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CRAIN'S- Buyer finishes, flips Billyburg building in a year

February 08 / 2012

Buyer finishes, flips Billyburg building in a year

Just a year after buying 111 Kent Ave. in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Laurence Gluck's Stellar Management is selling the 62-unit luxury rental property.

Stellar partnered with Largo Investments to acquire the seven-story building last year for $24.6 million. At the time, the then-condominium project was 90% complete and Stellar said it would pour another $8 million into completing it and converting it to a rental. Recently, Stellar retained brokerage Studley to market the 64,000-rentable-square-foot building. According to marketing material on the property, there is no asking price.
“It was always part of our business plan to buy the asset, finish it and to market it,” said Matthew Lembo, vice president at Stellar Management. He referred questions about the pricing of the property to Woody Heller of Studley, who could not be reached immediately for comment.
“It was a building built to be condo, and we believe we created a great rental product in Williamsburg because of its proximity to the subway line and amenities,” said Mr. Lembo.

Brokerage began exclusively marketing the rental apartments, ranging from one-bedroom to duplex-lofts and three-bedrooms, in October. By Wednesday, only two units remain vacant. Units fetched on average more than $50 per square foot and one unit recently rented for more than $60 per square foot, according to David Maundrell, president of

“There is strong demand for multi-family residential buildings in the city,” said Mr. Maundrell. “They will get a lot of bids. It is an amazing property with amenities and great location, whoever buys it will see a great return for many years.”

According to city records, Stellar and Largo purchased 111 Kent Ave. from Garrison Investment Group, which bought the property for $43 million in November 2010. Public records show that the original owners of the project defaulted on its $1.3 million loan two years earlier.

The property was Stellar's first foray in Williamsburg and Mr. Lembo said the firm would love to do another project like it if the opportunity arises. “We are always looking” he said.

Separately, last month Stellar and The Chetrit Group sold Columbus Square, five rental buildings with 710 units on the Upper West Side, for $630 million to a joint venture of UDR Inc., a Denver-based real estate investment trust, and MetLife Inc. Stellar and Chetrit retain ownership of the 500,000 square feet of retail and community facility space there and Mr. Lembo said that sale is unrelated to 111 Kent Ave.