Upped the ante: Builder nabs air rights above its Boerum Place property to build denser tower Downtown

Space dismissed! Developer buys Brooklyn Law’s Fulton Mall office, may raze for high rise
Community News Group / Ruth Brown

This project caught some air!

A Brooklyn-based developer recently swooped up additional air rights above Downtown’s old Brooklyn Law School office complex on Boerum Place, which it purchased years ago, in order to erect an even larger tower on the site.

Avery Hall Investments shelled out $16-million for a little more than an acre’s worth of sky space to beef up its building, which could rise as high as 30 stories and will contain 100 units that will likely be condominiums, a co-owner of the company said.

The deal done last month doesn’t necessarily give Avery Hall a green light to build any taller on the lot — where zoning regulations rely on a measurement called floor-area-ratio to determine how high a structure can be relative to the size of the land it is on — but allows the firm to construct a denser tower with more windows to let the sun and breeze in, he said.

“The purchase of the air rights in and of itself does not necessarily change the height — it permits us to develop more floor area,” said Brian Ezra, who owns the company with two business partners. “Secondly, it opened up additional light and air for us.”

The ground-floor of the planned 250-to-300-foot high-rise at the entrance to Fulton Mall will be leased to retailers that would thrive along the booming commercial strip, according to Ezra, whose firm is building the tower along with real-estate companies Allegra Holdings and ARIA Development Group.

“We think there are a lot of great retailers that would succeed at this location, it has a lot of foot traffic,” he said.

The trio bought the property at 1 Boerum Pl. — part of a triangular lot bounded that road, Fulton Street, and Red Hook Lane — for $76.5 million in 2016. Following the purchase, the buyers said they planned to erect a hybrid residential-commerical building with about as much square feet as three football fields, and that size is now even bigger with their acquisition of the air rights.

Ezra said the developers are demolishing the current structure — which on the outside showed no signs of destruction when this reporter walked by on Thursday — and hope to start the two-year process of constructing the tower later this year. But the owners have not yet filed any applications for the high-rise, according to a Department of Buildings spokesman, who said he had also yet to receive any information about the air-rights purchase.

And the Boerum Place high-rise isn’t Avery Hall’s only in-the-works property in the Borough of Kings. The firm recently finished work on new condominiums at 465 Pacific St. in Boerum Hill, and is pushing forward with a handful of projects, including the two-building development going up on the site of the Fifth Avenue Key Food in Park Slope, the conversion of an old Cobble Hill gas station into another condo building with ground-floor retail, and a recently topped-out apartment complex at 145 President St. in Carroll Gardens.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Going up: The new tower may rise as high as 30 stories, according to its builders.
Community News Group / Ruth Brown

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