Cheskel Schwimmer plans 218-unit apartment building in Vinegar Hill

Developer’s Chess Builders leasing site from Urban Realty Partners, which bought it in October

New York /
Jan.January 05, 2022 03:30 PM

218 Front Street in Brooklyn (Google Maps)

Months after purchasing a Vinegar Hill development site for nearly $50 million, Urban Realty Partners is turning the keys to the project over to fellow developer Cheskel Schwimmer.

Schwimmer recently filed an application for a seven-story mixed-use development at 218 Front Street in the Brooklyn neighborhood. Perhaps fittingly, given its address, the building will include 218 residential units.

A memorandum recorded at the beginning of November showed an LLC linked to Schwimmer’s firm, Chess Builders, agreeing to lease the building. Urban Realty Partners, through an LLC, purchased the property from Emily M. Wang for $48.5 million in late October.

Currently the site of a single-story warehouse, the property is less than 42,000 square feet, but has 105,000 square feet in air rights for more than 147,000 square feet of buildable space. The building filing, however, is for 246,000 square feet; Schwimmer and Urban Realty Partners could not be reached for comment on the discrepancy.

Urban Realty Partners secured a $36 million loan from Popular Bank to buy the site. Demolition permits for the warehouse were filed in November. The developers haven’t revealed a timeline for the construction of the new building.

A relatively low-profile developer based in Brooklyn, Chess Builders has no website touting its projects. In April of last year, the firm secured a $163 million refinancing for The Arches, a two-tower apartment complex at 198 East 135th Street in Mott Haven, the Bronx. The development comprises 430 apartments, including 129 for middle-income households.

According to a 2019 article in Real Estate Weekly, Schwimmer has spent more than two decades developing buildings in the city. Some of his other residential projects are 561 Flushing Avenue and 616 Bedford Avenue in South Williamsburg and 342 East 112th Street in East Harlem.

The Vinegar Hill site is a few hundred feet from another development site at 68 Gold Street. An LLC tied to CW Realty paid more than $20.2 million to Paul Tocci’s 251 Front Street Realty to purchase the site in June 2020.

The 20,000-square-foot property has been a source of controversy since a historic church on the site was torn down in 1992 to make way for condos. CW Realty is planning to construct a five-story, 59-unit luxury complex on the property.





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