Equity Residential buys new 120-unit BK rental for $80M

Fortis, Joy Construction-developed Atelier Williamsburg opened late last year

239 North 9th Street in Williamsburg (inset: Sam Zell)
239 North 9th Street in Williamsburg (inset: Sam Zell)

On a September earnings call, Equity Residential COO David Santee told investors that Brooklyn’s slowing rental demand and a wave of new inventory were “really dragging the portfolio down.”

But the residential real estate investment trust still appears bullish on Kings County. The Sam Zell-led company paid about $80 million for a newly-built 120-unit rental building known as Atelier Williamsburg in the borough, sources told The Real Deal.

Fortis Property Group and Joy Construction Corporation opened the six-story, roughly 68,000-square-foot property at 239 North 9th Street at the corner of Roebling Street late last year. It was previously owned by murdered landlord Menachem Stark.

Atelier Williamsburg, which consists of two connected brick buildings designed by S9 Architecture, is now 95 percent leased. Apartments are a mix of studios and one- and two-bedrooms. Rents range from $2,610 to $5,725 per month. Citi Habitats is handling leasing.

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An HFF team led by Andrew Scandalios, Jeff Julien and Rob Hinckley represented the seller. The brokers announced the closing, but declined to comment on the buyer or the price.

Elsewhere in Brooklyn, Equity, a Chicago-based firm, owns rental buildings at the Brooklyner at 111 Lawrence Street in Downtown Brooklyn, 175 Kent Avenue in Williamsburg and 180 Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights. Equity developed the Brooklyner and 180 Montague, but purchased the 113-unit rental at 175 Kent Avenue for $76 million in 2012.

The REIT plans to divest an additional $300 million in assets by the end of this year. Equity also sold the RiverTower in Manhattan to Slate Property Group and GreenOak Real Estate for $390 million in February.

In another deal for a new Williamsburg rental building, TIAA-CREF bought the 234-unit rental at 250 North 10th Street for $169 million last year.