Residential developers increasingly turn to Brooklyn, but face different renters

As space for residential development dwindles in Manhattan, developers are turning to Brooklyn, the Wall Street Journal reported, but they must be careful if they want to appeal to the different sensibilities of Brooklyn renters.

Citing a report by Nancy Packes, a consultant to some of the city’s largest developers, the Journal said 14,000 new residential units are being planned for Brooklyn in the coming years, compared to just 5,000 in Manhattan.

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Some of the large developments being planned include Douglaston Development’s plan for a third Northside Piers tower, Stahl Organization’s 590-foot tower at 388 Bridge Street and AvalonBay Communites’ 596-foot rental at 88 Willoughby Street, which are vying to become Brooklyn’s tallest structures.

But Packes said those developers should go easy on luxurious amenities and flashy glass if they want to profit off of Brooklyn renters. More than one-third of Brooklyn renters are creative or tech workers, who tend to spend a lower portion of their income on rent. Moreover average rents are far lower in Brooklyn— $2,776 for a full-service building in Brooklyn compared to $3,888 in Manhattan — so developers can’t afford to spend as much.

“From a developer’s perspective, I’d stay away from the modern, luxury high rise and focus on old-world charm and prewar character,” said Anthony Dellecave, a Citi Habitats broker who specialized in Brooklyn. [WSJ]