Collegetown, Red Hook! Sitt eyes land for dorms

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Red Hook already has a furniture store and a supermarket — how about some frat houses?

Developer Joe Sitt sent shockwaves through a monthly gathering of real estate executives on Tuesday by sharing news that he hoped to convert his waterfront land between the Ikea superstore and the Fairway supermarket into a student housing complex.

“Ask any university, they’re starving for student housing,” Sitt, the CEO of Thor Equities, told the development big wigs at the Real Estate Roundtable at the Brooklyn Historical Society.

“[It could be] quasi-residential student housing if we can tempt a nearby university.”

The property, which once housed the Revere Sugar factory on Beard Street, has been the subject of much speculation since Sitt bought it in 2005.

Last year, Sitt — best known for selling most of his vast Coney Island holdings to the city last year — was considering turning the Red Hook site along Beard Street into a mega-mall complete with a BJs Wholesale Club. There was also talk of a flea market.

But structural problems with the remaining edifice on the site killed those plans, along with the building itself, Sitt said.

Noting the enormous profitability of the Fairway and the Ikea, as well as the convenience of the nearby water taxi service, Sitt added that he wanted to “best utilize” the property.

He added that the land would have to be re-zoned before Sitt could do anything with it — a potential sticking point, though there are few neighbors to complain about loud parties.

A spokesman for New York University, which now runs Polytechnic University in Downtown Brooklyn, said the university would likely seek student housing in that neighborhood, not distant Red Hook. Long Island University said it wasn’t interested in Sitt’s dream because it is already working with another developer.

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Reader Feedback

Soured from Red Hook says:
Sounds like a shell-game here, open the door to residential under the guise of helping students. Change in the zoning is the ultimate goal here. Suddenly Joey has altruistic intentions? I don't think so. GIT!
Feb. 3, 2010, 9:03 am
JJ Burkard from red hook says:
Why just college dorm's ? there's plenty of room for the entire college with it' necessary buildings...Most of these developers have ulterior motives....They propose a great deal of sugar coated items, but in reality they are lookig to grab the icing,,,,Before Ikea got the site, developers were a dime a dozen until it was time to release the necessary cash....suddenly they all took a back seat and became spectators.... We need developers who are equally interested in the neighborhood...Who can assure us of their interests by planning with the residents benefit in mind...Most would welcome any business enterprise under these circumstaances.....JjbB.....
Feb. 23, 2013, 9:19 am

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