Rabsky plans office conversion at 285K sf Williamsburg site

Dushinsky in contract to buy M. Fried warehouse for $48M

Aerial view of 101 Varick Avenue in East Williamsburg (inset: David Junik)
Aerial view of 101 Varick Avenue in East Williamsburg (inset: David Junik)

Rabsky Group is closing in on the purchase of an East Williamsburg warehouse for about $48 million, with plans to reposition it as a office-and-retail property spanning as much as 285,000 square feet, sources said.

The one-story, 92,000-square-foot property at 101 Varick Avenue, also known as 471-485 Johnson Avenue, sits on a 3.4-acre site. M. Fried, a manufacturer of display cases and other retail fixtures, has occupied and owned the property since 1991.

Rabsky, one of the most active developers in Brooklyn, is considering converting the existing building on Varick Avenue into a large office building with several tenants, as well as a ground-floor retail component. The building is now used as a mix of industrial, storage and office space. Its ceilings are as high as 22 feet.

In the area, asking rents average $40 to $50 per square foot for office space and $35 to 45 per square foot for retail space.

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The deal is expected to close in February for roughly $170 per buildable square foot, shortly after M. Fried vacates the property. Pinnacle Realty’s David Junik and Abraham Lowy, who brokered the deal, declined to comment.

M. Fried is in the process of relocating its headquarters to Red Hook, where it recently signed a lease for about 50,000 square feet at 110 Beard Street, sources said. A spokesperson for M. Fried declined to comment on the company’s new location.

Investors are making moves to usher in a new office submarket on the East Williamsburg-Bushwick border. The area is seeing widespread development, including the Lincoln Property Company’s office-and-retail project at 455 Jefferson Street and the Normandy Real Estate Partners-led office-and-retail project at 333 Johnson Avenue.

The notoriously private Williamsburg-based Rabsky, led by Simon Dushinsky and Isaac Rabinowitz, has been stepping outside its comfort zone in terms of neighborhood and project type. Last month, the firm bought the site of a now-demolished Downtown Brooklyn office building from Forest City Enterprises for $158 million. Rabsky is also the primary developer of the Rheingold Brewery site in Bushwick — and recently sold its stake in Heritage Equity Partners’ office project at 25 Kent Avenue in North Williamsburg.