LIVWRK snaps up second Gowanus site in a month

By Adam Pincus | November 22, 2013 05:50PM

The Midtown-based investment and development firm LIVWRK has inked its second deal in as many weeks to purchase an industrial property on a two-block stretch of Gowanus, company CEO Asher Abehsera told The Real Deal. Like the first, this one is slated for redevelopment into retail and office space.

The firm, headed by Abehsera and Aaron Lemma, signed the most recent contract last week with a New Jersey-based company called HKF. The three-story, 60,000-square-foot property is situated at 130 Third Street on the corner of Bond Street. The deal, which did not have a broker, is expected to close in the second week of January.

HKF did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Abehsera declined to provide the purchase price. However, a Massey Knakal Realty Services listing in 2010 had an $11.995 million price tag.

LIVWRK signed the earlier deal for 68-90 Third Street, an 80,000-square-foot series of commercial properties located a block west, about three weeks ago, Abehsera said.

Together, the buildings comprise more than 500 linear feet of frontage on one of the industrial and residential streets connecting Gowanus with Carroll Gardens, and are both within a few blocks of the new Whole Foods Market at 529 Third Avenue, which is expected to provide a boost to retail activity in the Brooklyn neighborhood.

The company is planning to remove some floors to create double-height ceilings at 130 Third Street, Abehsera said.

Asking rents will average out to $50 per square foot, blended between the first and second floors, Abehsera said, which would equate to about $75 per square foot on the ground floor. There will also be office space for professionals in some of the redeveloped buildings.

Tim King, a managing partner with commercial brokerage CPEX Real Estate, said asking rents on the popular Smith Street, between Atlantic Avenue and Union Street, are $65 per foot to $79 per foot, according to data from his firm.

King, who is not representing space at the building but does represent Abehsera elsewhere, expected the redevelopment of the loft and industrial buildings to have echoes of Chelsea Market, a popular retail destination in Manhattan. The Whole Foods grocery store makes the area a safer bet for retailers and developers, he said.

“Gowanus is becoming more populated with creative and design firms as well as residential,” he added.