Mega-developer acts small in Brooklyn

JDS—the company behind the super-pricey Walker Tower in Chelsea and a super-slender, 1,350-feet-tall one under construction on West 57th Street—has snapped up a parcel in Park Slope and is eyeing others in an effort to diversify its bets.

JDS Development Group is intent on placing its bets on both sides of the East River. Best known for its properties in Manhattan, including its recently completed Walker Tower in Chelsea, where a penthouse sold for just north of $50 million, the company recently—and a bit more quietly—closed on the purchase of a $6 million assemblage of properties on the corner of Baltic Street and Fourth Avenue in Park Slope, Brooklyn. There it aims to build a 65,000 square foot residential and retail building. Meanwhile JDS is eyeing a series of development sites elsewhere in the borough.

True, the size of the developer’s latest project in Brooklyn pales in comparison to its super-slender, 1,350-feet-tall tower under construction at 111 W. 57th St. in Manhattan, but according to Michael Stern, JDS’s managing partner, it is part of a longer strategy for development outside of Manhattan.

“We like to have a diversity in our portfolio,” Mr. Stern said, noting that his firm has already been involved in several smaller-scale Brooklyn developments. Among those is a rental property JDS Development built and sold across the street from its latest development site. He also noted that he has several more projects both large and small in the pipeline in the borough. Part of the push in Kings County comes as a result of the continuing skyrocketing of land prices in Manhattan.

“It’s getting harder and harder (to develop there), so we are looking to diversify and I think there is a lot of opportunity for growth in Brooklyn,” he said.

The Baltic Street site currently houses four buildings, which the firm plans to begin tearing down by the end of the year. Construction is set to begin shortly thereafter.


By Joe Anuta, Crain’s New York

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