Housing Works renews 41K sf at BK offices

Nonprofit will get a private entrance at Meadow Partners’ 57 Willoughby Street

57 Willoughby Street and and Housing Works CEO Charles King (Credit: REW and Getty Images)
57 Willoughby Street and and Housing Works CEO Charles King (Credit: REW and Getty Images)

Housing Works inked an early renewal for its Downtown Brooklyn headquarters at 57 Willoughby Street, which owner Meadow Partners is repositioning after it bought the former Hellen Keller building for $54 million.

The AIDS and homelessness-services nonprofit, known for its trendy Soho bookstore and several thrift shops scattered throughout the city, signed a long-term deal to renew 41,000 square feet for its corporate office in the heart of Downtown Brooklyn, brokers who negotiated the lease told The Real Deal.

Timothy Yantz and Jeff Kaplan

Housing Works had several years remaining on its original lease, and as part of the renewal, Jeffrey Kaplan and Timothy Yantz’s Meadow Partners will build a private entrance for the social services organization on Lawrence Street.

It’s the first deal in the 96,000-square-foot building that the Midtown East-based Meadow Partners bought earlier last year from Helen Keller Services for the Blind, which used the property for its headquarters and leased out the remaining space mostly to other nonprofits.

“Any new owner is naturally going to look to maximize its return, which in this case means upgrading 57 Willoughby and attracting a different tenant base,” said David Carlos at Savills Studley, who represented the tenant along with his colleagues Nick Farmakis and John Mambrino.

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Carlos, who heads the brokerage’s nonprofit practice, said Meadow Partners’ plans to upgrade the building allowed Housing Works to negotiate for the new entrance, which will connect the basement, ground and second floor spaces with a new staircase and elevator.

“It was a win-win for both Housing Works and for Meadow,” he said.

Helen Keller last year inked a deal to relocate to 46,000 square feet about two blocks away at Thor Equities’ 180 Livingston Street.

Newmark Knight Frank’s Whitten Morris, who handles leasing at the building with Newmark’s Joseph Sipala, said a block of roughly 50,000 square feet of former Helen Keller space at the top of the building will soon be available.

“Ownership has started a full renovation of the entrance on Willoughby Street that will include a new lobby, new elevators, and building infrastructure,” he said.