Industrie Capital Partners Believes Gowanus Has What It Takes To Be Brooklyn's Creative Hotspot
NYC’s no stranger to real estate family businesses, and one such business, run by four brothers, has big plans for Gowanus.
The Hamways (including brothers Joseph, left, and Eli) privately own and operate Industrie Capital Partners and recently launched leasing and a $90M capital investment program for the Roulston House (below), a 200k SF, Class-A mixed-use property they co-own with Aurora Capital Associates in the heart of Gowanus.
Cushman & Wakefield senior director Joseph Cirone, who is serving as the Rouston House’s exclusive leasing agent alongside Bruce Mosler, has been repping the Hamways for more than a year and described the brothers as “a hell of a lot of fun to work with.”
“Each brother has their defined roles and areas of expertise, whether it's marketing, finance or project management,” he told Bisnow. “But it’s apparent that they’re intense and really care about making Brooklyn the best it can be.”
One might think a business run by four brothers would come with inherent tensions—there's a long history of bitter family fallouts and brother-on-brother lawsuits in real estate—but Eli explained that they’ve been able to be efficient (and keep out of each other’s hair) by delegating responsibilities. It also helps that they love real estate.
“When you work with family, it’s important to have some commonality of interests,” Eli says. “We have similar interests, goals and work ethics, and, so far, it’s worked out.”
As one would expect of any Brooklyn office, Industrie’s targeting TAMI tenants for the Roulston House. As such, the office space has windows on all sides, up to 16-foot ceilings, roof decks, sizable floor plates (27k SF in the four-story portion, 41k SF in the two-story) and will include amenities like bike storage, showers, lounges and parking. They’re also aiming to secure LEED Silver and Wired Certified Platinum certifications.
Industrie’s also working with longtime partner and architect Morris Adjmi, the force behind the Wythe Hotel, the Samsung 837 Project and 138-142 North 10th St, Industrie’s boutique condo project in North Williamsburg (pictured). Eli says Morris and the brothers have a strong chemistry because they share a design vision.
For example, the brothers trust Morris to bring the building into the 21st century while retaining its character and charm, including its wooden trusses, ornate tin ceilings, corbeled cornices and segmentally arched windows (pictured) that have been in place since the building was constructed by Thomas Roulston in 1910.
The complex also has 70k SF on the ground floor, 20k SF of which Industrie plans to convert into a food and beverage space (pictured) that’ll serve the office tenants during the day and become a neighborhood hotspot after hours. With its 25-plus-foot ceilings, the space screamed beer hall, Eli says.
But the biggest selling point, the brothers insist, is the location. Gowanus isn’t only surrounded by established neighborhoods like Park Slope, Sunset Park and Downtown Brooklyn (pictured), but it’s accessible by every transit option imaginable. Even in a short radius around the building, Eli says, you can find a Whole Foods, pharmacies, banks and so on.
The brothers tell Bisnow they’re in discussions with food and beverage retailers and office tenants, but they expect to finalize deals closer to the start of construction.
The Hamways' time with the Roulston House hasn’t been a smooth one. After signing a 99-year ground lease on the property in April 2015, Industrie has vacated the building, including hundreds of artist tenants.
As one would expect, this didn’t go over well with everyone. Some even told publications they’d be moving upstate because they were priced out everywhere in NYC.
The brothers say a lot of these tenants had short-term leases, and the building had a number of violations, so Industrie believed it was “absolutely necessary” to vacate the building to bring it up to modern standards.
The firm specifically focuses on older properties like the Roulston House. 363 Prospect Place (pictured) in Prospect Heights, for example, was a billiards factory converted into 44 lofts with 24-foot ceilings and exposed brick.
Another, 1215 Fulton St in Bedford-Stuyvesant, is the former Slave Theater, an old civil rights activism HQ acquired for $18M and currently planned to become a mixed-use project. Like the Roulston House, it has encountered some hangups from the community. The brothers said they're not ready to speak about the project at this time.
Just this week, Industrie purchased 161-163 Court St, the home of 35-year-old independent bookstore BookCourt, for $13.6M. While it’s upsetting to see the store close, Joseph says, the deal was made because the store's owner, who also owned the building, was retiring. Joseph’s excited about the property’s retail potential, with its 50 feet of frontage and one of the largest floor plates on the block, which itself has become a hub for affluent Brooklynites.
Joseph’s confident Roulston will be the catalyst for future development in Gowanus, helping it reach its potential as “the creative nexus of Brooklyn.” The Hamways think it’ll eventually top Williamsburg as a creative hub, simply due to its central location.
The only thing it needs more of, Joseph says, is residential, and the brothers want to be the ones to build that, too.