W’burg’s 50 N. Fifth half rented, despite market’s winter blues

By Guelda Voien | January 31, 2014 05:30PM

Mack Real Estate Group’s 50 N. Fifth Street, a 229-unit luxury Williamsburg rental that claims it features “the services of a boutique hotel,” is 50 percent rented four months after hitting the market, exclusive broker Aptsandlofts.com told The Real Deal today.

The brisk turnover comes despite the fact that winter is typically a dismal season for residential rentals, said David Maundrell, president of Aptsandlofts. Apartments at the seven-story building at Kent Avenue are also renting at higher prices than when they were initially released in September, he said, underscoring the health of the high-end market in Williamsburg.

“It’s not inexpensive,” Maundrell said of the building. Even so, affluent Williamsburg professionals seem undaunted. “Traditionally November through February is the worst time, so we were pleasantly surprised to find ourselves where we are at this time of year. We are fighting through the [polar] vortex.”

In fact, Maundrell said he believed the $80 per square foot the penthouses were getting was a record price per square foot for a residential rental in Williamsburg. According to StreetEasy, no apartments were listed for more than $80 per square foot in the neighborhood (132 Metropolitan Avenue, a studio asking $15,000 per month, was listed at $60 per square foot and the closest runner up).

Maundrell also underscores that the $80 figure is not for blended rents – only the penthouses, of which only one remains available.

Rents for the 10 penthouse two-bedrooms begin at approximately $7,000 per month, according to a representative for Aptsandlofts.

The whopping 34 penthouses feature private outdoor space while all units have access to the building’s other eye-popping amenity assortment, which includes a courtyard with a waterfall, bocce ball court, indoor basketball and volleyball court, yoga room, “billiards lounge,” bike parking, a concierge service and a roof top with barbecues and outdoor showers.

The remaining 17 penthouses will hit the market in the Spring, a representative for Aptsandlofts said.

Rents for non penthouses start at $3,000 per month for a studio, $3,200 for a one-bedroom and $4,800 for a two-bedroom, according to the representative. Maundrell said renters are still getting incentives, however, including one month of free rent in most deals.

The 248,000-square-foot building, once home to the Western Carpet Company, was converted from industrial use last year by Mack in partnership with Urban Development Partners, as reported.