Speakers Also Say There’s a Demand for Luxury Rentals
By Linda Collins
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
South Brooklyn is one of the most stable areas in the borough.
It’s important to know the ethnicities of the neighborhoods to work in South Brooklyn real estate.
There is a demand for luxury housing units to rent in South Brooklyn.
There are plenty of property opportunities in Coney Island for lease or for sale.
BROOKLYN HEIGHTS — South Brooklyn is alive and well as the above comments can attest. They were made by speakers at last Thursday’s seminar, titled “Spotlight on Brooklyn South,” presented by the Real Estate and Development (RED) Committee of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce at St. Francis College.
In her planning for the seminar, Lori Raphael, director of real estate and development for the Chamber, said she sought speakers who would cover the gamut — from providing an overview of the area to discussing specific experiences with development there.
Charles Olson, COO of Fillmore Real Estate, headquartered in Sheepshead Bay, provided the overview, noting that not only is each neighborhood — and its ethnicities — different but its housing stock is different.
“It’s important when advertising a property that you target it to the folks who will want that property and who will be reading the publication you are advertising in,” he said. “And, in addition, you must be careful when translating your ads into different languages.”
Referencing a Fillmore market report, he said the average one- to three-family house that sold recently in South Brooklyn had an average $638,000 last asking price and sold for an average of $535,000, or 91.66 percent of the listing price.
In the condo category, the average last asking price was $536,000 and the average sale price was $499,700 or 93.15 percent of the listing price.
He also noted that with new development “anything can be sold if the location is right — the Russian buyer wants to be near the water, for example — and if it is priced right.”
Design and aesthetics are also important in considering the local population’s wants and needs, including the naming and the address which are significant to some groups.
Zachary Kerr, president of M&R Management, based in Sheepshead Bay, is a fourth-generation member of a real estate family that focuses on multi-family rental properties.
“We acquire, we develop, we manage,” he said. “The key is to find the right piece of property and to find the right piece of property at the right price.”
He also believes that anything near a subway stop in South Brooklyn will rent.
Currently, the firm has three luxury rental projects — The Madison, The Carlton and The Bradley.
“People like amenities, but they don’t want to pay for them. But they will pay for new construction over old,” he noted.
He concluded by telling attendees: “Don’t downplay rentals. In 20 years they’re like an ATM.”
Eddie Sitt, CEO of Sitt Asset Management, spoke with humor about his firm’s Avenue P development, The Venetian, originally a condominium project.
“Basically, we built something too magnificent for the area,” he said, adding that the timing for it was off, too. “The costs went from $18 million to $25 million to $60 million.” And then buyers couldn’t get a mortgage.
“Finally we decided to offer the units as rentals with an average price of $5,000 a month,” he said. “Turns out, there is a demand for luxury housing units to rent.”
Sitt added that the city and Brooklyn weren’t as badly hit by the downturn as other areas.
“You can thank your lucky stars you’re at a Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce meeting and not a Tampa or Orlando or Dallas Chamber of Commerce meeting.”
Nate Bliss, president of the Coney Island Development Corp. (CIDC), concluded the event by giving an update on the Coney Island Comprehensive Plan, whose goals are to create a 27-acre year-round recreation destination, facilitate development and neighborhood growth, and create jobs.
“More than 6,000 people were on the beach on New Year’s Day,” he said. “And 2011 was the best season ever.”
To the developers present, he noted that Coney Island has property opportunities for lease and for sale.
“Catch the wave with us,” he said.