Controversial project site by Brooklyn Botanic Garden sold

Isaac Hager and Daryl Hagler buy Crown Heights lot at center of rezoning battle

Rendering of 960 Franklin Avenue (960 Franklin Avenue, Getty)
Rendering of 960 Franklin Avenue (960 Franklin Avenue, Getty)

Isaac Hager and Daryl Hagler have purchased the Crown Heights site where Bruce Eichner’s Continuum Company sought to build a 1,500-unit residential development, The Real Deal has learned.

The pair paid $43 million in an all-cash deal for the former Spice Factory site at 960 Franklin Avenue, according to a source familiar with the matter.

The seller is the longtime owner of the Spice Factory, Zev Golombeck. In 2017 he struck a deal to sell the site to Eichner and Lincoln Equities for $42 million, contingent upon a rezoning.

Eichner’s Continuum and Lincoln Equities planned to build two 39-story towers spanning 1.4 million square feet with 50 percent of the units designated affordable.

When Eichner applied to rezone the site, community groups blasted the plans, claiming the shadows from the towers would kill plants at the nearby Brooklyn Botanic Garden. In a rare move, then-Mayor Bill de Blasio announced his opposition to the project during its public review session. Continuum sought to downsize it, but those plans were also rejected.

Shortly after the rezoning failed, Golombeck and Continuum became embroiled in litigation. The court sided with Golombeck in the most recent decision.

In June, Golombeck filed plans to build a six-story, 293-unit building at the site. Hager and Hagler could go forward with those plans, which do not require rezoning.

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

By signing up, you agree to TheRealDeal Terms of Use and acknowledge the data practices in our Privacy Policy.

Meridian Capital’s Lipa Lieberman (Meridian Capital)

Meridian Capital’s Lipa Lieberman (Meridian Capital)

Meridian Capital’s Lipa Lieberman, David Schechtman and Abie Kassin brokered the sale, which closed last week. Meridian declined to comment on the deal.

Cornell Realty’s Hager is a heavyweight developer in Brooklyn and Queens and a grandson of the late Rabbi Mordechai Hager, a long-time leader of the Vizhnitz Hasidic sect.

Over the past two years, Hager has put some of his properties or his stake in other developers’ properties into bankruptcy protection, including the Tillary Hotel in Downtown Brooklyn and another hotel site in Williamsburg.

Hager is familiar with this part of Crown Heights. He previously tried to develop 460 Crown Street, around the corner from the Franklin Avenue property. He sold it to Carmel Partners in 2018 for around $40 million.

Hagler is associated with Centers Health Care, a nursing home operator. He recently bought a hotel in Long Island City for $63 million. Hagler also recently offered to provide rescue capital to Hager for the Tillary Hotel.