Boymelgreen: No new Brooklyn projects — for now

The Brooklyn Paper
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Brooklyn’s luxury condo boom is petering out — at least according to one of the borough’s biggest developers.

Real-estate tycoon Shaya Boymelgreen told The Brooklyn Paper last week that won’t start any new Brooklyn projects until the glut in luxury condos dissipates.

“We are more finishing and continuing [our current projects],” said Boymelgreen. “The high fever of condominiums and real estate is slowing down.”

“[But] when [my] properties [are] absorbed and sold, I’m coming in again.”

This bearish assessment comes from the man who remade the face of Brooklyn, adding 1,500 apartments across the borough in just 13 years, from smaller developments like the Park Slope Estates on Second Street to large-scale projects like the Beacon Tower, the 23-story, 79-unit skyscraper in DUMBO.

Meanwhile, the 12-floor NOVO Park Slope, on Fourth Avenue and Fourth Street, just went on the market, and the apartments are selling briskly. Another 70 Boymelgreen condos, on Fourth Avenue and Second Street, will enter the fray in a few months.

With Brooklyn on the back burner, the developer has plenty of other cities laying claim to his attentions. His $8-billion portfolio spans the globe, from the Punjab to Tel Aviv.

Fellow developers said Boymelgreen’s pullout made sense — especially for a kingpin who specializes in mammoth, “cookie-cutter,” projects.

Real-estate broker Roslyn Huebener said she wasn’t surprised that Boymelgreen would sit it out for a while.

“Boymelgreen’s just being cautious, and he can afford to be,” said Huebener, of Aguayo and Huebener Realty. “Other young upstarts are anxious to get in, and they will probably do well.”

In a wide-ranging, hourlong interview with The Brooklyn Paper, Boymelgreen also said:

• That Fourth Avenue will become a new “Park Avenue.” “It depends on the city [to rezone] the Gowanus Canal area to residential. Four years ago, we started buying property [in the Gowanus Canal area]. … All this area was empty. And so I said, ‘Look at the canal. It [could] be a beautiful place.’ And the city said, ‘Yes, Shaya. We would like to see somebody come.’ That’s why I bought it.”

• That he supports Atlantic Yards: “Shaya Boymelgreen is a developer. I believe developers are building cities, building neighborhoods. … Of course we have to watch them to make sure it’s not just about the dollar. … I think that Ratner took a very, very special architect who will give Brooklyn a very special flavor. If you ask me, can you improve it, I’d say, yes, you can improve anything, anywhere, endlessly. I’m sure you get up in the morning and look in the mirror and you could work on your face and then you can go on and on and not go to work. … When I heard Ratner was going to build here, I said, ‘Wow, jobs, new parking, new stores.’ It’s all prosperity.”

• That opposition from unions and neighborhood groups doesn’t bother him, although sometimes his finished products do: “If you are going to use union labor, you will lose your shirt. It costs you 40 percent more. And who will buy a house at 40 percent more? … If you show a bunch of people anything, from a woman to a building to clothes, they’ll all have a different opinion. Sometimes, I see something in my head that I think will be beautiful. But at the end of the day, it doesn’t come out like I want, because of the zoning, because of the architect, because of the finishing. You’re not 100 percent in control. … Sometimes I see something that’s finished, and I can’t quite change it.”

Read the full interview.

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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