A 33-unit Sitt Asset Management condominium in the Midwood section of Brooklyn hit the market Monday with Prudential Douglas Elliman’s Avi Voda, an executive vice president, and Rachel Medalie, a vice president, the developer told The Real Deal. The property, at 447 Avenue P, has endured the roller coaster ride typical of boom-bust era Brooklyn developments, and Sitt Asset is finally ready to cash out of the project, called the Venetian, after a nearly decade-long ordeal.
Sitt Asset assembled the various parcels that comprise the land in 2002 and 2003 for $9 million, and had plans to build the approximately 54,000-square-foot residential structure at a cost of about $500 per square foot, according to David Sitt, a vice president at Sitt Asset.
But by the time the design was finalized and Sitt Asset took out a $54 million construction loan from Citibank in 2007 to launch the ground-up project, the cost estimate had more than doubled to $1,100 per square foot.
The building was complete in 2010, when the Brooklyn sales market had collapsed to the point where it was virtually non-existent. With prospects grim for the project, Sitt moved to purchase back the loan from Citi at the discounted price of just $25 million. That effectively lowered the building costs close to the initial $500 per square foot projections.
With costs now firmly under control and the borough’s sales market gaining traction, the developers were able to execute the plan as initially envisioned, Sitt said.
“We’re seeing that the condo market in Brooklyn is getting stronger,” Sitt said.
He acknowledged that the firm could potentially reap greater rewards by renting out the units for two years and then selling them when they project the sales market to be even more active, “but we want to get our equity out — we have about $16 million invested — and we decided if we sell the units we can return our investors’ money and focus on our core businesses,” which he said were Manhattan retail and office properties. As The Real Deal reported, the firm recently completed the sale of the office tower at 1370 Broadway in Midtown.
The units at 447 Avenue P range from two-bedrooms to four-bedroom penthouses and average about 1,800 square feet. They are priced at just under $600 per square foot.
“A developer could not even build units like this, with these high-end finishes, at this price — let alone sell them for that,” Voda said. But because the project is in an area not accustomed to new development, Voda said he’s releasing the units at what he called a low price to lure buyers to the area. Once word spreads though, he predicts families will snap up the apartments quickly. “Not many family-size apartments are available in Brooklyn,” he said. “And there are only 33 in this building.”
The Venetian’s exterior was designed by Spanish architect Tel Cambeiro to look like a European Renaissance building, while Costas Kondylis touched up the interior with a modern flare. The property features a gym, 24-hour concierge, courtyard, 44 secure parking spaces and 8,000 square feet worth of retail space that may be divided into as many as seven storefronts. Sitt said he expected many of the buyers to come from the Jewish and Russian population that call Midwood home.
Sitt said the firm chose to list it with Voda and Medalie because he’s found sales success with other projects in the area that were once on the brink of a financial ruin, including 185 Ocean Avenue.