The Real Deal New York

Eli Hamway buys famed Cobble Hill home of BookCourt

The bookstore is closing after 35 years
By Kathryn Brenzel | December 06, 2016 08:48PM

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161-163 Court Street in Cobble Hill

December will be the final chapter for a 35-year old Cobble Hill bookstore after Eastern Capital bought its home for $13.6 million.

Eastern Capital, led by Michael Shamah and Eli Hamway, purchased 161-163 Court Street, currently owned by BookCourt, a bookstore that has occupied the space for 35 years. The bookstore occupies the 4,575-square-feet of retail on the ground floor in the two buildings. Four partially occupied apartments are on the buildings’ upper floors.

Shamah told The Real Deal on Tuesday that the space will remain retail and residential-focused but wouldn’t elaborate on plans for the property. Shamah, who noted he loves Court Street, already owns another building on the block.

The property was marketed as a great opportunity to redevelop into a two-floor “retail concept.” Marcus & Millichap’s TRData LogoTINY Peter Von Der Ahe, Joe Koicim, Shaun Riney, Robert Hunter and Michael Stimler marketed the properties.

BookCourt’s owners, Henry Zook and Mary Gannett, announced Tuesday that the book store’s last day would be Dec. 31, DNAinfo reported.

“Against many odds, BookCourt grew and flourished in a time when independent bookstores closed,” the owners said. “We realize that BookCourt’s closing leaves a void in the neighborhood and the industry.”

Von Der Ahe said the sale signals the further development of Brooklyn, but noted the “sentimental aspect” of the family-owned business shuttering.

“It was a great business that gave the neighborhood character,” Von Der Ahe said. “Now it’s going to be ready for its next evolution.”

Eastern Capital is also in the process of developing a six-story condominium project at 138 North 10th Street in Williamsburg. In Gowanus, Hamway is redeveloping three adjacent buildings at 94 Ninth Street, 75 10th Street and 98 Ninth Street into office space. Ahead of filing plans for the project, Hamway terminated the leases of music rehearsal studios that had long practiced in the warehouses.