The Real Deal New York

Meadow buys Helen Keller HQ in DoBro for $54M

Firm plans $10M renovation of 57 Willoughby
By Mark Maurer | Twitter_logo_blue copy December 27, 2016 01:05PM

57 Willoughby Street in Downtown Brooklyn (inset: Helen Keller and Jeffrey Kaplan)

Meadow Partners paid $54 million for a Downtown Brooklyn office building with more than 100,000 square feet in unused development rights, sources told The Real Deal.

The seller and longtime occupant of the 96,000-square-foot property at 57-63 Willoughby Street is the nonprofit Helen Keller Services for the Blind.

The deal closed for just over $270 per buildable square foot, though when the building hit the market last October, sources said it would trade for about $400 a foot.

Darcy Stacom and Aaron Appel (credit: Catherine Gibbons)

Meadow secured a five-year, $50.2 million acquisition loan from Square Mile Capital, said JLL, which brokered the financing. The financing includes about $10 million toward future leasing costs and building renovations, sources said.

Meadow, a Midtown East-based investment firm led by Jeffrey Kaplan, plans to upgrade the common areas and lease the space soon being vacated by Helen Keller, sources said. The nonprofit, which occupied 20,900 square feet across two floors, is in the process of vacating part of that space.

Sources said Helen Keller, which helps the blind and visually impaired gain independence, has not yet finalized its move to another location in the city.

The six-story building is otherwise fully leased to nonprofit Housing Works and others. A 9,450-square-foot retail component spans the full ground floor.

The property has a total of 198,300 buildable square feet, records show.

CBRE’s Darcy Stacom, Bill Shanahan, Tim Sheehan, Ned Midgley and Dan Kaplan represented Helen Keller in the sale, while JLL’s Aaron Appel, Jonathan Schwartz and Michael Diaz arranged the financing.

Average office asking rent in Downtown Brooklyn was $41 per square foot, according to Newmark Grubb Knight Frank data.

While Meadow has opted not to convert the office building to residential, the firm did complete a similar conversion earlier this year in Long Island City. As it neared the end of the project in February, Meadow entered contract to sell the 111,000-square-foot building to the World Wide Group for about $70 million.