TUCKED on the edge of the Brooklyn waterfront, DUMBO, gets more exciting by the minute.
Tour the penthouse of its signature Clock Tower building at One Main St. and you become the king of the city, with magnificent views in all directions, and you simply don’t want to leave.
The four, 10 foot tall clockfaces provide the main windows in the soon-to-be three level, 6,000 square-foot tower unit.
Four years ago, David Walentas, head of Two Trees and the owner of most of the buildings between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges (see page 36) was willing to sell that apartment for around $4 million. At the time, the lower floor condos were going for $300 to $400 a foot. Now, a resale of one of the spacious lofts garnered over $800 a foot and Walentas is expecting to get $10 million for the Clock Tower’s crow’s nest.
New ones in Two Trees’ blue stone, 30 Main St. building, also known as the Sweeney Building, are selling for over $600 a foot.
“I couldn’t ask for a more fun place,” said William Ross of his eponymous Brooklyn brokerage.
“We’ve seen it grow from a place that really had no services and no character to a place with wonderful services, and a lot of character – and you can gain a lot of weight down there.”
Through careful cultivation of shop owners, Walentas has infilled a 24-hour Korean market, a wine shop, pet shop, laundry, hardware store, and bank, and is soon getting a kitchen and bath showroom in the former site of an antiques shop.
Walentas entices those he chooses with many months of free rent and a growing population.
“Rents are low,” said Chris Havens, Two Trees’ commercial brokerage head.
Commercial tenants can end up with one year of free rent and then pay $10 to $20 a foot. Those tenants that move in from Manhattan are also eligible for benefits that entitle the tenant to credits amounting to $3,000 per job brought to Brooklyn for each of the next 12 years.
Cushman & Wakefield’s commercial broker Glenn Markmann moved Empire Insurance into the building at 45 Main Street.
“There’s an energy, a feel and a unique feng shui down there,” said Markmann. “It happens to sit on the water and allows for a lot of creativity to resonate through the workforce.”
Last month, music entertainment and internet companies Centaur Entertainment, Emerge Records and Futurological Strategies, who share joint space and projects, decided to abandon their Chelsea offices for 1,464 square feet at 45 Main St. where they will pay $16.50 a foot.
“It’s unbelievable how much activity there is,” said Walentas. “It’s kind of edgy, but has all the amenities.”
Buyers and renters are often single or newly married and are now as likely to have young children as a dog.
“Anyone who moves to One Main automatically has children,” laughed Karen Heyman of Atco Residential. The children already include several sets of twins, prompting some to wonder just what is in that Brooklyn water.
“It’s attracted young kids from Brooklyn law and Wall Street people, young urban people and people downsizing from the Island or selling a brownstone, who don’t want to leave the neighborhood,” said Melissa Green, vice president of marketing and sales for the Continuum Company which owns the more upscale 180 Livingston Street rental nearby in Brooklyn Heights.
The bright lights and sunsets over Manhattan have also attracted television carpenter Bob Vila and his son Chris, who took on a dilapidated structure on Water St. as a residential rehab project for their program, Home Again.
Recently, the cast and crew of “Sex and the City” were filming in the area for what they are calling the DUMBO episode.
Shaya Boymelgreen’s development company is working on a deal with the state to redevelop the former Coffee and Tea warehouses that edge the large public park. The Empire Shops will include retail and perhaps some residential on the top floors.
Meanwhile, the same company is working on three other residential projects in the area. Condo units at Bridgefront, appropriately named after its corner location at Bridge and Front Streets, are already on the market while two other Front Street residential projects are in the works.
“Bridgefront has great condos with great kitchens and they are sun-filled,” said Heyman. Prices range from about $570,000 to $1.2m.
And 11-15 Old Fulton Street in the Fulton Ferry Historic District was just sold to developer Michael Zazza. He intends to develop the upper floors into condos and entice restaurants, too.
This weekend, Brooklyn Designs is hosting a new design show which brings together 30 of Brooklyn’s most talented designers. On exhibition will be examples of their latest furnishing – the “next wave of contemporary furniture, lighting, linens, rugs, and decorative accessories.”
The show is at St. Ann’s Warehouse, 38 Water Street, from 11a.m. to p.m. Saturday, and 11a.m to 3p.m. on Sunday.
Tickets are $10 and are available at the door. Food by Rice Restaurant will be available at the show all weekend long.
For more details, go to http://www.brooklynde-signs.net
* DUMBO’s arts center is a non-profit exhibition space that runs the area’s annual Art Under The Bridge festival. They’re at 30 Washington St. They’re on the web at http://www.dumboartscenter.org or call (718) 694-0831.
Commuters to Manhattan can go by water taxi, which makes the four minute run to Wall Street and then circles around to Battery Park City and the Chelsea Piers. Or hop on the A, C or F trains. They take about 20 minutes to get to Midtown.