Eye On Real Estate
By Lore Croghan
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Ready, set … go Red Hook.
When will a newcomer to Brooklyn with plans to own more than 1 million square feet of Red Hook industrial properties start apartment sales at 160 Imlay St. – a residential conversion project that stirred years-long opposition?
The developer is Est4te Four (no, that's not a typo), which put up a teaser site before Thanksgiving indicating that sales would start Jan. 1 on apartments at the iconic former New York Dock Co. building.
We've been chasing Est4te Four's Massimiliano Senise, who's in charge of the 160 Imlay project, and haven't gotten an answer. A publicist for Est4te Four, James Coronios, hasn't rustled up any info either.
Est4te Four made its name by redeveloping the Zona Tortona, a once-decrepit warehouse area in Milan, into a fashion district teeming with offices, showrooms and studios for high-profile designers from Armani to Zegna.
Est4te Four is now located in West Hollywood, Calif., with an office in London. Senise lists his business address in city Buildings Department records as the Empire State Building office of accounting and financial advisory firm Funaro & Co., which also has an office in Milan.
Once things get rolling, the developer plans to carve the six-story, 225,000-square-foot property into 70 apartments, Buildings Department filings indicate. There will be 44 parking spaces and 39,457 square feet of commercial space.
The apartments – with 12-to-16-foot ceilings – will be marketed to artists and creative types, with asking prices starting at about $500,000, according to published reports.
An Est4te Four LLC closed on the $25.1 million purchase of the 1911-vintage building in December 2012, city Finance Department records show – despite the beating the waterfront neighborhood had just taken from flooding caused by Hurricane Sandy.
Low-rise warehouses stand between 160 Imlay and the shoreline of Buttermilk Channel – but apartments on the upper floors will have views of the Statue of Liberty, Lower Manhattan's skyline and Gotham's glittering waters.
The seller was a partnership headed by industrial landlord Bruce Federman – who together with biz partner Bruce Batkin spent several years fighting opponents of a residential variance for 160 Imlay.
Red Hook residents and landlords including Greg O'Connell unleashed litigation, insisting residential development was inappropriate at the site because of the area's industrial character.
After winning their legal battles, Batkin sold his stake in the property to Federman.
In October Est4te Four, the new arrival on the scene, got Buildings Department approval to secure and enclose the building against the elements and remove debris and unstable walls.
Doing so ASAP would be a help to the magnificent but decaying concrete building.
For now, shreds of black netting that covered the ghostly white building for years twist in the winter winds. Seagulls fly in through window frames devoid of glass.
The developer from Italy/California is also percolating plans for two other Red Hook projects:
* 68 Ferris St.: A partnership of Bruce Federman's is also the seller of three waterfront buildings referred to collectively as 68 Ferris St., for which three Est4te Four LLCs signed a purchase and sale agreement in July 2012.
The closing date must be no later than this coming June 15 for the properties, whose addresses are 217 Wolcott St., 64-82 Ferris St., and 242 and 300 Coffey St., a memorandum filed with the city Finance Department indicates. Est4te Four put down a $4.8 million deposit for them.
The developer plans to revamp the existing buildings and construct new buildings “to house the creative worlds, offices for digital media and possibly a hotel,” says the firm's website. The project has a total of 790,000 square feet of commercial and residential space, the site notes.
Until 1981, the buildings belonged to the Daily News, which sold them to Continental Terminals, property records indicate.
* 202 Coffey St.: An Est4te Four LLC closed on the $11.8 million purchase of the picturesque red-painted brick waterside warehouse at 202 Coffey St. on Nov. 2, 2012, city Finance Department records indicate – while Red Hook was reeling from Hurricane Sandy storm damage.
The seller was an LLC whose authorized signatory was Westchester lawyer Harvey Tropp.
Est4te Four plans to turn the 170,000-square-foot commercial property – which has ceiling heights of up to 55 feet – into “a global hub for creativity, contemporary art galleries, fashion, design and events,” its website notes.