Rabsky weighs first hotel project at South Williamsburg site

Developer has been assembling parcels, development rights on Bedford Avenue

Mar.March 03, 2017 04:15 PM

Rabsky Group is gathering an assemblage along a stretch of Bedford Avenue in South Williamsburg – and is considering its first hotel project, sources told The Real Deal.

The development firm led by Simon Dushinsky and Isaac Rabinowitz recently acquired development rights through a zoning lot merger for a project at 359-365 Bedford Avenue, between South 4th and 5th streets.

The developer is still weighing whether to develop the site as hotel or residential, or to add to the site with more acquisitions, sources said. Given the development rights and the properties Rabsky now owns, zoning on the site allows for more than 44,000 buildable square feet total for a residential building and 32,640 buildable square feet for a hotel. If the firm were to buy the buildings at 355 and 357 Bedford Avenue for example, the development could grow to 56,000 buildable square feet for residential and 41,840 buildable square feet for a hotel.

Rabsky, among the most active developers in Brooklyn, began making moves for the site a few years ago. The firm acquired a three-story residential-and-retail building at 359 Bedford Avenue for a mere $800,000 from investor Alfredo Crespo in 2014, records show. The following year, Dushinsky paid $2.5 million for the three-story Pentecostal Church of God at 353 Bedford Avenue.

Dushinky then secured a transfer of air rights in January to buy development rights for a good chunk of the block. The rights are from the retail condo at the Rabsky-developed rental building the Garnett at 146 South 4th Street; the church at 353 Bedford; the vacant lot at 361 Bedford; and garage at 155 South 5th Street. The assemblage to date, including the development rights, covers 11 tax lots.

Popular barbecue restaurant Briskettown, which leases the ground floor of 359 Bedford Avenue, announced Thursday it will shutter this weekend. Owner Dan Delaney wrote on his website, “We fought for our lease, but ultimately, the group was intent on knocking down the building to develop on the property.”

A source close to the developer said Briskettown’s lease was expiring and its request to renew was turned down.

Although the new structure will likely not rise on the site of the church at 353 Bedford, it too is slated for demolition. According to the development rights documents, the building “is to be demolished in order to make available all of the development rights attributed thereto available for use and inclusion in developer’s new building.”

A representative for the developer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Rabsky has largely focused on building rentals and condos in north Brooklyn, but also recently branched out in commercial development. The firm is constructing an office tower on Fulton Street in Downtown Brooklyn.

Williamsburg, in particular, is seeing the brunt of the hotel inventory overload in Brooklyn. The 21-story William Vale hotel, developed by Zelig Weiss and Yoel Goldman’s All Year Management, was the latest high-profile one to open, in September.

Rich Bockmann contributed reporting.

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