Will Brooklyn's Fourth Avenue Crash and Burn?

Despite the chest thumping about how Fourth Avenue, the broad boulevard once lined exclusively by auto-related businesses and warehouses, is Brooklyn's new Park Avenue, is it in the process of hitting the ground at 700 MPH and bursting into flames? Will the Novo Park Slope have some emptiness? Will the Hotel Le Bleu go upscale hot sheets? Will the new Robert Scaranos and Hot Karls turn into hard luck rentals? Well, Gabby Warshawer, takes a look at the issue in the new Real Deal and concludes that things may get a little bit dicey before Park Avenue happens. First the good news:

The addition of new luxury condos, funky restaurants, coffee shops and pubs that have popped up on the six-lane thoroughfare has received intense attention from both Brooklyn apartment hunters and real estate observers.

And, then, the bad:

Because of the credit crunch, a number of buildings that were initially planned as condos will now come to market as rentals. The frenzied pace of construction of new residential projects should also slow, due to a dearth of easily developable lots. In fact, development sites on the strip that are actually selling are fetching far less now than they were just a few years ago.

Let's start with Dominic Tonacchio, who is behind both Hotel Le Bleu and other buildings going up. He's the one that came up with this Park Avenue thing:"It's still going to be a better Fourth Avenue than it was. I still think it's going to be the next Park Avenue." However, even he is changing his strategy to cope with the new financial situation. While Tonacchio was originally intending a 49-unit condo development at Warren Street and Fourth Avenue, he's decided to go rental with the project, which is nearing completion. He said the units, which will start renting at around $1,800 for a one-bedroom, would "just take too long to sell."And there are others too who aren't bearish, but couldn't be called "bullish" either:

:Jean Miele, who's building a 12-story project between Union and President streets, said that "anything can happen" between now and when his building nears completion in about a year and a half. Yet like Tonacchio, he's remaining optimistic about the avenue's future as a residential enclave. "We're going to have an interesting-looking canyon of buildings here," he said.

We'll throw in one more for good measure:

Further north on the avenue, developer Shloimy Reichman, who's building a 95-unit, 12-story building at 150 Fourth Avenue with partner Hillel Fischman, said that while they secured an acquisition loan for the condo, the two haven't yet nailed down a condo construction loan. "Our designs and finishes work as a condo, and if need be, they'll work as a rental, too," said Reichman, adding that the unit mix will lean heavily toward one-bedrooms.

Moral of the story: building a new Park Avenue straddling Park Slope and Gowanus takes time.
· Fourth Avenue on Slippery Slope [Real Deal]
· Fourth Avenue Coverage [Curbed]
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