SSJ begins Brooklyn waterfront projects

SSJ Development has begun building two far-flung southern Brooklyn waterfront properties that are the first of more than two dozen waterfront projects the company wants to build around New York City and New Jersey.

Ground has been broken for 10 single-family luxury homes known as the Riviera Estates at Mill Basin (between Marine Park and Bergen Beach in southeastern Brooklyn) as well as on an 18-unit loft-style condominium project called Rivera Suites at Sheepshead Bay. Prices will start at $599,000, and sizes will range from 1,100 to 2,000 square feet.

At the Riviera Estates at Mill Basin, detached homes will range between 1,500 and 2,200 square feet and start at $2 million. Apartments will also be built, which will range between 900 and 1,800 square feet and start at $599,000. The site includes the property that once housed the Bergen Beach Yacht Club.

The residential projects are the first among SSJ Development CEO Stephen Jemal’s vast development plan, dubbed the Riviera. Jemal said his firm either owns or is in contract to buy the land for 24 additional residential and commercial waterfront projects around New York City and New Jersey.

Jemal, who co-founded the Nobody Beats the Wiz electronics chain, said he will pour tens of millions into cleaning up often blighted waterfront properties and creating promenades.

The Brooklyn native has pledged to beautify the waterfront on Gerristen Creek, which faces his Sheepshead Bay property, but residents of neighboring Gerritsen Beach are fuming over plans to put in 18 boat slips.

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Community Board 15 chairwoman Theresa Scavo said more than 300 letters protesting the docks were delivered to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which must grant a permit for them.

Jemal said he had state and city permits to build the docks, and had submitted an application to the Army Corps, which he expects will give its approval shortly.

Real estate mortgage broker Norman Ellis said the waterfront would help attract buyers as the housing market weakened, but could add higher costs later.

“Waterfront is always easier to sell. People love the waterfront,” he said.

Ellis cautioned that an amenity like a boatslip could be expensive to develop.

“It can take a lot of money and personnel,” he said, but added, “it also could become a profit center.”

Jemal’s other two dozen projects are slated for Bensonhurst, Greenpoint, Roosevelt Island, Long Island City, Whitestone and New Jersey’s Cape May, among other places.

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