Downtown Brooklyn Building Boom Set To Continue With Big Money Deal For Historic Law School

Is there a method in the construction madness going on in Downtown Brooklyn?

By Jeff Vasishta December 7, 2016
248 Duffield Street. Rendering by GreenbergFarrow via New York Yimby

Just when you thought the Downtown Brooklyn housing market had surely hit saturation, another big money deal shows us it ain’t over ’til it’s over. An investment group has shelled out $76.5 million for a 40,000-square foot office building at One Boerum Place, currently home to the Brooklyn Law School. The building will likely go the way of the bulldozer in favor of a gleaming tower with retail and residential space, while the law school will use its burgeoning coffers to boost its endowment while taking up residency to a leased space nearby.

The development consortium comprises Avery Hall Investments, Allegra Holdings and Aria Development Group. Brian Ezra, a principle of Avery Hall, believes the location of the property and the overall buoyancy of the Brooklyn rental and condo markets will offset any short term fluctuations.

“On the rental side, there’s definitely a lot of product coming to market, but we think it’s all going to lease,” he told the Wall Street Journal, which would indicate that they plan to offer their apartments for sale.

RelatedRezoned 29th Street In Chelsea Is Now Enjoying Construction Frenzy

Nearby developments Ezra could have been referring to, might be 120 Nassau Street, located on the corner of Jay St. the 425-foot tower will be a mixed use proposition with residential units on floors 8-24. The average 854-square foot apartments indicated that they will probably be rentals.

Another close development is the 121-unit partial residential conversion at 248 Duffield Street, which will, again, comprise rental units ranging from one to three bedrooms. United American is the developer and GreenbergFarrow—the architect. Also in the area is the 12-story, 368-unit mixed use project at 210 Livingston St, again rentals and the 28-story, 150-unit mixed used building at 436 Albee Square—once more, rentals.

Clearly, Downtown Brooklyn, a short walk over the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan, is beginning to resemble its neighborly borough with the amount of cloud busting towers being developed. However, it only represents a portion of the building bonanza going on in other Brooklyn neighborhoods to the north and northwest. We’re talking frenzy, as in “piranha on a cow’s carcass” frenzy.

RelatedConstruction Of A Condo Giant At 242 West 53rd Street Is Underway

According to Axiometrics data, in 2014, more than 18 percent of new apartments entering the New York City market were concentrated in Kings County, AKA Brooklyn. That share rose to 20 percent in 2015 and 29 percent in 2016. By the end of 2016, an outrageous 36 percent of new developments in all New York will be in Kings Country, and 35 percent of all new apartment construction in the last quarter of the year is being developed there, as well. Though rents have increased, they haven’t kept pace with the construction chaos—which could indicate a certain softening of the market.

How much of the Brooklyn overdrive is related to job growth or an inflated Manhattan market, is up for debate. What’s not questionable is how expensive Brooklyn is for most New Yorkers. Classed the least affordable city in the US by Bloomberg last year, at some point, without a robust job and wage growth the madness is bound to stop. After all, there are only so many hipsters with trust funds to go round.

Jeff Vasishta



Jeff is a writer, husband and father but not necessarily in that order. As a music journalist he counts Prince, Beyonce and Quincy Jones amongst those he’s interviewed. He's also owned and flipped homes in Brooklyn, NJ, CT and PA.
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