Brooklyn Historical Society hosts quarterly real estate round table
Development Summit Benefits Historical Society
Some heavy hitters in the Brooklyn real estate scene gathered inside the Brooklyn Historical Society (BHS) on Tuesday for two hours of close-contact networking, food and updates from selected speakers on their companies’ latest projects.
Agents, brokers, principals and attorneys paid $300 to attend the quarterly roundtable event — the proceeds of which directly benefit BHS — gathering first in the society’s stunning two-story Othmer Library for cocktails and conversation.
“We all get together four times a year and talk about business,” said Bosko Stankovic, a commercial real estate analyst for Ingram & Hebron Realty Corp. “You tend to see the same faces each time.”
In fact, Roundtable members do seem remarkably well at ease with one another. Greetings are informal, and business cards are rarely passed out. Among the best-known attendees are three generations of the Hebron family, co-founders of Ingram & Hebron Realty, along with Paula Ingram, who, in addition to founding Ingram & Hebron Realty, sits on the board of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership and is also a member of the Roundtable Steering Committee.
Forest City Ratner Companies, The Hudson Companies, Lonicera Partners, Citi Habitats, The Corcoran Group, Brooklyn Bridge Realtors, Sotheby’s International Real Estate, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, Toll Brothers and Two Trees Management were just a few of the other major players on hand.
After cocktails, members gathered for lunch in the Great Hall. After remarks by BHS President Deborah Schwartz and Roundtable Steering Committee Co-Chair Alison Novak, Alireza Esmaeilzadeh of Forest City Ratner Companies engaged in a discussion with Dan Conlon, Two Trees’ managing director of commercial operation, using graphic displays to portray the company’s plans for Downtown Brooklyn.
Forest City Ratner, noted for pioneering modular construction techniques, has nearly completed its massive Pacific Park project after almost a decade of legal and financial setbacks. With six major projects in various states of completion, Forest City Ratner is completely transforming the part of Brooklyn once known as “Atlantic Yards.”
Next up, David Von Spreckelsen of Toll Brothers introduced David Kramer, president of The Hudson Companies. One of The Hudson Companies’ most significant projects at hand is redevelopment of the Brooklyn Heights Public Library, another effort fraught with controversy and legal issues that had to be overcome before it could proceed. The library building, currently vacant, is planned for demolition, to be replaced by a 36-story mixed-use residential and commercial building.
The final speaker of the day was Demetrios Yatrakis, a partner of the Lonicera Partners, who was introduced by Paula Ingram. Lonicera’s major project, 157 Remsen St., will consist of 60 market-rate residential units, offering larger floor plans to permit more bedrooms and attract family buyers to the area.
The Roundtables, according to Schwartz, go back more than a decade, bring together an impressive roster of talent and provide insight into the future shape of the borough. With land values continuing to soar after several years of recession, developers clearly have their sights set on Brooklyn.
Despite having offices near Union Square Park, Kramer told the Commercial Observer last year: “We’re not doing a lot in Manhattan right now.”
Asked which parts of Brooklyn are simmering the most in terms of land value and development potential, Stankovic paused only for a second — “All of it!” he declared.
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