Goodwill commits to its Downtown Brooklyn space for the long term

In process of renewing lease, nonprofit discovers 2,000 forgotten square feet

New York /
Jun.June 15, 2020 08:35 AM
25 Elm Place in Brooklyn (Google Maps)

25 Elm Place in Brooklyn (Google Maps)

After a long search for space, Goodwill has renewed its 30,800-square-foot lease for its highly trafficked workforce development hub in Downtown Brooklyn.

The long-term deal provides options for the nonprofit — founded in Brooklyn in 1915 — to remain on the full third floor of 25 Elm Place for up to 20 years at fixed rents.

The property is in the middle of downtown Brooklyn on a block bounded by Bond and Fulton streets. It sits across from Goodwill’s flagship store at 258 Livingston Street, which has been closed during the pandemic and is expected to reopen June 23.

The office location, a former J.W. Mays department store, has expansive floor plates and large elevators which enable the nonprofit to serve nearly 1,000 people in a day. J.W. Mays, a discount chain that peaked in the 1970s, closed its remaining stores in 1989 and became a real estate company.

Stephen Powers, a partner and national leader of the nonprofit practice at Transwestern, represented Goodwill along with Transwestern partner and nonprofit co-leader Lindsay Ornstein and Arthur Skelskie, an executive managing director within the practice.

“One of its missions is to help people with barriers to employment and they have wraparound services as well,” said Powers about its approximately 90 programs. “We considered everywhere in the city and determined this was the best place to continue its mission.”

Katy Gaul-Stigge, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Greater New York and Northern New Jersey, said in a statement, “With this lease we signal our commitment to launch new and innovative programs for Brooklyn residents and to continuing to provide vital training and employment services to some of the most vulnerable Brooklyn residents.”

The decision to remain was made about six months ago, Powers said, and the lease had been negotiated ever since. “Covid didn’t change the need for the services, but we needed to have enough time to relocate if that was necessary,” he said.

Area office rents are in the $40s and $50s per square foot, which is generally too high for nonprofits. Goodwill’s rent was not disclosed.
Robert Hebron of Ingram & Hebron represented the J.W. Mays ownership. He did not immediately return a call for comment.

An unexpected bonus for Goodwill was repatriating 2,000 square feet that had been walled off next to the HVAC system some 20 years ago. “No one knew it was there and it was never used,” said Powers. “Who finds free space in New York City? It’s not costing us more to use it.”


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