The Real Deal New York

Thor abandons plans for 800K-sf Red Hook office complex

Joe Sitt's firm now making a last-mile warehouse play: source
By David M. Levitt | February 15, 2019 06:47PM

A rendering of Thor Equities’ Red Hook Point at 280 Richards Street and Joseph Sitt

Joseph Sitt’s Thor Equities is scrapping plans for an 800,000-square-foot office complex on the Red Hook shoreline, a source told The Real Deal. Instead, it now plans to build last-mile warehousing on the site.

In October, another source with knowledge of Sitt’s thinking said the developer was torn between pursuing a plan to build a pair of office buildings on the site, a former sugar factory, and going industrial instead. The two four-story buildings Sitt planned to build were designed by world-renowned architect Norman Foster and featured timber construction, an environmentally friendly “green’’ roof with plantings and service by water taxis. Thor first unveiled the plan, dubbed “Red Hoek Point,” in 2016.

A spokesperson for Thor declined to comment.

Thor’s website continues to display those plans, which it calls “a revolutionary office campus.’’ It says it was designed to appeal to millennials and creative companies that have been proliferating in Brooklyn in recent years, though the Brooklyn office market many envisioned hasn’t quite materialized.

In pivoting away from an office project at 280 Richards Street, Thor is joining a number of notable firms placing big bets on the demand brought by e-commerce.

Scott Rechler’s RXR Realty, in partnership with Los Angeles-based LBA Logistics, in November said they had plans to build a multi-story warehouse on a property in the Maspeth section of Queens that they had bought for more than $70 million earlier in 2018. And just this week, Blackstone Group paid $55.5 million for a two-story industrial building near Queens’s LaGuardia Airport, after earlier paying $7.6 billion for Gramercy Property Trust, whose 81 million square feet of buildings consists mostly of single-tenant industrial properties.

And Dov Hertz, the former Extell Development assemblage expert, is planning a 1.3 million-square-foot distribution center in Sunset Park at 75-81 20th Street.

It’s not immediately clear how far along the developer is in planning an industrial project.