Heritage Equity to Build First Brooklyn Spec Office Building in 40 Years

It hasn’t happened in four decades in Brooklyn, N.Y., but it will now.
David Falk, NGKF

David Falk, NGKF

It hasn’t happened in four decades in Brooklyn, N.Y., but it will now. Heritage Equity Partners has announced plans to develop The Williamsburg Generator, the first speculative office building to sprout up in the city since the 1970s. The project will add 400,000 square feet of Class A office space to the North Williamsburg neighborhood.

“Right now the whole Williamsburg area–and you can include a few other areas like the Brooklyn Waterfront–there really is very little office product there,” David Falk, president, New York Tri-State Region, with commercial real estate services firm Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, told Commercial Property Executive. “So what’s happened is you walk in Williamsburg and you see the transformation of really exciting residential that’s opened up over the last five to seven years; you walk around and you see restaurants, you see retail, you see a lot of progressive looking residential buildings.” But what you don’t see, he added, is new office space.

Williamsburg Generator - 3The Williamsburg Generator will occupy a full square-block on land purchased by Heritage and the Rabsky Group in 2012. Designed by the architectural firms Gensler and HWKN, the building will feature ground level retail and restaurant space and a flexible layout of office square footage envisioned to accommodate users ranging from small new companies to larger occupants. The tenant focus: TAMI, or the technology/media/advertising and information sector.

Heritage has tapped NGKF to spearhead the leasing of the office space, with an eye toward reeling in users in the technology and creative industries. Brooklyn has fast become a highly-desirable multi-family market–a trendy alternative to Manhattan and its sky-high apartment rents–so, as Falk noted, an increasing number of residents in the area work at technology and media companies in Manhattan, and these companies are taking note of where the talent resides.

“So a lot of companies have said, I’d like to see if there’s anything available there, and there hasn’t been anything. Nothing,” Falk said. “When I say nothing, in Williamsburg, you’d had to have taken a warehouse and convert it–that would have been an office building.”

Another factor that NGKF expects will work in The Williamsburg Generator’s favor with the TAMI crowd is its large floor plates of approximately 45,000 square feet. The tech/media crowd, Falk asserted, wants to work in a horizontal environment. “In Manhattan, the more popular buildings that have floor plates of 40,000 to 50,000 square feet are pretty much all leased up, so if someone wants a big floor plate, they start scratching their head,” he said. “[The Williamsburg Generator] is going to have high ceilings, big floor plates and a significant amount of glass, and those are the components that these companies have been looking for. Our thought process building it is one large tenant, some medium-size tenants and some small tenants, which will basically meet the demand of all the various-size tenants that may be considering opening up in Williamsburg.”