Crown Heights owner plays off rezoning, lists site for $18M

By Katherine Clarke | October 03, 2013 02:51PM

A large mixed-use development site in a recently rezoned area of Crown Heights is up for grabs for $18 million, with the potential for a 100,000-square-foot residential project, according to commercial brokerage TerraCRG, which is marketing the property.

The site, at 608-614 Franklin Avenue on the corner of Dean Street, will hit the market a week after the City Council approved a rezoning of Crown Heights West.

With the modified zoning in place, a new owner could build a residential project of up to 100,875 square feet as of right, as long as he or she includes affordable units for low-income families either in the development or off-site.

“The continued development of Franklin Avenue, coupled with the recent rezoning of Crown Heights West, has led to the current owner’s decision to sell a portion of the site,” said Melissa DiBella of Terra, who is marketing the property alongside colleagues Ofer Cohen, Dan Marks, Peter Matheos and Michael Hernandez.

The 21,929-square-foot site was formerly home to the Nassau Brewery, which brewed there until 1914, when the complex was snapped up by the HJ Heinz Company as a factory for the production of canned goods. It is now mostly vacant.

The site’s owner, Crow Hill Development, had plans to develop on the land after buying it for $7.5 million in 2008 but lost construction financing during the economic crisis. Crow Hill plans to retain another part of the property, which it will still develop, DiBella said.

In the run up to the rezoning, Crown Heights underwent somewhat of a renaissance, as home buyers and hipster-friendly businesses adopted the neighborhood.

Indeed, a block from the site, a joint venture between Jonathan Butler, founder of the Brooklyn blog Brownstoner, BFC Partners, and the Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group is converting an historic 140,000-square-foot factory building at 1000 Dean Street into office space creative tenants, and developer Empire State Management is building a 25-unit residential property at 1705 Dean Street.

The vacancy rate for rental apartments in Brooklyn is 4.3 percent, according to TerraCRG’s research, while the average rent is $2,300 a month.