Forget Rentals, Downtown Brooklyn Condos Booming

New York PostJuly 16, 2014

“The first two weeks were a gold rush.”


That’s how William Ross of Halstead described the pace of sales at 388 Bridge St., the 53-story rental/condo tower in Downtown Brooklyn that put its condos on the market in June.


Since then, 42 of the 60 units on the market have contracts out. (The building will have a total of 144 condo units when all are released, alongside 240 rentals, which are about 75 percent occupied.) The condos have been moving at around $1,150 to $1,200 per square foot — with the unreleased penthouses expected to go for $1,600 to $2,100 per square foot.


“We’re thinking of raising prices again,” says Ross. “We’ve raised prices twice already.”


These condos have attracted young and old; families and singles — everybody who wants one elusive thing: To buy in Downtown Brooklyn, where rentals have reigned supreme in recent years.


“There’s very little to buy,” says Michelle Lipchin, who, while living at the Brooklyner, a 491-unit rental, decided she wanted to purchase something in the area. She looked at a few lackluster resales until she found a roughly 700-square-foot one-bedroom unit at 388 Bridge that she’s now in contract for.


“Downtown Brooklyn was largely rental-driven since Lehman Brothers fell,” says Doug Bowen of Core. Prior to that, condos like Toren and 110 Livingston took root, but when the market crashed, developers stuck with the safer investment. “Most of the development — especially anything of size like the Brooklyner, or [the upcoming] Avalon Bay — was rental.”


But perhaps 388 Bridge signals a change — are developers in Downtown Brooklyn going to start turning once again to condos?


According to a report released this week from the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, there are 7,800 housing units in the development pipeline; the Partnership told NYP Home that 2,000 of them will be market-rate condos.



Even Downtown Brooklyn’s handful of pre-Lehman condos have seen a resurgence of interest and activity.