The Real Deal New York

Brooklyn by the numbers

Bests building benchmark: a look at new condos by neighborhood

September 01, 2005
By Stuart W. Elliott

A condo grows in Brooklyn. And grows and grows and grows…

Following up on our well-received look at the prospect of a condo glut in Manhattan, The Real Deal set out this month to examine the level of new residential development in Brooklyn, the borough that has boomed in the past several years, luring buyers who are priced out of Manhattan, or who are simply drawn by laid-back neighborhood vibes.

An analysis of data from the New York state Attorney General’s office, which regulates approval of new condo projects, shows that the amount of new development hitting the market in Brooklyn this year will be 25 percent higher than the number of units in 2004.

Projections show that more than 4,300 units are expected to be approved for sale in the borough this year, compared to 3,100 last year, based on figures for the first seven months of the year.

That’s a smaller jump than in Manhattan, where the amount of new development coming online this year is projected to be double 2004, but impressive all the same. The number of new units added annually in Brooklyn has jumped since the beginning of the decade from 370 in 2000, to 2,203 in 2001, 1,713 in 2002, and 2,450 in 2003.

Once a haven of cheap rents for hipsters, Williamsburg now sprouts condos. The neighborhood has added 1,991 condominium units in the last five years, the greatest growth of any section of the borough. It’s third behind Dumbo and Gravesend in the southern part of Brooklyn in total new apartments added for the year to date.

After showing plenty of hype, but not much product, Dumbo has added 611 condo units this year, nearly twice as many than were added over the last five years. The growth in inventory is largely the result of two big projects J Condo, a 31-story building that will be the tallest in Dumbo and Two Trees’ converted 70 Washington Street.

In addition to units approved for sale, the study also looked at projects in the pipeline offering plans submitted and not yet approved by the Attorney General’s office, and offering plans still in the testing phase.

Brooklyn Heights, a landmark district where there are few new projects, has the most units currently in the pipeline. It is due almost entirely to a 605-unit condo development the biggest project in Brooklyn in number of units in at least the last five years, and probably ever at 360 Furman Street, on the waterfront. The Jehovah’s Witnesses to RAL Development sold the 960,000-square-foot building last year for a reported $200 million. Williamsburg, Sheepshead Bay, and Fort Greene follow with the next highest numbers of new condos in the pipeline, respectively.

Despite the construction, what’s being built in Brooklyn is still a drop in the bucket in comparison to the existing amount of housing in the city’s most populous borough. There are around 930,000 housing units in Brooklyn, 238,000 of which are owned and occupied by their owners.

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