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Former Whale Oil Building To Be Home Of Indoor Soccer Court


Urban Soccer has just signed for 63k SF at Madison Realty Capital’s 14 53rd St (pictured) in Sunset Park.

After being purchased by Madison Realty last year for $82.25M, the building—often called the Brooklyn Whale Building but now called Whale Square—was originally listed as having 400k SF, but was relisted at 500k SF after a re-measurement and tenant buyouts. Urban Soccer was repped by Jordan Gosin of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, while Madison was repped by NGKF’s David Falk.

Madison, led by CEO Josh Zegen (below), has been repositioning the space to attract TAMI and creative tenants, with asking rents hovering around $29/SF.


Josh told Bisnow that while Urban Soccer received a slight decrease on this price per SF, it wasn't far from that original price, sitting in the "upper $20s."

The reason for the discount, Josh said, was because Madison believed the deal would "activate" the building, building momentum for future leases and creating a “destination” that could keep Sunset Park's nightlife alive, even on weekends.

"Most tenants in the area aren't here at nights or on weekends, but we feel entertainment tenants could attract other types of tenants, like food," he tells Bisnow. "And with the building's great water views and its proximity to the R train and water taxis, we believe we can create a lot of life by focusing on and attracting creative and TAMI tenants."

In addition, Josh said, many already live and work in Sunset Park—especially with NYU taking over the Lutheran Hospital—and providing them a soccer facility as an amenity is no different than providing them a gym.

Although Sunset Park is one of the cheapest office submarkets, with improved accessibility, Josh admits Sunset Park will always be traded at a discount in comparison to a booming neighborhood like Downtown Brooklyn. But those priced out of those areas can find themselves well-equipped in Sunset, he insists.


Mainly operating soccer leagues in Europe, Urban Soccer will have its second US location with the third-floor space, with the first in LA. However, it’ll be the company’s first indoor facility in the US.

Josh says that the column-free floor plate and amazing views were able to hit Urban Soccer's exact needs, when other developments and plans–including a "bubble on top of a skyscraper"—didn't. Although the floor plates differ by floor, Josh adds, almost all of them have 17-foot ceilings and a lot of windows and natural light.

"That's one of the things we look for whenever we try to buy a building," he says. 

The developer also holds 341-353 39th St, two adjacent warehouses properties near Industry City.