Humdinger: Baruch Singer lands $92M for Midwood spec office

In boondocks of Brooklyn, a Class A building rises

Baruch Singer with 1508 Coney Island Avenue (Schnakel) Midwood 92M
Baruch Singer and a rendering of 1508 Coney Island Avenue (Schnakel)

Negative press magnet Baruch Singer might have something to croon about.

The landlord with a history of discord at residential properties in Manhattan has secured financing to complete an ambitious project in the frigid outer orbit of the city’s office market: Midwood, Brooklyn.

A company controlled by Singer got a $92 million loan from Parkview Financial to finish a 10-story, 215,000-square-foot building at 1508 Coney Island Avenue, the lender disclosed. The long commercial corridor is better known for low-slung buildings and auto repair shops than the Class A office property planned by Singer, who bought the site way back in 2006 for $27 million.

“Parkview’s financing is being used to pay off two existing loans on this project with remaining costs allocated to complete construction,” Parkview Financial CEO and founder Paul Rahimian said in a statement.

Aaron Birnbaum and Elliott Kunstlinger of Meridian Capital Group brokered the debt agreement.

Scheduled for completion next year, the building will have 51,000 square feet of multilevel retail and 112,000 square feet of office space. The size of the project is 20 percent larger than when Singer first filed plans in 2017.

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Singer’s building is 30 percent pre-leased, with those leases to become active when the building is finished, according to Parkview. Prospective tenants include a co-working company, medical offices and a restaurant.

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Brooklyn’s office district is downtown; there are few, if any, properties in Midwood like the one Singer is building. The borough’s only recent project of comparable size and status is Edward Minskoff’s 11-story spec office building at 29 Jay Street in Dumbo, a neighborhood much closer to Manhattan. Minskoff landed $97 million in construction financing for that site last October with no pre-leased tenants.

But recent transactions for multifamily properties in Midwood testify to the feeling that rising rents will drive deal-seeking tenants farther from the city center.

In late March, the Dermot Company bought 302 apartments at 1277 East 14th Street in the neighborhood for a startling $180 million, the largest deal recorded in Brooklyn this year. Abby Modell picked up 64 apartments at 1704 Ocean Avenue for $37.1 million.

Once persona non grata to city and federal housing authorities, who accused him of jeopardizing tenants, Singer has navigated years of legal trouble — including from his wife, who alleged in 2018 that he violated a post-nuptial allowance agreement.