Clinton and Remsen Bldg Not For Sale … Yet

Last week, The Brooklyn Eagle reported that the owners of 88 – 96 Clinton Street were launching an aggressive marketing campaign to attract potential buyers.  The building, while within the Brooklyn Heights Historic District  is outside of the zone restricting building height to 50 feet or less.  The Eagle added that a potential sale aroused concern at the Brooklyn Heights Association who worry that a high rise could end up at that location.

In this week's Brooklyn Paper, Heights correspondent/journalistic super-vixen Christie Rizk reports that the building is not on the market:

Brooklyn Paper: Building Not For Sale: The owners of the two-story building at Clinton and Remsen streets denied a published report that they are about to sell the building — a story that created a panic across Brooklyn Heights that the building would be torn down for a 14-story tower.

It may someday become just such a building — a tower is legal under the current zoning, after all — but a representative of the owner told The Stoop this week that the building was not on the market.


“The owners just wanted to know [the value of] what they own, so they retained us to evaluate the possibilities,” said Barry Kimchy of the Marcus and Millichap real-estate firm.

The building, located at the corner of Remsen Street, is inside the historically protected section of Brooklyn Heights, but outside a zoning area that bars buildings rising above 50 feet.

As such, a buyer could construct something that would tower over the rowhouses of Remsen Street and obscure views all over the area.

The panic began after a newspaper reported that the owners had put the building up for sale for $22 million.

But Kimchy said the $22 million figure is merely an estimate of the building’s maximum value, and not an asking price.


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  • anon

    Not for sale? Are they joking. Both MasseyKnakal and Marcus/Millichap have advertised the bldg for sale. MK had it at $12MM just over a year ago. Seller dropped MK when someone offered them their asking price. MM put out a 60 page book with their listing of the property. Book contains an image of a 12 story bldg on the site adjacent to non-existant 12 story bldgs to the west of it on Remsen (where 5 story brownstones exist). If this is not an attempt to sell the property what would be? The owner is either getting bad advice or is on board with the idea that such a large bldg could be built on their site. What is puzzling to me is that I believe the owners live in Brooklyn Heights so they must be aware of the resistance such a project would face.

  • above average joe

    Anon, you must be in the real estate business.

  • nabeguy

    With $22 million in your pocket, would you bother sticking around to listen to those voices of resistance?

  • anon

    They will never pocket $22MM. No one with even half a brain or a half decent attorney would enter into a contract to purchase without contingencies related to acquiring the necessary permits to construct in a landmarked district. The property’s real value is closer to $7MM. Not only will a fully built-out project not be allowed on that site there is a very good chance existing bldg will not be allowed to be taken down. The brokers who are promoting such possibilities are not experienced in this particular market place. The successes of the BHA and those entities that came before them are not achieved from good luck. The current owners and their advisors/brokers have lost all of their negotiating leverage by undertaking such a poorly thought out strategy.

  • nabeguy

    No doubt. Even the Peak’s Mason Mint building will probably not go for$22M they’re asking, and that’s already passed the LPA hurdles for future development. Hard to believe that the Remsen Street owner could be led so easily down the garden path especially if he/she is a Heights resident but, like I said, $22MM is a big carrot to dangle in front of somebody’s face. Are these the same brokers who handled the sale of the old police precinct building on Poplar St., which the new owner claimed he didn’t realize was in a landmark neighborhood and thus subject to approval for any development? Caveat emptor indeed!

  • anon

    Poplar Street property, a former nyc police internal affairs dept., was sold by the city at an auction. No broker involved. Current owner was the one who won the auction. He paid approx. 25% more than next closest group of bids. He claimed to not have known property was in an historic district and unsuccessfuly tried to give the bldg back to the city soon after he closed on it. MasseyKnakal was hired to market the property a little over a year ago – asking $15MM, $6mm over what the owner had paid for it. Highly unlikely that a second fool would show up so quickly. Property is languishing as the owner devises an acceptable scheme to rehabilitate.
    20 Henry asking price of $22MM is a little closer to the correct market value. It has much more potential upside as the bldg is taller than what would be allowed in a limited height district and there is approx 15,000 sq ft of allowable building area. Current owner did add some value in between when they purchased and now as they were able to vacate bldg. Finding a vacant bldg free of both rent controlled or rent stabilized tenants is not easy. Even the Watchtower properties are typically encumberred with a few rc or rs tenants.