Eliot Spitzer in talks for 2.8-acre Kedem Winery site in Williamsburg: sources

Developer Rector Hylan Corp. tried unsuccessfully to build mixed-use tower on spot for years

New York /
Aug.August 25, 2014 06:15 PM

Eliot Spitzer, who last year made his most aggressive move since returning to the family firm with the purchase of a pricey West Side development site, is close to inking a deal to buy a large, stalled residential project on the Brooklyn waterfront, according to sources.

Spizter Enterprises is in negotiations to buy the 2.8-acre Kedem Winery site in Williamsburg, where developer the Rector Hylan Corp. has for several years  tried unsuccessfully to build a pair of mixed-use towers two blocks south from Two Trees Management’s Domino Sugar Factory development.

Spitzer Enterprises declined to comment and the current owner could not be reached. Several sources said Spitzer is in advanced negotiations to buy the site, though another prospective buyer may be in the mix as well.

The Rector Hylan development firm bought the six lots that make up the property between Broadway and South 9th Street for $11.3 million in 2003, and three years later received a pair of special permits from the City Planning Commission allowing for larger, denser buildings than the area’s zoning would have allowed.

The company had planned to build a 24-story tower with 309 residential units on the southern end of the site and an 18-story tower on the northern side with 104 units. All told, the buildings would have an envelope greater than 600,000 square feet, including 26,400 square feet of Retail Along Kent Avenue. The developer agreed to set aside 20 percent of the buildings’ units as affordable housing.

But Rector Hylan struggled to secure financing for the project as the market turned downward and ultimately failed to get shovels in the ground. When the permits lapsed last summer the company filed for and was granted a three-year extension. The renewal will take them to mid-June 2016.

Spitzer returned to the family firm after he resigned as governor in 2008 amid a prostitution scandal. Under his helm the company unloaded a garage and medical office condos at the Corinithian in Murray Hill and purchased a retail condo in SoHo for $25.5 million.

The firm revealed earlier this month it plans to build a hotel on the $88 million development site it bought at 511 West 35th Street last year. That project may include a residential component as well.


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