Williamsburg: Reselling After Seven Months Is the New Flipping


We all know Williamsburg real estate is booming—post-post-booming at this point—with developers and other cash-rich sharks eager to scoop up land and properties to flip, redevelop, and resell at crazy profits to crazy people who can still afford to live in Williamsburg. Those days are behind us now, it seems. They were simpler times. This week, it was reported that developer Joel Schreiber of Waterbridge Capital (guess where they’re based) has flipped a Williamsburg property he bought in February for $99 million into the exact same property in autumnal weather, for $106 million.

The property comprises 103-119 North 3rd Street and 188-190 Berry Street, The Real Deal reportsand currently houses the restaurant Egg and the popular beer spot Radegast Hall & Biergarten. The interesting nuance to the story is that what Schreiber bought was a contract to buy the property. This contract is what he sold last month for a cool $7 million profit—or, $1 million for every month he held the contract.

Of course, it’s the aim of every property purchase to sell more or less the same thing at a higher price later, but this typically involves finding a bargain, or making improvements, or waiting more than a few months, just for the sake of appreciation. It definitely usually involves actually buying the property. This may be the new normal: developers flipping paperwork instead of buildings, ceaselessly upping the valuation of properties that remain completely unchanged, and with virtually no legwork.

If this trend really takes off, who knows what may happen to residential properties that experience the same orphaning paper trail, whether rents will track with over- and over- and over-priced rents or whether instead they’ll just be squeezed out unit by unit. What’s certain is that construction scaffolding and hard hats aren’t the only harbingers of redevelopment and price inflation; we now have to worry about documents changing hands and redrawing the neighborhood.

Follow John Sherman on Twitter @_john_sherman.


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