Williamsburg developer planning office-to-residential conversion in Downtown Brooklyn

Williamsburg developer planning office-to-residential conversion in Downtown Brooklyn

A Downtown Brooklyn office tower could become housing under a new conversion plan.

Williamsburg-based developer Watermark Capital Group, which has been busy scooping up numerous houses of worship across the borough — one of them most recently in Fort Greene  — just acquired a large office building at 175 Pearl St. with plans to knock it down and put up a 14-story apartment complex in its place, according to city records and Sunset Park-headquartered real estate finance platform Bridge City, which is providing the construction loan.

The firm is providing Watermark with $50.6 million to facilitate the construction of a 230,000-square-foot building with about 240 housing units, according to a document that appeared in the city register Tuesday. Preliminary plans call for a luxury rental building, but it could offer either rentals or condos, said E.J. Ehrlich, a senior analyst at Bridge City.

Under a limited liability company named after the Pearl Street address, Wolfe Landau, a founding partner at Watermark, signed the deed  taking over the property from Cannon Hill Capital Partners for $66.5 million, records show. Cannon Hill had bought the site for $102.9 million in 2017.

The existing 8-story structure, which sits between Sands and High streets, is considered a Class B office building by commercial broker CBRE. All of its tenants either have already vacated the premises or will imminently, Ehrlich confirmed.

The proposed transformation, which was first reported by the Commercial Observer, will not require a rezoning and is considered as of right, thanks to a new state tax incentive called  467-M that aids such office-to-residential conversions by exempting developers from local property taxes, Ehrlich said.

Watermark Capital Group did not respond to a request for comment.

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