Today’s news:

All eyes on 231 Norman - Greenpoint Lofts BK’s first commerical condominium

Dozens of real estate brokers, marketing agencies and creative professionals converged upon Greenpoint Lofts tower last week to take a closer look at Brooklyn’s first commercial condominium development.

“The building has received a lot of attention from small business owners who want a piece of real estate action for themselves,” said Gus Mov, an investment sales associate with Upside Ventures. “You’re paying the same to rent as to own in the city. I think they’re getting a really good deal here.”

Upside Ventures, a commercial real estate investment firm specializing in investment sales, leasing, acquisitions and financing, has been marketing condos in the Greenpoint Lofts (231 Norman Street) for the past few months. Originally a storage facility, the building was vacant before a group of investors bought the facility for $22 million. It has taken 18 months from acquisition and securing a certificate of occupancy to convert the building for commercial use. The zoning for the building remained M-1, an industrial designation that prohibits residential development.

“The city was concerned about residential usage, so we made several precautions,” said Ralph J. Trinofo, president of Upside Ventures. “We ensure that all our marketing efforts so clients clearly understand that the space is commercial.”

The Greenpoint Lofts reside within one of three Empire Zones in North Brooklyn, making small business owners eligible for ICIP tax abatements, including wage tax credits of $1,500 or $3,000 per employee per year, and other credits they can receive by moving into the building. The East Williamsburg Valley Industrial Corporation, which provides a variety of businesses assistance services and manages the Empire Zones, has been helping small manufacturers obtain tax credits and incentives as they have been moving into the building.

Caitlin Dourmashkin, Empire Zone Coordinator at EWVIDCO, was enthusiastic about development believing that the building will help attract small manufacturers and other creative economies into the neighborhood.

“A building like this is great because it is a commercial building,” Dourmashkin said. “This is not built in a way or being marketed in a way to attract tenants who live here. There are no kitchens or showers. EWVIDCO can support a developer who builds and markets in such a way that attracts industry into the IBZ zone.”

Greenpoint Loft’s 65 units, ranging from 2,000 to 6,000 square feet and costing between $245,000 and $500,000, are about 40 percent sold. Tenants such as the noted architect Steven Holl, who has set up a lab for his building models, as well as a printing company, a tattoo artist, and an accounting firm have already moved into the building. Brokers, including Prudential Douglas Eliman, continue to feature top floor lofts while a Manhattan-based creative marketing firm is currently negotiating with Upside Ventures for two rooms on the first floor.

Upside Venture representatives are encouraged by the attention their building has received from the city’s brokers and creative industries, now that the rezoning for the Greenpoint and Williamsburg waterfront has led to the development of several residential condos in the neighborhood.

“This neighborhood is one of the greatest neighborhoods in New York,” said Christopher Giovanis, director of sales and Marketing at Greenpoint Lofts. “We’re expecting an increase in population in the area and an increase in overall values.”

For more information about Upside Ventures and Greenpoint Lofts, visit www.greenpointlofts.com or call 718-689-4444.

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