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A Butler–Douglass building bust

The Brooklyn Paper
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Curious about those five buildings on booming Fourth Avenue — the ones that are boarded up like crack houses in Gary, Indiana? So was The Stoop, so we did some digging.

An insider, who wished to remain off the record, said Gustavo Rodriguez, the owner of the buildings, has been trying to sell them. Indeed, he almost managed to, but a would-be buyer “backed out.” Now, the buyer is suing to get out of the deal he nearly closed on.

“Rodriguez was trying to sell it for too much money,” the source said about the buildings, which are between Butler and Douglass streets.

Rodriguez could not be reached for comment. A co-worker did confirm that he was trying to sell the buildings and was close to a deal.

Ken Freeman, a real estate agent with the gigantic Massey Knakal Realty Services, which is not involved with this sale, speculated that the buyer may have been scared off by changes to the 421-a tax-abatement program.

Last year, the city changed the 421-a subsidy to require developers in Park Slope, among other Brooklyn neighborhoods, to build some affordable housing on-site in order to qualify. The tax-incentive program was created to spur housing development during the 1970s, yet lingers despite the white-hot real-estate market.

“Changes to 421-a are having a big impact on development,” Freeman said. “It’s putting the fear of god in a lot in a lot of people.”

So for now, the plywood remains.

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