In Parts of Brooklyn, The Price of Land Has “More Than Doubled”

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And now, a slightly different statistic than the usual “Brooklyn is getting more expensive!” statistics: over the past three years, one broker reports, the cost per square foot on his Brooklyn properties has skyrocketed to more than twice its previous value. 

Former Massey Knakal broker Ofer Cohen started his own brokerage and advisory firm TerraCRG in 2008 right before the recession (“When we started, our vision was that Brooklyn is where the Manhattan market was 20 years ago”), and since the housing market’s remarkable bounce back, explains the situation as such:

“Yeah, it’s amazing. We just traded a site on Fourth Avenue for $250 a buildable foot, and I remember the sites that we were selling at the end of the recession, in 2011, were like $100, $110 a buildable foot. The price more than doubled. We sell development sites in Williamsburg now for $350, $365 a buildable foot. At the end of 2011 it was $150.”

Of course, that number applies to one specific property in one of the borough’s most desirable areas, not, say, bizarrely under-valued properties in Brighton Beach or anything in the vicinity of Brooklyn’s so-called “foreclosure belt,” and Cohen notes, “The three core markets are North Williamsburg, Downtown Brooklyn, Park Slope — and then the surrounding neighborhoods. These secondary neighborhoods are now catching up and we’ve been seeing a lot of activity.”

The interview also touches on another interesting detail, that a major “spec” office building is set to go in at 19 Kent in Williamsburg (a neighborhood notoriously devoid of available office space for pretty much anyone other than Vice), and that the push to build new office space like what we’re seeing in Downtown Brooklyn is only going to gain momentum. “DUMBO has maxed out,” he said. “There’s no more office space in DUMBO.” Looks like we can all keep complaining about rents, then, but might need to find a new “work neighborhood” to eviscerate for its paltry lunch options.

Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.


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