Developer Ups the Ante for Pineapple Walk, Whitman Shareholders to Vote by Friday

As reported by the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Whitman Owners Corp held a closed-door forum for its shareholders on Tuesday night.   Mary Frost reports, “Monday’s meeting was designed to provide as much information as possible to shareholders before the deadline – but the board warned residents that many questions could not be answered without making further investments in studies and expert advice.”  Board President Doug Wexler addressed inquiries previously submitted to the board.  Whitman’s legal counsel cautioned that the current offer is very preliminary and that “details will only be filled in if you authorize us to go forward.”

During the proceedings it was revealed the developer Anbau Enterprises, has raised its initial offer for Pineapple Walk- a 387,000 square foot parcel spanning Henry Street to Cadman Plaza West-from $75 million to $130 million.  The luxury investment and development firm’s motto is “See value where others don’t, Make value where others don’t.”  Based on their list of completed projects, Pineapple Walk would be their first foray into the Brooklyn housing market.  Renderings were not presented at the meeting.

But the the deal is not done.  Shareholders are not voting to approve the sale but whether or not to investigate the offer further.  Should the vote result in a “yes,” Board President Doug Wexler explained it would give the Co-Op the opportunity to explore competing offers saying, “Before we spend time and money, we sought your opinion.”  A “no” vote would send a strong message to future boards and indicate how future offers should be dealt with.

Whitman residents must weigh the potential personal financial benefits-reported to be $4,000 per share-against the impact on quality of life for themselves, neighbors and larger community both during and after construction.  They may find Anbau’s track record less than desireable.  A September New York Times article, The Stress of New Construction, highlights the conflicts that can arise.  Last year, Anbau’s 34-story project on First Avenue and East 89th Street was the subject of 180 noise complaints to 311. DNAinfo also reported on noise complaints for the same property describing work that was taking place six days a week and after-hours permits that had been granted and renewed on a bi-weekly basis.

Residents of 101 Clark Street have held at least two community meetings in the hopes of dissuading their neighbors from voting “yes.”  Elected officials have weighed in and the Brooklyn Heights Association has spoken out against development on the site. At a January 6th meeting, BHA’s Executive Director Peter Bray cautioned against opening the door to developers explaining, “with their money, PR firms, architect’s fancy renderings and promises pulled out of their pockets, it’s all very seductive. You can’t say no at that point, you’re really committed.”

The voting deadline is Friday, January 15th.

DISCLAIMER: This correspondent is a resident of Whitman Owners Corp

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  • DIBS

    What does the $4,000 PER SHARE average out to per resident given average share sizes in the coop? I assume $4,000 is not the bottom line for each coop owner.

  • DIBS

    From the article posted on Brownstoner…

    “If they agree to the sale and construction of Anbau’s tower, shareholders would benefit directly from the sale. When the offer was $75,000,000, the Brooklyn Eagle reported that shareholders would each receive anywhere from $120,000 for studio owners at 75 Henry to $260,000 for those owning a three-bedroom and more for those who live in townhouses just north of the building.

    Now, depending on the deal, those numbers might not change. But now that Anbau has offered $130,000,000 for the site — an increase of 73 percent — it makes sense to suspect that individual payouts could increase to something more along the lines of $200,000 to $450,000.”

  • JohnB

    DIBS, don’t you understand how shares work in NYC condos/co-ops? Nobody owns one share. They own 800, or 1000, or 2000. $4,000 is not the bottom line. Jeez, dude.

  • DIBS

    Yes, which is why I initially asked what they will really get. And then I posted the analysis. But thanks for the rather condescending clarification.

  • Reggie

    In the same way that share allocation increases in an apartment line as the floors get higher, any payout that might result from this or a similar deal would most fairly allocate a larger percentage of the proceeds to the owners on the south side of the building, who will be giving up the most.

  • Andrew Porter

    This really makes me depressed, because greed likely trumps most other considerations. As I commented on Curbed and Brownstoner, “What is to prevent this developer from building, not a 40 story building, but a super-tall, 1,000 foot high plus building?”

    More background: I’m pretty sure both the pet store, Rocco & Jezebel, and Heights Kids would close. And the only supermarket would be the aptly nicknamed “Grosstedes”. The “Peas ‘N’ Pickles” food store there is open 24 hours, and I shop there often. They’ve done so well they’ve expanded several times.

    Previously, since being developed, Pineapple Walk had Jack and Lottie’s, a Chinese restaurant; a gay bar; a Chase Manhattan bank branch; a Tru-Value hardware store; Cadman Travel, a travel agent; Brooklyn Dojo, a kid’s martial arts school; and a Bohack supermarket—whose lease was bought out by Gristede’s. It was located where the diner is now.

    Alas, I don’t live in 75 Henry, so have no vote in this matter.

  • Elizabeth

    My studio in a different bldg has 262 shares…..

  • rss

    Makes me very depressed too. I hope our neighbors will do the right thing and vote no.

  • Concerned

    Paying 130 million before ANY construction. That sounds like a sign that they will build a SUPER structure. Let’s face it, you buy a plot of land for that much because you are going to build something really big so that you could sell more to make more profit. Can we stop this????

  • Bornhere

    This is more than depressing; the potential for greed-driven devolution of the Heights is endless, I guess. (Andrew: I think the businesses were Lottie and Jack’s on Henry [and I don’t think it was a Chinese restaurant — they had a nifty live-lobster tank in their window], and a King Kullen or Pioneer where Gristedes is. I absolutely don’t recall a Bohack at that end of the neighborhood. And the only thing I can recall on what was the eastern end of Pineapple [it was still a through street] at what was still Fulton Street was the St. George Playhouse, a somewhat small but dandy movie thea-ter.)

  • SongBirdNYC

    From Mary Frost’s article that I linked to in my post: “If they approve the offer, Whitman shareholders who live in the co-op’s
    32-story tower would receive an enticing cash payout: from $120,000
    (studio owners) to $260,000 (three bedroom owners) apiece; Whitman
    townhouse owners would get even more.”

  • Roberto Gautier

    Andrew, I checked with the Comptroller’s Office today. According to the zoning track on Pineapple Walk, there is no height limit, though as the tower rises it would have to taper as it rises.
    Having no stake in this unexpected lottery, I, too, feel a bit depressed by the money lust virus in our neighborhood. Sure, it’s understandable, but something does seem rather off-putting about a developer swooping down with an irresistible pile of cash whose impact on the entire area might be questionable. I also think back to those intriguing episodes of “The Millionaire.” This was the story of a philanthropist, John B. Tipton, who had his secretary Mr. Anthony deliver a million bucks tax-free to an unsuspecting person. Many times, the money from heaven did not result in a miracle.

  • Roberto Gautier

    Anbau Enterprises, the potential buyer of Pineapple Walk, has a curious statement about their aims on the company’s website: Husband and wife team, Stephen Glascock and Barbara van Beuren (the “developers”) believe value is created through award winning design, quality construction and neighborhood awareness. One wonders what type of “awareness” they have about our part of Brooklyn? More will be revealed.

  • beach48

    I am surprised that the issue here seems to all about what shareholders will “gain” because clearing thinking tells me that they might actually stand to lose — for example, the stores provide the a pretty penny in monthly income for the building owners – what would happen if the building were to lose 1M a year in income until the construction is completed, the maintenance would surely go up – any accountant ( or phone app) can do a forecast and come up with the potential numbers — THE MAINTENANCE WILL SKYROCKET – for the maintenance not to go up, the coop would need to distribute less thats what is the “possible” money they are dangling in front of the shareholders, and we’re talking about a limited amount of money. Would this be a 421-a project? The current administration is pushing hard to reach a housing goal, so much so, that NYC is like the Wild West for developers, with ease they are able to acquire all sorts of zoning variances in exchange for added height – build a school in the bottom of the building, add 20 floors, for each additional 10% of “affordable” housing, add 20 floors, build and maintain a public seating plaza, add 20 floors. There is no limit to the size of the project once the property passes hands. And speaking of passing hands, the developer is promising the moon right now – control of the stores, use of their health club ….. it’s all hugs and kisses, anyone who has been thru a courtship will tell you that once the hunt is over so are endless kisses, hugs and promises. And what if the project is sold before it’s built – something that happens every day in the development world, what will the coop do, do they have limitless funds to litigate? Where will that money come from?
    Why the rush? A developer ups their offer, why are they bargaining against themselves? Maybe because 421-a is set to expire and they want to get in under the wire? Maybe some of these questions should to be answer BEFORE any voting takes place because there is a hubris in action here that is very scary.

  • DIBS

    Presumably they would get the money upfront, when the land was sold to the developer, as with any transaction. To make it contingent upon completion of construction would certainly be a deal killer.

  • JaneonOrange

    Bohack was where CVS is now. Gristedes was “internationals”

  • StudioBrooklyn

    Can’t we also predict delays in construction due to things like incompetence, battles over violations of agreements, contractual disputes, etc.? Perhaps it might be helpful to find and consider a pattern (established by averaging timelines of Pierhouse and Bossert with recent condo projects on Montague, Clinton, Remsen, for example) in the differences between actual completion timelines and those set forth as initial goals?

  • Roberto Gautier

    The following link to the September 2015 New York Times article provides a relevant context to the impact of construction on a neighborhood. The piece includes mention of Anbau Enterprises as a player in the real estate frenzy involving neighborhood disruption and transformation. Many are not impressed by the hardline practices within the big builder class.

  • Reggie

    Every time I hear “Bohack,” I know that I am old.

  • Andrew Porter

    Bohack became D’Agostino’s became CVS. Here’s an image of what was there a loong time ago, from the 19th century:

  • Bornhere

    Internationals rings no bell but is very exotic-sounding!! Of course I know that Bohack (with its wonderful College Place entrance option) was on Henry and Love Lane — what I was saying is that I cannot recall a Bohack being on Fulton/Pineapple (where the diner is), as mentioned by Andrew.

  • Reggie

    I vaguely remember hearing something about new retail space constructed as part of this scheme would be deeded back to the co-op, sort of like the library deal.