Arte Moderne Greenpoint Waterfront Property Is Sold to Developer Bo Jin Zhu
By Lore Croghan
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Prepare to say So long to an iconic – and pollution-plagued – Greenpoint waterfront industrial property, the former Harte & Co. factory building.
The sale of the 1930s-vintage Arte Moderne property at 280 Franklin St. has closed – and the buyer plans to build a 400-unit apartment building with 200 parking spaces, Berel Nagel of Kalmon Dolgin Affiliates, who served as the broker for buyer and seller, told the Brooklyn Eagle.
The distinctive curved-front building made of yellow bricks and glass blocks is much admired by preservationists, but is not landmarked.
The property – which is a state Superfund site – has been under contract since 2012, and the purchase had been expected to close on or around Feb. 1, the Brooklyn Eagle previously reported.
The sale price was $23.25 million, and the purchaser who signed a $25 million mortgage for the property is Bo Jin Zhu, city Finance Department records indicate.
Zhu is a builder who has purchased development sites in Harlem and the Lower East Side in recent years, and manages a company that owns 29 Ryerson St. in Clinton Hill.
According to a report in The Real Deal, the buyer is looking to build affordable apartments as well as market-rate units and community facilities in mid-rise buildings.
Zhu hooked up with a group of investors who originally signed the sale contract as Dupont Street Developers LLC.
The seller was 49 Dupont Realty Corp., an entity headed by Joseph Folkman, whose family's company manufactured vinyl in the building but had moved out of the property several years ago. The company had underground storage tanks of toxic chemicals that leaked into the soil and groundwater.
Over the course of the past decade, the former Harte & Co. factory was put up for sale at various asking prices – but “the environmental problem was always a deal-killer,” Nagel said.
“In negotiating a sale we were creative. The two-year closing time gave the buyer time to understand the problem,” he said.
Some people thought it would cost $40 million to clean up the site. It turned out that the bill will be less than $10 million, he said.
Nagel held out slight hope that some of the existing building, which has frontage on Dupont and Clay streets, might be incorporated into the apartment development. The original investors and their architect spoke of that as a possibility.
But maybe their new investment partner, Zhu, has different plans, he said.