Steiner regrets not ‘buying up all of Williamsburg’

Navy Yard developer shifts focus to Brooklyn residential

From left: Douglas Steiner and the Brooklyn Navy Yards
From left: Douglas Steiner and the Brooklyn Navy Yards

Developer Douglas Steiner developed Brooklyn Navy Yards into a massive film studio in 2004. Since then, films like “American Gangster” and TV series like “Boardwalk Empire” have been shot there. But now, Steiner said he wished he had just invested in developing ripe-for-residential development sites.

“Everybody said we were crazy to be developing in Brooklyn, that nobody would ever come,” Steiner told Bloomberg News. “From a financial point of view, I probably would have been better off buying up all of Williamsburg instead of building the studios.”

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Steiner plans to break ground on a 720-unit building in Downtown Brooklyn next year and he recently purchased a 44-unit rental property in the Williamsburg neighborhood this year for $38 million. He also has two other Williamsburg buildings he plans to renovate in hopes of capitalizing on the borough’s rapidly rising rents. (Average rents are up 9 percent since last year.)

Other investors, like Invesco Ltd, Sam Zell’s Equity Residential and American Realty Advisers have also recently bought up more Brooklyn apartment buildings, prompting lenders to offer up the new construction loans that dried up after Lehman Brothers failed. [Bloomberg]Jane C. Timm

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