MTV hangs up on Downtown

Brooklyn gets ‘Real’

It was all just a prank call!

MTV’s reality show “The Real World” will no longer house its seven cast members in the newly renovated BellTel Lofts in Downtown, a member of the building’s board confirmed.

The production crew prepping the 21st season of MTV’s long-running series is on a tight deadline to begin filming by early September and was getting nervous about construction delays, explained Francesca Sorrenti, who lives in the building and is familiar with the deal.

Even though residential tenants are rapidly moving in, the building, a former telephone company headquarters on Bridge Street, is not fully finished. At one point, MTV saw that as a perk because it meant that the music television network could build out the space to its own specifications.

But obtaining the necessary permits to do so became an issue.

An MTV spokeswoman, Anastasia Lee, would only say that the production is “staying in Brooklyn” and that it will air starting in January 2009.

MTV signed a lease with BellTel Lofts in May to occupy three floors: the cast would live in two $3-million duplex penthouses on the 26th and 27th floors, and the production crews would work on the 25th floor.

Two giant 18-wheeler trucks were parked outside the building over the weekend as crew members unloaded equipment. Asked if it was for “The Real World,” a production assistant said, “Maybe.”

The real estate blog Curbed speculated on Tuesday that the cast would join IKEA in Red Hook this summer, quickly fighting it out for the neighborhood’s hottest import. The Web site reported that the seven housemates could wind up at Pier 41 on Van Dyke Street, an old building that has been used for Hollywood movies before.

When asked if he had a deal with MTV, Red Hook land baron Greg O’Connell said, “I really can’t discuss it.”

He added, however, that he had “signed some papers.”

Back in early June, when MTV announced it would come to BellTel, residents were excited and, in the last few weeks, real-estate brokers began touting the show’s arrival to prospective buyers.

But the building is busy itself as new residents move in.“The building is new and needs to have a lot of things set in place before it takes on such a responsibility as a TV show,” Sorrenti said, adding “If they’re not filming here, it’s their loss, not ours!”