumbag. But that brings us to the $20 million lawsuit against a blogger who was basically stating all the things I’ve talked about in my comments.

          • Alexis Q

            I find it funny that, if this is the case, he was quoted in the New York Post article as saying that “the bullying needs to stop” and that he is being pressured by lawsuits that they are losing. It seems from this that it is the complete opposite.

          • Walter V Dugan

            Oh, I fully agree. The guy is a scumbag. But that brings us to the $20 million lawsuit against a blogger who was basically stating all the things I’ve talked about in my comments.

          • Alexis Q

            Do you have a link that I can read regarding this situation?

          • Alexis Q

            Wow, so Jody Kriss is attempting to sue someone against their first amendment rights to freedom of speech? That sounds a little on the scummy side if I say so myself.

          • Alexis Q

            So what does an individual do in a situation like this? Just ignore it?

          • Walter V. Dugan

            Trust me, if he had that press release drawn up and sent out, he is not ignoring it. I wouldn’t be surprised if, once this case hits rock bottom, Lombardi countersues like Lauria did.

          • Alexis Q

            But he had to hire a lawyer in the first place to make this counter-comment on the press release, correct? What happens regarding that? Can he bill Kriss once the suit is dropped?

          • Alexis Q

            Wow, so basically Jody Kriss really screwed the guy because he didn’t like what he said about him in some blog post?

          • Alexis Q

            Sounds like Kriss is power tripping hardcore. What a scummy individual. Is East River’s other partner aware of these thigns happening?

          • Walter V. Dugan

            Yep. As stated in the release: “”Without prejudice to Mr. Lombardi’s right to fully respond to any complaint served by Plaintiff in this action, Mr. Lombardi, an investigative political journalist and blogger, notes that the very commencement of this action is a blatant attempt to eradicate one of the hallmarks and most cherished values of a free society: the first amendment and free speech.”

  • M&M Larry

    Whoa, did you guys see this recent article about Kriss and East River exposing a family to lead paint and other toxic chemicals on purpose? http://www.greenpointnews.com/news/6162/endangered-86th-street-residents-can-breathe-a-sigh-of-relief

  • http://www.jodykriss.com Informant

    Hey, I just wanted to inform everyone about Jody Kriss and all of the legal crap he’s been trying to pull. It’s all a massive scheme to pile on the cash. No joke. Check out these sites for more information about it:

    http://www.jodykriss.com
    http://www.jodykriss.net
    http://www.jodykriss.org
    http://www.jodykriss.info
    http://www.jodylkriss.com
    http://www.jodylkriss.org
    http://www.jodylkriss.net
    http://www.eastriverpartners.net
    http://www.eastriverpartners.org
    http://www.eastriverpartners.info

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