Fortis snaps up FiDi development site for $64M

Major Williamsburg waterfront developer buys into Lower Manhattan

Louis Kestenbaum and 51 Maiden Lane
Louis Kestenbaum and 51 Maiden Lane

Fortis Property Group, one of the main players behind the development of the Williamsburg waterfront, has acquired a Financial District development site for $64 million, according to public records filed with the city yesterday.

The two-parcel site, at 151-161 Maiden Lane, is an 11,539-square-foot lot occupying an entire city block and offers nearly 250,000 square feet of buildable space. The site is bound by Fletcher Street to the north, South Street to the east, Maiden Lane to the south and Front Street to the west.

Helen Hwang, an executive vice president with Cushman & Wakefield’s New York capital markets group, listed the property alongside colleagues Nat Rockett, Steve Kohn, Jared Kelso, John LiGreci along with Bruce Mosler, chairman of global brokerage, and George Giannopoulos, a senior associate. The site had been on the market since May. At the time, sources estimated it would sell for between $62 and $75 million based on recent trades in the neighborhood of between $250 and $300 per buildable square foot.

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The two parcels have no height restrictions and could be developed separately or together, The Real Deal previously reported. Zoning restrictions allow for 138,468 square feet for residential space or a full 249,242 square feet of commercial.

The property was previously owned by Manhattan-based Kay Development Group, which had plans to build a 40-story mixed-use tower on the site with 175 residential units, a five-star hotel and retail space. The tower was to be named the Seaborne, according to Kay’s website. Kay bought the site for $41.17 million in 2011. It was not clear why the company’s plans were scrapped.

Neither Kay nor Fortis immediately responded to requests for comment. A spokesperson for Cushman declined to comment.

While the market for office properties in the Financial District has been heating up, Fortis has traditionally leaned towards residential development in New York City. The company, headed by Louis Kestenbaum, was one of the sponsors behind the development of the mammoth condo project Northside Piers in Williamsburg and a new boutique Brooklyn Heights condo at the former home of newspaper the Brooklyn Daily Eagle at 30 Henry Street.

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