Brookfield Property Partners’ $165 million purchase of two South Bronx sites from Somerset Partners and the Chetrit Group is still the talk of the borough.
The deal came up several times during a panel discussion at Bisnow’s Bronx State of the Market event, which took place in the Bruckner Building on Thursday morning.
“I think as the market matures, you’ll see a lot more development, and especially if Brookfield is successful in underwriting, getting their deal done and getting those buildings built,” said Daren Hornig of Hornig Capital Partners. “It sets a benchmark, and other lenders are more comfortable coming into the market, and you’ll see a lot more growth.”
Brookfield, which has been on a development tear in New York, signed a contract to buy 2401 Third Avenue and 101 Lincoln Avenue in April. The megaproject is tentatively expected to span 1.3 million square feet and include 1,300 units, making it Mott Haven’s most high profile project.
If the project is successful, it could be a boon to the market-rate rental environment in the Bronx, according to Robert Nelson of Global One Investments.
“There seems to be a ceiling for what kind of rents you can achieve in the Bronx,” he said. “I think a lot of us are hoping that Brookfield can maybe crack the code over in this neck of the woods.”
Jason Gold of Ariel Property Advisors echoed the sentiment, and said that Brookfield’s project would dictate the future of real estate in Mott Haven — particularly the multifamily market.
“We need, really, a Brookfield to pioneer the Mott Haven section of the Bronx for multifamily to show the market that you can be achieving $50 to $55 per square foot,” he said.
Meanwhile, the development has been a controversial flashpoint for gentrification in the area. But developers on Bisnow’s panel played down these concerns. Hornig stressed that projects like Brookfield’s are being built on vacant land.
“There’s no gentrification there,” he said. “You’re not pushing anybody out of their housing.”
Ayall Schanzer of Greiner-Maltz Realty Advisors moderated the panel, which also included Anthony Mameli from MARCRE Property Group and Dan McInerney from Taconic Investment Partners.
Toward the end of the discussion, Schanzer asked the panelists what they saw as the next hot neighborhood in the borough. Many stressed how important transportation was and said they expected to see a lot more activity surrounding the four new Metro-North stations that the MTA has pledged to bring to the borough in Hunts Point, Parkchester/Van Nest, Morris Park and Co-op City.
“1918, when the IRT opened up on Jerome [Avenue], the population doubled within a couple years. What’s going to happen when we put four new train stops in the Bronx?” Mameli said. “I think the more convenient that it becomes for people to live in the borough, they’ll start to come live here.”