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The Faith Consolo Team

Faith Hope Consolo
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker

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New York, NY 10022
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In the News

Condos replace offices

Talk about a turnaround. The infamous Board of Education headquarters in downtown Brooklyn is being redone as luxury condos — and people who worked there are buying them.

Despised as a symbol of bureaucracy gone wild, 110 Livingston St. was sold to developer David Walentas when the Board of Ed was dismantled. A former schools spokesman predicted it would be "the least missed building in the history of New York City government."

But he was wrong. Just ask Joan Rosenberg.

She and her husband, Neal Rosenberg, have purchased a two-bedroom condo in the 1920s-vintage beige-brown brick building, which was designed as an Elks Club by famed architects McKim Meade & White.

"We have fond memories of the building," said Joan Rosenberg, who was assistant to the director of citywide programs from 1978 to 1983 and is now a New York University professor. "We developed wonderful programs for kids who would not have been able to stay in school."

Also, it's where she met Neal, who was working there as a Board of Ed lawyer.

Apartment buyer Brad Silver's love of 110 Livingston dates back to his childhood.

His mother, Yaffa Silver, worked there in the 1990s as the head of the music department. He'd visit her after school, and even sneak in to see her when he was playing hooky.

An avid amateur photographer, she took hundreds of pictures of the building.

"I'm going back into a part of history that my mom was obsessed with," he said.

The old Board of Ed building is one of a pair of historic office-to-condo conversions in downtown Brooklyn — closely watched projects in a nabe that's been rezoned for denser residential and commercial development.

The other is the former Verizon building, a 27-story Art Deco landmark on Willoughby and Bridge streets, known as 7 MetroTech Center until its sale early last year to landlord David Bistricer. Its new name is BellTel Lofts.

The two projects are out in front of a wave of condo construction in the area — including ground-up projects at 75 Smith St. across from the Brooklyn House of Detention, and the 40-story Oro tower at 306 Gold St.

Despite a citywide slowdown in condo sales, apartments are going fast at 110 Livingston — where Walentas is adding a modern glass crown to the building.

There were nearly 1,200 people on the waiting list to visit 110 Livingston before marketing started 11 weeks ago. Since then, sale contracts have been signed for 162 condos — more than half the building's 300 units, said Asher Abehsera of Two Trees Management, Walentas' firm.

Part of the appeal is the pricing — which has averaged $678 per square foot, he said. That's a deal compared with Manhattan condos, which go for an average $1,171 per square foot, according to appraisal firm Miller Samuel.

The smallest apartment that's been sold at 110 Livingston was a $340,000 studio. The priciest — a 1,680-square-footer with a wrap-around terrace — was sold for $1.425 million.

The building's makeover includes a trompe l'oeil painted on its courtyard facade by famous muralist Richard Haas. And space that was the Elks' grand meeting hall will become a cultural center. Eight bidders are vying for it; the winner gets it rent-free for 10 years.

The other historic property, BellTel Lofts, has a good architectural pedigree. The 1920s-vintage tower was designed by preeminent Deco skyscraper architect Ralph Walker, and built as the Long Island headquarters of New York Telephone Co. Apartments at the orange-brick building have been on the market for five weeks. Contracts have been signed for 13 condos, and drawn up for another 14 condos, said Hal Henenson of Prudential Douglas Elliman, which is handling the sales.

Asking prices start at $500,000. Two duplex penthouses will be offered for nearly $3 million apiece — after most of the building's 219 units have been sold.

If things go according to plan, residents will have an upscale place to grocery-shop right on the premises. Elliman's retail-leasing maven Faith Hope Consolo has offered space in the base of the building to Whole Foods, Trader Joe's and D'Agostino."We're pushing for a food retailer," she said.

 

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575 MADISON AVENUE, NEW YORK, NY 10022. 212. 891.7000 © 2019 DOUGLAS ELLIMAN REAL ESTATE. ALL MATERIAL PRESENTED HEREIN IS INTENDED FOR INFORMATION PURPOSES ONLY. WHILE, THIS INFORMATION IS BELIEVED TO BE CORRECT, IT IS REPRESENTED SUBJECT TO ERRORS, OMISSIONS, CHANGES OR WITHDRAWAL WITHOUT NOTICE. ALL PROPERTY INFORMATION, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO SQUARE FOOTAGE, ROOM COUNT, NUMBER OF BEDROOMS AND THE SCHOOL DISTRICT IN PROPERTY LISTINGS SHOULD BE VERIFIED BY YOUR OWN ATTORNEY, ARCHITECT OR ZONING EXPERT. EQUAL HOUSING OPPORTUNITY. DRE # 01947727