Inside First New Office Project in Downtown Brooklyn Since MetroTech
Amid Downtown Brooklyn’s residential boom, sometimes we forget there’s an office boom in the works, too. The Pioneer Building, at 41 Flatbush Ave, will be the first addition to the neighborhood’s office inventory since the ‘80s when it opens. We recently got a look around.
Quinlan and Building and Land Technology picked up the 260k SF building at 41 Flatbush Ave in March, and their plan is to turn it into the first modern “brick-and-beam” office conversion in Downtown Brooklyn. It’s on track to open Q3 2016, Quinlan's Tim Quinlan tells us.
He says when the lobby was being built out, crews discovered a vault once used by bank tenants in the building. Tim says the developers are looking to refurbish it and are considering putting the front desk right in front of it to show it off.
We snapped Tim, left, with Cushman & Wakefield’s Joseph Cirone of the building’s leasing team, in front of a much bigger bank vault at the front of the lobby. The building isn’t actually one building, it’s three. Storage entrepreneur Samuel Firuski had each of its three sections built separately over about a decade as demand for records storage increased. The first section went up in 1902, and became the home of the Pioneer Warehouse Co—so called because Firuski thought of himself as a trailblazer running a storage firm for financial documents outside of the more expensive confines of Manhattan.
This is what Tim says may be an original painted-on ad for the Pioneer Warehouse Co, on a wall that was once exterior but now faces the stairwell. Still think Downtown Brooklyn’s too far off the beaten path? Quinlan shared with us an ad that ran in The New York Tribune for Firuski’s storage facility dating to 1920 that boasts it was just a seven-minute subway trip from Wall Street. (We timed the ride over from our office at 110 Wall St; it clocked in at eight minutes. Not far from the mark.) Tim says transportation is the main thing that’ll set the building apart from other office conversions in the city. He points out that there are 13 subway lines within walking distance, plus the Long Island Railroad.
Joseph says great access to transit is part of what helps justify asking rents of $55/SF. And amenities like 25k SF of retail at the base and a rooftop deck that’ll have views of the nearby frenzy of new development factor into that number, too, Joseph says.
Tenants will also be able to get incentives through the Relocation and Employment Assistance Program, set up to lure office tenants to emerging markets in the city.
When you factor in REAP benefits, new tenants can knock $3k per employee per year off their tax bill. It’s like getting a sizable rent discount—and one that’s not available in established office markets like Midtown South or the Financial District.