Take a number: Demolition of Downtown DMV building spells more luxury apartments

Apartments are coming to Downtown’s office complex — technically, anyway.

The seven-story building at 10 MetroTech Center — which is actually located on Fulton Street, a 10-minute walk from its namesake office tower compound — is undergoing a $8.2-million demolition to make way for a residential development, mega-developer Forest City Ratner said in a quarterly shareholders conference call.

“We are currently demolishing the building and will then evaluate our options,” said company spokesman Michael Rapfogel, when asked about the future of the space.

The Ratner-owned building previously housed a double-whammy of bureaucratic dread in the form of offices for the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Motor Vehicles. The tear-down started on Nov. 29 and workers have cleared out much of the building’s interior. The structure’s skeleton still stands at 625 Fulton St. near Flatbush Avenue and contractors are now ripping out plumbing and partitions, according to Department of Buildings records.

Under the lot’s current zoning, it could become an office tower, an apartment high-rise with ground-floor retail, or a hotel, and a real estate expert says the latter two are the more lucrative options.

“The best and highest use for the space is a hotel, or residential and retail if permitted,” said Chris Havens, a commercial broker with aptsandlofts.com.

Forest City is currently in default on a $40-million mortgage for the building, but it is not in immediate danger of foreclosure. It has two years to pay back the lender, which it might do with the cash it brings in from redeveloping the lot.

When the complex goes non-commercial, it will be the latest in a long line of Downtown facilities to make the switch from office space to retail or luxury residential digs, including the Municipal Building, the bottom two floors of which are now being leased to stores, and the former Board of Education building at 110 Livingston St., which is now apartments with a performing arts space downstairs.

Reach reporter Jaime Lutz at jlutz@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow her on Twitter @jaime_lutz.

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