Helen Keller nonprofit looks to sell large DoBro building

Office property with 200K buildable square feet could fetch $80M

TRD New York /
Oct.October 07, 2015 04:50 PM

Helen Keller Services for the Blind is looking to sell a 96,000-square-foot Downtown Brooklyn office building that offers nearly 200,000 square feet, The Real Deal has learned. There is no official asking price, but sources said the property could fetch $80 million, or $400 per buildable square foot.

Behind the story:

Darcy Stacom


CPEX Real Estate

The six-story property at 57-63 Willoughby Street is almost fully occupied, with the nonprofit landlord occupying 20,900 square feet across two floors. If the property were to sell, Helen Keller Services would likely relocate to an as-yet-undetermined location in Brooklyn.

The building’s maximum available square footage is 198,300 square feet, property records show.

CBRE’s Darcy Stacom and Bill Shanahan, who declined to comment, are marketing the building.

The marketing strategy is unclear, but CPEX Real Estate’s Tim King, who is familiar with the building, said there are three potential development options — a residential conversion, a hotel conversion, or a mixed-use redevelopment with retail expanded to the second floor.

The 9,450-square-foot retail component now spans the full first floor. Sources said the retail leases are slated to expire in the next three to five years.

Founded in 1893 and focused on helping the blind and visually impaired gain independence, Helen Keller Services also has a large Long Island campus.

The flagship office tenant is Housing Works, a nonprofit that combats AIDS and homelessness.

Helen Keller Services CEO Thomas Edwards could not be reached for comment.

The office vacancy rate in Downtown Brooklyn remains the lowest in New York City, at 3.4 percent, according to a Downtown Brooklyn Partnership report from August. The neighborhood has 17 million square feet of occupied office space.

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