Eye On Real Estate
By Lore Croghan
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Retail sites are in big demand on Bensonhurst's 18th Avenue – if they're for sale. For rent, not so much.
Chinese investors are in hot pursuit of property purchases on the traditionally Italian retail corridor – which is also known as Cristoforo Colombo Boulevard. It is increasingly populated by Asian businesses, banks and senior centers plus chains like Starbucks, yoghurt purveyor Red Mango and cut-rate clothier Mandee.
The most recent big transaction is the $1.98 million sale of 6923 18th Ave. to Cheng Shi, who plans to renovate two ground-floor retail spaces and second- and third-floor medical and dental offices.
The corner building was on the market for just six weeks, said broker Jeff Unger of Kalmon Dolgin Affiliates, who handled sale negotiations.
“This is the easiest sale I ever did,” said Unger, who got seven qualified offers, all from Chinese investors, for a 5,000-square-foot building that hasn't been renovated for decades.
Sale properties are in short supply and demand is big on the avenue – whose address is propitious because it has an 8 in it, which the Chinese consider a lucky number, Unger said. That's why the purchase price wasn't rounded to $2 million – the purchaser wanted an 8 to be in it.
The sellers were retired dentist Dr. Kenneth Kerman, and the widow and estate of another dentist, Dr. Calvin Kramer, city Finance Department records indicate.
Meanwhile, Eye on Real Estate counted some 20 vacant storefronts on 18th Avenue from 61st to 86th streets – and it doesn't look like tenants are beating down the doors to rent them. If the broker signs said “For Sale,” that would be another matter altogether.
Take it from Raffaele Naso, a proprietor of S.A.S. Italian Records at 7113 18th Ave., whose in-laws own the building that houses the imported music, housewares and keepsakes shop.
We're talking electric tomato strainers, 64 centimeters-in-circumference sauce pots and splendid music blasting from a sound system out to the sidewalk – a quirky but very cool place.
“Forget about it,” said the Bensonhurst resident, who was born in Calabria. (We're not succumbing to Brooklyn clichés – he really said that.)
“Every week someone comes in and says they want to buy. I tell them it's $5 million. Otherwise, while my mother-in-law is alive, I won't sell.”