Eye On Real Estate
By Lore Croghan
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Here's something you don't hear people say very often about hot Brooklyn neighborhoods: Mayan Metzler went to Red Hook to open a business because the rent was low.
He leased two locations for showrooms to sell upscale European kitchen cabinetry on the Van Brunt Street side of 141 Beard St., Greg O'Connell's historic 19th Century warehouse building.
“The truth is I had built three showrooms in two years — I was maxed out,” said Metzler, 37, who came to the metro area in 1998 from Israel. “I needed cheap space.”
One is in a Broadway storefront on the Upper West Side — where the rent was $300 per square foot. One is in office space in Chelsea — where the rent was $60 per square foot. (The third is in Mount Kisco.)
O'Connell's historic property is an industrial building — where ground-floor rents are $15 to $20 per square foot. Bingo! Done deal.
Metzler signed 10-year leases for 6,000 square feet at 465 Van Brunt St. for the German Kitchen Center and 8,000 square feet at 481 Van Brunt St. for the Dutch Kitchen Center.
He opened the two showrooms a couple weeks ago while he puts the finishing touches on their interior construction.
He keeps them open late on the weekends, until 7:30 or 8 p.m., because of the constant flow of visitors walking down Van Brunt Street to the water and the large number of shoppers who drive to Fairway, which is right across the street.
There's another important reason Metzler chose Red Hook as the location for his showrooms.
At the German Kitchen Center, he sells Nobilia kitchen cabinets, which are very high quality but cost $500 per linear foot, compared with high-end German manufacturers' cabinets, which are $2,000 per linear foot and up.
“Nobilia fills the void between low-cost Ikea kitchens and high-cost Italian and German brands. Let me see if I can be near Ikea,” was his thought.
At the Dutch Kitchen Center, he sells cabinetry from high-end manufacturers including Paul van de Kooi. If you're up on home renovation trends, this is a name you will know.
Both showrooms are so sleek that they look like sets for Food Network shows.
The beating that the neighborhood took during Hurricane Sandy didn't deter him from moving in.
“We have really, really good insurance,” he said.