New developer to break ground “any day now” at Billyburg’s Beach Russ factory site

By Sarabeth Sanders | August 05, 2011 05:58PM

Aptsandlofts.com CEO David Maundrell and 544 Union Avenue (building source: PropertyShark)

Another stalled Williamsburg development site is gearing up for a
revival this month, the latest in a trend of busted
condominiums-turned-rentals in the neighborhood.

According to David Maundrell, CEO of the brokerage aptsandlofts.com,
construction is set to begin “any day now” on a roughly 98-unit, Karl
Fischer-designed rental apartment building on the site of the former
Beach Russ factory at 544 Union Avenue. Aptsandlofts.com will be
heading up the leasing efforts at the building, which is expected to
launch in late 2012, he said.

Long Island-based developer Heatherwood Communities purchased the
site, near North 9th Street, for $13.5 million last year, public
records show. The original developer, an entity controlled by Leslie
Westreich of the Tryad Group, had paid $13.1 million for the site in
2006 and was planning a six-story, 120,000-square-foot condominium
designed by architect Gene Kaufman before the market crashed.

Maundrell said prices for the rental units will be similar to those at
the just-launched 568 Union Avenue, the 94-unit
former Manhattan Chocolate Factory, up the street. Pricing at that
property
,
dubbed “The Union” and also designed by Karl Fischer, begins at $2,093
per month for studios,
$2,537 per month for one-bedrooms and $3,850 per month for
two-bedrooms.

But competition amongst Williamsburg rental developers appears to be
heating up, with another failed condo-turned-luxury rental also set to
launch nearby before the end of the month. The 62-unit 111 Kent
Avenue, which Larry Gluck’s Stellar Management and Largo Investments
picked up for $24.6 million in March,
will kick off its leasing
campaign in two weeks, according to Maundrell, whose company
nabbed the exclusive there, too. Asking rents have yet to be announced.