Is Williamsburg back from ‘The Edge’?

Is Williamsburg back from ‘The Edge’?
Photo by Tom Callan

Even in a slumping economy, Williamsburg’s most expensive building is filling up.

Developers of The Edge have sold nearly 40 percent of their condos since the 565-unit luxury waterfront complex went on the market last fall.

“It’s a huge thing!” said Highlyann Krasnow of The Developers Group. “We’re extremely proud of those numbers.”

The Edge’s arresting 30- and 15-story towers have dominated the Williamsburg skyline since they topped out a few years ago — and they have also driven the neighborhood’s real estate market.

Last year, 215 units sold at an average of $850 per square foot, with a range between $415,000 for a studio and $2.7 million for a three-bedroom penthouse with a terrace.

That’s well above average prices for condos in Greenpoint and Williamsburg, which were $640 per square foot in the second half of 2010 according to Halstead Properties, and far beyond prices at the end of 2010, which were only $492 per square foot, according to the Miller Samuel appraisal firm.

Once the building received its certificate of occupancy this summer, sales skyrocketed to nearly 20 units per month, according to Krasnow.

“Even when the economy was pretty bad, we always outsold everyone else,” said Krasnow. “We have a very strong product with the largest amenities package, a great location, three sides of unobstructed views and we’re a LEED-certified building. People are confident in their investment of the product.”

The Edge’s success has left its rivals impressed — if a bit envious.

“To sell 200 units in the amount of time in the economic climate they have, it’s pretty impressive,” said Prudential’s Sarah Burke.

And Apartments and Lofts President David Maundrell pointed out that The Edge has been able to sell its units without dropping its prices significantly, unlike other new construction buildings, which is a good sign for other brokers.

“To see people spend that dollar amount shows the growth of Brooklyn and it speaks volumes for the growth of Williamsburg,” said Maundrell. “The more difficult times have passed and the real estate market is getting better.”

Brokers believe that the market will only improve — but development will not continue at the break-neck speed it has been moving this past decade

Much of that development, typified by The Edge, was spurred by the city’s rezoning of the Williamsburg waterfront in 2005.

Developers raced to build towers along the water providing condos with million-dollar views to the city’s wealthiest residents. But longtime residents have been displaced from the neighborhood as their landlords doubled and tripled their rent.

Plans for new residential towers on the waterfront, such as the proposed redevelopment at the former Domino sugar factory, have earned mixed reviews.

Some residents praised Domino’s efforts to provide significant percentages affordable housing while others blamed its developers for not providing enough below-market rate units and advancing a project that is out of scale with the neighborhood.

Photo by Tom Callan