Downtown

First tenants are moving into 7 DeKalb Ave. at City Point in Downtown Brooklyn

March 16, 2016 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Tenants are starting to move into City Point's apartments. Eagle photos by Rob Abruzzese

Eye on Real Estate

Our favorite buildings in this fine world were all constructed long before we were born.

Still, it can be a splendid thing to witness the creation of a new building.

As long as construction doesn’t entail the destruction of preservation-worthy properties or the displacement of Brooklynites from their homes, it’s intriguing to watch a project take shape over long months. When there’s finally a finished building, a place where people live and making a living, we can look at it and recall that legions of workers labored in all kinds of weather to shape steel, stone and concrete into an edifice.

In the case of 7 DeKalb Ave., zinc is on that list as well. It’s the façade material on this nearly completed rental-apartment tower at City Point.

“We love the zinc façade,” Aron Gooblar, vice president of Washington Square Partners, told Eye on Real Estate during a recent property tour. “It’s unique. It will age well.”

Washington Square Partners co-owns 7 DeKalb Ave. with Acadia Realty Trust and developer BFC Partners. Also, Washington Square Partners and Acadia Realty Trust jointly ground-lease the City Point site from the City of New York.

City Point is Downtown Brooklyn’s mixed-use mega-development, situated on Fulton Street where the Albee Square Mall formerly stood. When fully built — including an apartment tower whose construction has not begun — City Point will be 1.9 million square feet in size.

There is a nearly completed 100 percent market-rate rental apartment building at City Point. It’s called City Tower.

And a retail complex on City Point’s bottom floors, which are still under construction, will be the home of numerous businesses including Alamo Drafthouse Cinema — a movie theater with seat-side booze and food service that’s expected to open in the summer. It will also house DeKalb Market Hall, which will be filled with food vendors chosen by Anna Castellani, founder of DUMBO’s popular gourmet grocer Foragers.

The very first residential tenants to move into the development recently arrived at 440-unit City Tower,  which is also known as Tower 2 or 336 Flatbush Ave. Extension. Its developer is the Brodsky Organization.

Open Houses just started

At 7 DeKalb Ave., 200 of the apartments are affordable units for low-income and middle-income tenants. A staggering number of applicants signed up for the lottery that will determine who gets to rent them.

The other 50 apartments in the tower are market-rate units.

This building is also known as Tower 1 or 70 Fleet St.

The first tenants at 7 DeKalb began paying rent on March 1, and are in the process of moving in, Gooblar said.

Corcoran Group and Great Jones Realty — a firm headed by BFC Partners’ founder Donald Capoccia — serve as the exclusive leasing and marketing agents for 7 DeKalb’s market-rate apartments.

Eighteen of these units were made available for rent in January. Some were leased before the building received a temporary certificate of occupancy, Gooblar said — tenants rented them without being allowed to visit the building’s furnished model apartments.

Temporary certificates of occupancy were recently issued. The first Open Houses were held on the weekend of March 5 and 6.

“What we’re hearing from people coming through is that they really want to live here because it’s City Point,” Gooblar said. They consider the movie theater, DeKalb Market Hall and Trader Joe’s, which is going to be one of the retail tenants, as attractive amenities.

Size matters

Prospective tenants are from Manhattan neighborhoods and Jersey City — and a handful live abroad, Gooblar said.

A feature that sets both market-rate apartments and affordable units apart is their size, Gooblar said. They are significantly larger than city zoning requires them to be.

For the market-rate apartments, the rents range from $2,750 per month for a one-bedroom unit to $5,500 per month for a two-bedroom unit with a private terrace. BTW, some affordable apartments have private terraces, too.   

How does it feel to be so close to the construction finish line at 7 DeKalb? we asked.

“It’s exciting,” he said. “When you see people move in, it’s a big moment.

“We’ve been working on this since 2007. These big projects have a level of complexity. You need everything to line up perfectly to make them happen.”

No need for hard hats

We arrived for our tower tour, hard hat in hand. (Doesn’t every real estate nerd own a hard hat?) On our previous visit in June 2015, we needed to wear one.

But hard hats are no longer required in the apartment tower. The regular elevators are working (a great thing if you’re gripped by irrational panic in construction elevators). The carpet is laid in the corridors. Cleaning crews are tidying up the finished apartment interiors.

We saw jaw-dropping views in the appealing model apartments, though both are located near the bottom of the apartment tower. Because 7 DeKalb sits on top of City Point’s 120-foot-tall retail complex, even the lowest floors of the apartment building have panoramic vistas.

In the one-bedroom model apartment, we saw an array of Downtown Brooklyn and Borough Hall Skyscraper Historic District buildings through one window. Through another, Midtown’s skyline served as a backdrop for apartment buildings on Flatbush Avenue Extension.

On the 18th-floor terrace, we realized we could see the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument in Fort Greene Park as well as Barclays Center and the Brooklyn Cultural District apartment building designed by star architect Enrique Norten that Two Trees Management is constructing.

In one of 7 DeKalb’s empty 24th-floor apartments, we got eye-popping views of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, Coney Island, the Statue of Liberty — and the Empire State Building.  

Our photographer colleague Rob Abruzzese toured 7 DeKalb with us, and took these terrific photos.  

Late-night events in the concourse

A final word about City Point’s food market — which we did not visit during our tour, or we would have wound up wearing our hard hat because the space is still under construction.

Its foodie-friendly roster includes bread baker Pain D’Avignon, an outpost of Ridgewood, Queens, Vietnamese restaurant Bun-Ker and the first-ever expansion for Lower East Side eatery Katz’s Delicatessen. (As everyone knows, that’s the deli where the famous scene from “When Harry Met Sally” was filmed.)

The market will be located underground in the retail complex’s concourse level. Both 7 DeKalb and City Tower sit on top of the retail complex, too high in the air for the sounds of late-night activity in the market to be audible to residents.

Castellani, the market’s managing partner, said via email that events will be “a very important part of DeKalb Market Hall” and that on most weekends there will be late-night events that can extend as late as 2:30 a.m.