Lots of Cash


Williamsburg’s quick transformation from postcollegiate haven to the new Tribeca has hit a milestone. Anticipating the area’s rezoning to permit development, the longtime owners of an empty Safeway-size 1960 factory at North 4th Street and Bedford Avenue have put it on the market for nearly $21 million. After rezoning, the site will support 64,000 square feet of apartments and retail space, meaning that the developer will be paying $300 a square foot just for the land. Run the numbers, and you get apartments priced at $900 a square foot—around $800,000 for a one-bedroom.

That presages a hipsterless Williamsburg. Even the seller’s broker, Michael Rothstein of Marcus & Millichap, calls it “a fortune.” “It’s so insane,” says Joe Vance, an architect of Tribeca projects like the Roebling Building. “Even in Tribeca, they wouldn’t pay $300 a square foot for a raw building.” Bruce Ehrmann, a broker of new developments for Stribling Marketing Associates, adds that the price compares with the meatpacking district’s. “But that’s different. That’s Manhattan.”

Then again, Williamsburg is already getting luxe. Douglas Elliman’s Helene Luchnick says that finished apartments in her first building there, in 2001, sold for about $400 a square foot; at 170 Broadway, they’re closer to $500. Meanwhile, prices at the Gretsch Building, a former musical-instrument factory and future home of rapper Busta Rhymes near the Williamsburg Bridge, are even higher. But everyone’s flabbergasted at the idea of $900 a square foot—mostly. “Of course,” Ehrmann says, “if you have deep pockets and can wait five years, you could have something.” And that’s about when the building will be done.. —Carl Swanson

Detective Work
For the Kellermans, crime pays.
The suspense is over, with a happy ending. Jonathan and Faye Kellerman, the couple with two dozen crime-fiction best-sellers between them, have closed on a five-room co-op at 955 Fifth Avenue for about $1.55 million. (It’s Robert Redford’s old building.) The couple, who have four children, also have a home in Los Angeles, but, says their representative, “they want to expand their ties here.” No word on whether the closing went down in tension-racked fashion: Broker Kathy Sloane of Brown Harris Stevens declined to comment.

DIVA VS. DIVA: Kelly Ripa may have to duke it out with the Queen of Soul. The perky TV host, with husband Mark Consuelos and their kids, spent a recent day hopping out to the Hamptons by Learjet to see a $3 million Bridgehampton property that Aretha Franklin is also considering. Last year, Ripa rented a five-bedroom house for $85,000. —Deborah Schoeneman

Big Deals
463A Quincy Street
Two-family, 1,890-square-foot townhouse. Ask: $315,000. Sell: $300,000. Taxes: $980. Time on market: 8 weeks.
“It had pink shag carpet!” says Corcoran broker Jean Manon. That didn’t deter the buyer of this house, which has a ground-floor apartment: He’s a wheelchair user who was looking for a home for his mom and himself. Carpet aside, the house needed TLC—“mostly cosmetic,” says Manon. This section of Bed-Stuy is very close-knit, and, she notes, “one of the neighbors wanted to know everything about who would be moving in. They wanted to make sure they would keep the sidewalk clean.”

Midtown West
200 Riverside Boulevard
3-bed, 3-bath, 1,773-square-foot condo. Ask: $1,695,000. Sell: $1,645,000. Charges and taxes: $1,628. Time on market: Over a year.
Why was this Trump Place condo so slow to sell? Elliman’s Daniela Kunen explains that offers kept coming in with “bad timing” for the seller. On the other hand, the buyer “got an incredibly great deal” on “a beautiful palace hanging over the Hudson,” she says, sounding rather Trump-like herself. Since the deal was inked, “the market has gone up at least 15 percent.” Sounds like good timing to us. —Sara Cardace

Lots of Cash