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If you can’t sell ’em, rent ’em

The Brooklyn Paper
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Sales of luxury apartments in the majestic and phallic Williamsburgh Savings Bank building are so sluggish that the owner will rent the unsold units until the economy improves — the latest proof that the real-estate market has gone to hell in a rent basket.

Brooklyn’s tallest building, once predominantly filled with dental offices and now a 190-unit tower called “One Hanson Place,” earlier this year was proudly boasting of an upper-floor apartment with wraparound views of the New York skyline that cost $6 million, but is now trying to fill the last 19 domiciles with rent ranging from $3,400 to $4,800 per month, according to the Stribling Properties Web site.

“It’s not a reflection of the building or the developer,” said Matthew Giordano, a director of sales in Massey Knakal. “There’s just such a dramatic swing back in the other direction after people were buying up everything.”

Developers are more likely to rent empty condos rather than slash prices, because a steep sale price discount can induce potential buyers to hold out for even more drastic cuts, Giordano told The Brooklyn Paper.

“Instead of that, they can rent them out and maybe break even until the market strengthens,” Giordano said.

The slackening demand in condo sales forced other high-end projects in Brooklyn to temporarily hawk their unoccupied residences to renters as a way to generate some income, such as the Northside Piers complex in Williamsburg.

The Dermot Company, which converted most of the building into 190 apartments (some dentists still have their headquarters in the 34-story tower), did not respond to request for comment.

The Web site Brownstoner broke the story on Monday.

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Reader Feedback

BD from Carroll Gdns says:
Maybe, has the owner, thought, since Ratner project is in debate with all the movement rights of whether he should be there or not- that maybe the reason, no one wants to buy.
Jan. 9, 2009, 12:37 pm
Laloriss from Bed-Stuyvesant says:
They wont be the first to rent because no one is buying; especially in this economy. It will happen all over.
Jan. 13, 2009, 6:13 pm
Peter from Greenpoint says:
The developer will rent out the units until the market strenghtens. That's risky. The real estate cycle is a very long one; last time around prices kept on falling for about a decade. I remember in the late 1990's one could buy a house in Brooklyn for 1/2 its replacement cost. House prices overshoot in both directions, on the upside and on the downside. We are now in the process of going from ridicously high prices to ridicously low prices. Buyers, save your money and don't rush into a purchase.
Jan. 21, 2009, 5:11 pm

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