Yitzchok Schwartz buys controversial site near Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Isaac Hager and Daryl Hagler sold the development property for $64M

New, Shorter Housing Coming to Stormy Site Near Brooklyn Botanic Garden
G4 Capital Partners' Robyn Sorid and Jason Behfarin; rendering of Bruce Eichner’s failed 960 Franklin Avenue project (Getty, G4 Capital Partners, 960franklin)

After years of fits and false starts, a tempestuous development site in Crown Heights near the Brooklyn Botanic Garden is now slated to become 300 new condo apartments. 

Yitzchok Schwartz’s YS Developers filed plans to build at 960 Franklin Avenue just as a limited liability company affiliated with the developer bought the site for $64 million, records show

G4 Capital Partners lent $42 million for the acquisition and provided $75 million in construction debt. The sellers were Brooklyn developers Isaac Hager and Daryl Hagler. 

The development will be a “condominium project in an undersupplied neighborhood,” said G4’s Chris Goetz, describing its amenities, unit prices and proximity to the Botanic Garden as “demand drivers.”

Hamish Whitefield is the architect of record for the 240,000-square-foot building that will stand seven stories tall, one taller than a project proposed in 2022 by then owner Zev Golombeck, whose Spice Factory stood as a landmark on the property.

The project site has been at the center of controversy for years. In 2017, Golombeck struck a deal to sell to marquee developer Bruce Eichner’s Continuum Companies and Lincoln Equities, contingent upon a rezoning. 

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Community groups proceeded to blast the proposal by claiming the tower would shadow plants at the Botanic Garden. Continuum sought to downsize, but those plans were also rejected. 

Eventually, Golombeck sold the site to Hager and Hagler in 2022 for $43 million, although financing for a development project never materialized under their ownership. 

The latest sale comes nearly a year after Hagler was implicated by New York Attorney General Letitia James in an allegedly fraudulent real estate scheme to fleece senior citizens.

Hagler is co-owner of Centers Health Care, a series of nursing homes sued last summer by the attorney general. Hagler, as landlord, is alleged to have charged the nursing homes exorbitant rent and hidden the proceeds as zero-interest loans to other nursing home companies.

As for Eichner’s once-vast plans for the site, his Continuum Company is still seeking a rezoning of the adjacent 962-972 Franklin Avenue, where it wants to build a 14-story building with 475 apartments and 100,000 square feet of commercial space.

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