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Top in the name of love: Developer caps off building named for wife

The Brooklyn Paper
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He put a lid on it!

Outspoken real estate mogul, grocery store magnate, and one-time mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis topped off his latest development in Fort Greene on Aug. 11 — a 15-story mixed-use building called the Margo, after his wife. He’s happy that construction is nearly done, but said he’s already looking forward to the next building he’s got planned for a stretch of Myrtle Avenue he owns.

“It feels good [to cap the Margo], but we’ve got one more building to do on that block,” he said, referring to a 35-story tower he plans to erect next-door between Ashland Place and Flatbush Avenue.

The Margo will include a bit more than 200 apartments — including roughly 40 below-market-rate units — as well as a rooftop terrace and ground-floor retail, according to information from the architects.

When it’s complete, the Margo will join neighboring nine- and 15-story developments the Andrea and the Giovanni — both named for the developer’s kids.

After construction on the Margo wraps in Spring 2016, Catsimatidis will focus on the fourth and final development — his as-yet-unnamed 35-story tower a stone’s throw from Flatbush Avenue, he said.

Originally the structure would have risen to 40 stories, but the city put the kibosh on the taller plan due to a “kind of zoning issue” that Catsimatidis wouldn’t elaborate on. The truncated proposal presents a missed opportunity for housing in the borough, he said.

“I think it’s a tragedy the city didn’t cooperate with us,” he said.

The four-building development along Myrtle Avenue has been a long time in the making.

Catsimatidis bought the sites for a scant $1 million in the rough-and-tumble 1980s and waited for crime to go down and property values to go up before developing, he told this paper last year.

“I bought the properties when you had to come here with two guns,” Catsimatidis said at the time. “Just in case one of the guns runs out of bullets.”

After the he’s finished the Fort Greene projects, Catsimatidis will turn an eye south to Coney Island, where he aims to build three Boardwalk-adjacent towers housing as many as 500 rental units. But he’ll need the city’s blessing for the $500 million plan — and he’s hoping pols will play ball, he said.

“If they don’t want them, we’ll spend the money in Florida — but I’d rather spend the money in Brooklyn,” he said.

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at mjaeger@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–8303. Follow him on Twitter @JustTheMax.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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