Thursday, December 7, 2006

In Contract

I'm thrilled to let you know that I'm soon to be the owner of an apartment in Belltell.
I'd like to know if anyone else is currently in contract.
How has the experience been?
Nervous?
Excited?

91 comments:

Anonymous said...

great link
http://www.curbed.com/archives/2006/11/29/belltel_calling_but_is_it_good_news_or_bad.php

Anonymous said...

What unit did you buy? We're looking at 5F, 4M, and 4B (maybe 4 O). Did you offer asking price or negotiate?

guyfromdobro said...

I negotiated immediatly and I think you should do the same. I bought on the 4th floor. I'd rather not say which apartment.

guyfromdobro said...

Also, I don't think your going to find a better price per sqft. with those amenities anywhere

Anonymous said...

i checked out some apts and thought the prices were good too. great finishes. the fact that prices are negotiable worries me a bit. what if a similar apt on a higher floor gets low-balled later on. i'd feel pretty bad about that if i sign a contract now. thoughts?

Anonymous said...

I made an offer on a higher floor that was not accepted and ended up taking the apartment one floor down at the same price I had initially offered.

I think the prices at Belltel are negotiable now, but only up to a point, and not up to the point of the price difference between floors.

I think this is a great building. Good bones, good renovation, location getting better. I'll be very curious to see how they do on sales between now and when it opens in April/May.

Anonymous said...

I think this building offers incredible value. Especially with certain of the lines in particular. I'm very happy to have gotten in early, as I don't see how the value doesn't materially appreciate as they get closer to completion as well as in the aftermarket. Especially if they do land a classy retailer like Whole Foods or Trader Joes.
I would really like to know how construction is progressing. Don't think first closing will happen April/May, but really hope it doesnt' get pushed out past June.

Anonymous said...

anon 4:36,

did you negotiate on your purchase price as well?

from,
anon December 29, 2006 10:43 AM

guyfromdobro said...

Anon
Regarding your concern for low balling. They are a bit flexible on the price but they're not giving anything away. They're just motivated to sell. I don't think your going to see them being too flexible in April and May when there are alot more buyers hunting for apartments. Remember that its January. Not too many people shop for new homes in the winter. It's just a statistic. I'm sure the developers are concerned with the amount of condos that will be available in the neighborhood within the next 2 yrs. Although, if you were to ask me, I think they have nothing to worry about. This building has character and history that you won't find in new construction. It's built like a tank.

guyfromdobro said...

I also would love to know how construction is going. I wonder if they ca give us an update. I'm going to try to get that info and post it.

guyfromdobro said...

My experience with contrators tells me that they're not going to be exactly on schedule with the completion of the first phase. Although, I'd also love to move in sooner than later.

Anonymous said...

that would be great if you could post a construction update. Do you mind sharing what line you purchased? I took a P line because I really wanted the extra space and at $470/sq ft, seemed like a really great deal. Some of the other lines on higher floors look great too; just a little more than I wanted to spend.

guyfromdobro said...

As I mentioned earlier in this thread, I bought on th 4th floor, althought I'd rather not say my exact apartment. I want to still remain as anonymous as possible. If it make you feel better, I paid just about the same per sqft as you did, give or take a buck.

guyfromdobro said...

Buy the way, does anyone know what type of washer and dryer we get with the apt?

Anonymous said...

I looked at the P line. the 2 baths are sweet. Nice lay out

Anonymous said...

Washer / Dryer are Asko brand. Sales Agent also mentioned some appliances (at least the refrigerator) were being upgraded from what was indicated in the Offering Plan. But since this isn't documented anywhere, I guess I'll believe it when I see it.

guyfromdobro said...

I was told the Refrigerator would be Fisher & Packel. I saw one in 4J,one of the model apartments. Thanks for the info on the washer & dryer.

Anonymous said...

You who have purcahsed at belltel, can you give me a rough sense of how much you were able to negotiate off of the purchase price listed in the offering plan? Are we talking 3-5% or more?

guyfromdobro said...

About 3-4% in my case. I thought it was fair.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, that's very helpful. I'm very excited about this building!~ As other have said, its really a unique property and not comparable to the new construction going up on Flatbush (which I'm assuming will be more per sq. ft. anyway).

h said...

how does everyone feel about the school zone (287 as opposed to a better 261 for 110 livingston) as a potential negative to the belltel?

guyfromdobro said...

I'm not familiar with the school zones and I don't have children. With that being said, take the money you save per sqft. in belltel and put it in a high interest savings. I imagine you might be able to afford private school. Just a thought.

h said...

Guyfromdobro,

Are you going with first meridian for financing? what about others in contract?

Anonymous said...

I'm going down the path with First Meridian. You could shop the loan, but process seems simpler with First Meridian because they are familiar with the building; and so far their pricing and fees seem just as competitive as anywhere else.

Anonymous said...

Regarding schools, your answer may have to do with whether or not you have children. But, I don't think the zoned public school system will have much if any impact on resale value. From what I know of the public schools in Brooklyn (which isn't a lot), it doesn't seem that any of them are great, other than PS 29 in Cobble Hill which seems to be a big selling point in that area. If you have kids, there are some good private school options in the neighborhood that you would likely consider regardless of which PS zone you lived in, assuming you can afford the added cost. It certainly would be nice if Brooklyn public schools were better on the whole

guyfromdobro said...

I'm using First Meridian as well. It seems to be the path of least resistence. Not to mention the 6 month lock on the rate which I haven't done yet. I think I'm going to wait till the end of the month to lock the rate. I guess I'm just nervous that it will expire before closing. You know how construction can be. Has anyone locked their rate already?

Anonymous said...

How much are they charging you to lock the rate? It seems to be a good idea to me becuase what I am hearing is that rates are likely to start going back up over the next 6 months to a year. I'm also nervous about the construction schedule. Seems a bit risky to bet that they will be done by end of June. But then they told you that they were "on track", so who knows.

guyfromdobro said...

In the end, it costs you about $1000. They take $4000 to lock the rate and give you $3000 back at closing. I think it's worth the money. Although, you have me thinking. Maybe. I should hold off on the lock, based on the fact that they probably won't be ready when the say they will. I was just worried because there is a new person in the Fed and they are supposed to meet regarding interest rates on Jan. 31st. All other financial news leads me to believe in stability in the interest rate for at least the first quarter of this year.

Anonymous said...

I wish I knew about the completion date as well. R.C. Dolner is a reputable company, so I'm less worried than I would be with some of those smaller condo projects (e.g. Scarano and his ilk), but construction being construction, I'm still a bit sceptical of the April date.

Anonymous said...

Sales team was saying more like June; so I'm hoping we can just meet that. Don't think April is happening

guyfromdobro said...

Anything on or before June would be awesome.

Anonymous said...

for those in contract, did you put down a 5% deposit? i am thinking about asking to put a 3% deposit instead. doable?

h said...

Let's talk about taxes. I am having a hard time accepting 10k annual bill for property taxes. Why is it so high compared to other developments? Someone talk me through it please?? Factor in high taxes, is Belltel still a good deal??

Anonymous said...

They will go down substantially (more than half) once the J-51 kicks in. The Schedule A presents this info very confusingly, but the sales agent or your lawyer will help you sort it out.

Anonymous said...

I put down 5%. You can always ask for 3%, but I've never heard of one that low.

On taxes; does anyone know when the J51 abatement is supposed to begin?

h said...

J51 is for 15 yrs, of which 10 will be at that (more than half) level. Then, 5 yrs of phase out and back to the original approx 10k amount. Am I getting this right?

I am having a hard time with this. 110 Livingston pre-abatement is Belltel's post-abatement amount. And with the abatement, they are only in the 100's.

I want to grow into the apartment and not leave after a few years. But the taxes are scaring me. I am begining to think that a house could be better suited.

I guess one could justify the taxes at a lower price psf. But location is another factor too.

---sigh--

Anonymous said...

I'll confess, I don't have all the answers on taxes. But, I don't see why two buildings that are relatively similar (BellTel and 110) would have such a significant tax difference. At the end of the day, taxes are based on the city's assessed value less any abatements. Both buildings are landmarked and qualify for J51; so why the difference?

Also, on BellTel, looks like they also qualify for an IBIC abatement, which relates to the garage and retail units. However, this abatement has been spread out among all of the residential units as well (at least this is how units are being marketed on Sch A) which makes a big difference.

The J51 abatement as shown on Sch A makes basically no difference (like $300 per year). I didn't understand why this was so low.

Anonymous said...

The schedule A doesn't state the full effect of the J-51 because it assumes that it is not in effect for the entire first year.

Bottom line is that you need the sales agent (if you get a good one) or your lawyer to explain how this works.

I'm a buyer in this building who also looked closely at 110. At the end of the day, the taxes for each building are about the same (and in both cases the effect of the abatement is to cut the taxes in half). It's just hard to get there without having an expert explain what the numbers on the schedule A actually mean.

Anonymous said...

I can't comment on Belltel's taxes, but I can assure you that the J51 tax abatement at 110 Livingston cuts the tax by more than just half.

In my case, my monthly tax rate will go from about $500 to less than $100.

For reference, I paid about $800K for my unit.

Although certainly not the only reason, I'm inclined to agree with "H" that the lower carrying charges account somewhat for the higher prices at 110 Livingston.

guyfromdobro said...

Correct me if I'm wroung but J51 doesn't kick in until 40% of the building is sold. At least, that's what I understood.

Anonymous said...

Can you tell me where in the offering plan it says that?

Anonymous said...

Any thoughts on buying into an already high end apartment in an area that seems to have so many other buildings doing the same thing in the same area? I think this building is beautiful and the apartments are already amazing...can this area truly appreciate the value of the apartment in 5 years time?

guyfromdobro said...

I don't believe there are a lot of buildings doing the same thing. There are a lot of condos coming to the neighboorhood but keep something in mind. At this point, this is a pioneering stage for DoBro. It hasn't gotten a ton of press yet, there aren't any place to shop for groceries and the options for stores on Fulton Street are limited. This isn't going to be the case 5 yrs from now. These kinds of sweeping changes are what make a neighboorhood desirable. Read some of my links and you'll see what I mean. Also, Belltell has history, amenites such as gym, 24hr concierge, roof deck and most of these things aren't present in the other condos. Sooner then you think, there will be 3,000 new residents in an area that in 2004 was zoned for commercial use only. In 5yrs things are going to be a lot different.
Feel free to quote me.

guyfromdobro said...

in response to anon owner at 110.
If I'm correct, isn't your abatement for 10yrs, not 15yrs like Belltel. Also, no roof deck or gym. Correct me if I'm wrong. Are they really that similar? Baring the fact that they are both landmarks.

guyfromdobro said...

Another interesting article about 110 Livingston

http://www.curbed.com/archives/2006/07/17/curbedwire_vip_status_at_110_livingston_for_700_psf.php

Anonymous said...

Guyfromdobro:

The J51 abatement is the same for all buildings--15 years. There is no such thing as a 10 year J51.

110 Livingston also has a gym (on the second floor), a common rooftop deck, and of course, rooftop cabanas for individual purchase. Parking in the building as well, if you need a space.

All the other things you mentioned such as history (it's a gorgeous building by McKim, Meade & White!!), 24 hour doorman and concierge, etc. are all present and accounted for at 110.

guyfromdobro said...

Quite frankly, I obviously don't know everything about 110 Livingston. My intentions in putting together this blog were never to have it be 110 vs. Belltell. Their only similarities are that they are both beautiful landmarked buildings.
Let's move on.

Anonymous said...

Guy, the link to the article on 110 is old news.

Apparently there was a screw-up and the sales staff was quoting wrong tax figures to prospective buyers. It caused quite a big stink at Two Trees!

It's all been fixed, obviously. Taxes after the j51 kicks in is incredibly low (less than a hundred bucks for most units).

Here's a newer link:
http://www.curbed.com/archives/2006/08/23/110_livingston_tax_screwup.php

Anonymous said...

I just received an amendment to the offering plan where they say that floors 2 and 3 will be used for commerical space rather than apartments. The floor plans make it look like it will be big retail like a supermarket. Does anyone know if this means they are getting more serious in their talks with Whole Foods or TJs?

h said...

I've decided to back out of my purchase at Belltel. While I love the building and the apartment I looked at, the high taxes killed the deal. Sorry to use 110 as a comparison, but it is really the only development I can compare it to at the moment.

I looked at a similar apartment at 110 (3b 2ba), although 200 sq ft smaller, was 85k more expensive. I will forgo the extra walk-in closet spaces, half bath at belltel, for better location and better light at 110. So let's say they are the same. While I would be paying 85k more upfront for 110, I would have to pay 4k(5.5k vs 1.5k) x 15 yrs = 60k extra + 6k(12k vs 6k) every year going forward. The breakeven is 19yrs. Every year after that, 110 will seem like a better deal.

Granted, most people won't stay at the same place for that long, but for me, my intention for a 3b2ba is for the long term.

Regarding supermarkets and other amenties. Sure, they will raise the prices at belltel. But, they will also benefit any other development in the area, including 110.

I'm in no hurry to buy, so I'll sit out for now. Good luck everyone.

Anonymous said...

The real estate taxes ultimately are a function of the City assessment process. Prior to a permanent certificate of occupancy, the assessment is of the building and the taxes are shared by the unit owners in proportion to the % interest. But, thereafter, each individual unit is assessed. Can anyone tell me why a unit at 110 Livingston would be assessed at a fraction of what one is at BellTel? Honestly, I can't see how taxes will be meaningfully different between two similar properties that are basically next to each other.

Anonymous said...

I had my lawyer look at the offering plans for both of 110 and belltel and the taxes are not that different. The confusion is from the way the info is presented in the schedule A. Not even the sales agents seem to understand this completely.

If you are serious, take the offering plan to your lawyer and have him/her explain.

I ended up buying at Beltell to get more space for $. Tax difference should not be a factor in anyone's decision.

Anonymous said...

How can the tax difference not be a factor when it's a difference of thousands a year?

Anonymous said...

The point is it is not going to be thousands of dollars. Two similar buildings will not be assessed at vastly different amounts (despite what Sch A in an offering plan says). Those documents are marketing materials have information for the first year only and assume different firs occupancy dates vis a vis when the J51 kicks in. By all means, have your attorney review both plans, but there won't be a large difference in tax

guyfromdobro said...

If at all possible, could everyone please use some sort of tag name so that I could respond efficiently. Otherwise, I don't know you is saying what.

Re:I had my lawyer look ...

Thank you for clarifing what I had believed from the begining.

guyfromdobro said...

H
Thanks for wishing us luck but I'm not sure we need it. I'm sure you'll find what your looking for one day.

Anonymous said...

Guyfromdobro: what do you think of the amendment we just got. The conversion of floors 2 and 3 to retail seems to suggest they are looking for a big supermarket type tennant. As long as it's not a Walmart (which would be a stupid decision given the demographics they are aiming for w/ the residential), I suppose I'm ok with it. Will mean a lot more traffic around the building though.

guyfromdobro said...

I don't think they want a Walmart as far as I know. They were going for more of a Whole Foods/Trader Joes type store. Walmart would do nothing for the building. Did you hear something about that? Please tell me you came up with it on your own. I thought the idea of the rezoning and diversifing of Fulton was to bring all types of people to the area. I would fight to keep Walmart out.

M said...

Anyone been able to get a sales update including number of apartments under contract from someone at BellTel?

guyfromdobro said...

M
That's a good idea. I'm going to try to get that info a.s.a.p.

earch said...

Hi,
We heard last night that approximately 12% are in contract.

M said...

Would like to see that number higher. Not sure why sales seem to be going so slowly.

earch said...

I thought I had heard that the J-51 kicks in with 15% sold.

guyfromdobro said...

M
I think part of the reason sales are not moving as fast as we would like is because they don't seem to be putting much money into advertising. They have sold 12% without much effort. Consider what time of year it is. That also affects the sales.

guyfromdobro said...

earch
If you are right I'd be thrilled. Although, I don't remember hearing that. It warrants some looking into.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget the condo plan requires 20% sold to go effective. I don't remember the J-51 being tied to selling any particular number of apartments.

Anonymous said...

I was told by sales associates and a rep for First Meridian that if a purchaser used First Meridian for the mortgage that there would be a financing contingency in the contract (i.e. if the mortgage falls through, that the purchaser would not be obligated to go through with the sale).

But I just got an offering plan for a unit and the plan itself specifically states that there will be no financing contingency. Does anyone in contract know the facts of the matter?

guyfromdobro said...

I guess that the reason First Meridian says that is because you've already been pre-approved for the mortgage.Why would the mortgage fall through?

Anonymous said...

Preapproval and actual approval are, of course, different things and the rates and terms could be worse when it comes time for actual approval. No one wants to be preapproved, sign a contract, then get caught with their pants down when the bank decides you're not a good risk.

Not a common contingency, of course, but not a circumstance you want to be caught in.

I did get the straight dope from a First Meridian officer - the financing contingency is not in the contract, but basically the seller will give it to you in negotiation if you ask for it (and if you're using First Meridian, of course). So as long as you're proactive, you should be OK.

Anonymous said...

anon
What you're saying is I have to talk to the First Meridian guy to insure the financal contingency?

Anonymous said...

No, though talking to the guy from First Meridian can be helpful, the only way to ensure that you get a financing contingency is to have your lawyer negotiate it into the contract once you have the contract in hand to review/sign.

I don't know about you, but my "preapproval" was basically a credit check and a couple of questions about my income. When it comes time for approval, they're going to be a lot more interested in the details... and for first time buyers in particular, the mortgage is no sure thing (at least on terms they can actually afford).

Anonymous said...

Not yet 'in contract' but we have the contract in hand and are reviewing it now. Assuming all goes well, we'll see you on the 4th floor!

guyfromdobro said...

Hopefully all does go well. Tell me something. How did you find out about Belltel? Also, Did you visit this blog prior to going to an open house? I'm just curious.

Anonymous said...

It was funny - I heard about Belltel in a 'roundabout' way, and it was somewhat of a whirlwind. I had looked at a lot of other properties, but since I was looking for "2 bedrooms" a lot of (non-legal) 2 bedroom apartments were slipping through my searches.

We were about to make an offer on a place - which I will not name - when my landlord asked if we'd seen Belltel. (He owns a realty in Park Slope, but we'd avoided using him because we didn't want to create an unpleasant situation if we went with something else). Still with the Plan for the other condo in our hands, we took a trip over there and the rest was history -- we made an offer the next day.

We found your blog after we saw the condos, obviously, but it's actually been a great resource, especially in that short 24 hours between our site visit and making our offer, where we devoured all the news we could about the place.

It's definitely hopping now - they have some great incentives in place and I know there are several backups for our unit... and ours hasn't even been listed yet.

One thing, though - it sure doesn't look like they'll be ready to close, with Cert. of Occupancy lined up, for April 1. It's still pretty gutted in there. Frankly, that's fine with us - an extra month means a little more time to get our closing money together.

guyfromdobro said...

Anon
I have to say that my story is very much like yours. My wife and I had been going to open houses for about 6 mos. We were in no rush to find an apartment. I was driving along Flatbush Avenue when I saw the billboard for Belltel(which I think is no longer there). I scheduled an appt for the open house and within 24 hrs had put money down on an apartment. This was only about 4 wks after the first open house that the had. Everything just came together.

I'm glad that my blog gave you some of the resources you needed in making your decision. When doing my own research, I realized that the official Belltel website didn't offer very much info. I wanted to centralize data I found and it grew from there. I will constantly update the blog so that it remains relevant and place you come back to even after you move in.
RE: Certificate of Occupancy
All they need is a TCO which is issued for a phase of construction, not he entire job. So, closing should be close to on schedule. Although, I agree that a couple more months of saving wouldn't hurt.

guyfromdobro said...

Also, could people please come up with a code name of sorts so that I know to whom I'm responding to. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

[EJ]: We're now officially in contract (that is, the sponsor has countersigned). Very excited!

My cobroker is very strongly under the impression that closings won't start until June. I don't know... I'll be at BellTel on Thursday; if the opportunity comes up, I'll try and get an update out of the Prudential people on what they're expecting on timing.

guyfromdobro said...

Congrats EJ
I thought June as well. Any info you can get from Prudential would be greatly appreciated. Welcome to the few,the proud, the future residents at Belltel.
Corny, I know. Fresh out of wit I guess.

Anonymous said...

(FC)Does anyone understand the deal is with the heat/ac? I have my doubts as to the ability of the 2 installed units to cool/heat the far areas and closed (Home office, baths)areas. The sales lady said seperate vents are installed in theses areas - which I saw - that provide heat/ac off the building's central system. However, the offering plan merely states that heat/ac units are provided - does not even specify how many or where - and that closed areas will receive ventilation in accordance with NYC code. Can anyone shed light on this? Short of understanding this, we are ready to sign,

M said...

As to the location of the heat/ac units, there is one in each room that has a window, under one of the windows. Locationwise, you can tell from the floorplan where they are located. The floorplan has a light outline under the window which it is located.

Sheik A Tariq said...

Hellol, Great Inter Web Sites

Does anyone know how much the Pent-Houses are going for? I wanted to pay cash but am not sure if this is the right thng to do in America? Can one buy more than one unit in the buliding? I wanted to buy two Pent Houses and knock down the walls to make a reasonable sized apartment for my lady friend in USA.

I want to buy these apartments from Abroad can anyone tell me if they have seen them, if you like I will buy them.

Thank you

Sheikh Al Tariq (from Yemen)

Anonymous said...

Hello!
I love this building and have been looking at it since December. I have visited the sales office 3 times and have looked at about 15 different apartments on different floors from 7 to 20. The finishes are great. The spaces are incomparable for the price.
How are you all feeling about the neighborhood? It seems that there is plenty planned to be built, but immediately W, N, and E of BellTell, there are court buildings, banks, and university buildings. The area will be deserted after 6:00pm. What do you think is going to happen to the area that will make it feel more neighborhood-y or will it feel like living in Wall Street?
On another note, I spoke to a sales person about a week ago. It seems that the $1Million and $1Million plus apartments seems to not be moving as quickly as the $850K and less.
They still did not have an update as to who was going to be leasing the commercial spaces.
Does anybody know what is happening with the construction that is planned on the east side of the building where the church is? Will this put into jeopardy all the lot line windows on that side up to the 9th Floor?
(Sheik) Yes, you can buy multiple apartments and combine them as someone is already in contract to do that.

Not Ready to Make the Jump

guyfromdobro said...

Not Ready to Make the Jump

“How are you all feeling about the neighborhood?”
It’s in its infancy. Is it dead after 6pm? Sure, but not for long. There are 1,500 to 2,000 new residents poised to enter the neighborhood within the next year to 2 yrs. You have to see the potential of the number of people changing an area. These people are going to need services and food. Bear in mind that the people moving here are of more than modest means. This will shift the socioeconomics of the vicinity.
Be sure to read the comments throughout the blog. Many of your concerns have come up from time to time. Also, be sure to check the links to the right of the blog for city planning information.

“They still did not have an update as to who was going to be leasing the commercial spaces.”
They are courting a grocery. That’s all I know. We are praying for Trader Joes.

“Does anybody know what is happening with the construction that is planned on the east side of the building where the church is? Will this put into jeopardy all the lot line windows on that side up to the 9th Floor?”
Pease reference the following: The comments under the thread entitled 3 House deal on Duffield. Asking $33 Million. There are 9 comments and they discuss the same concern that you have.
Disclaimer: I'm in no way,shape or form, associated with the owner or marketing of this building. I just can't wait to move in.

I my opinion, jump.

Engine Joe said...

Our host covered it pretty well, but allow me to add a few additional thoughts:

"How are you all feeling about the neighborhood? It seems that there is plenty planned to be built, but immediately W, N, and E of BellTell, there are court buildings, banks, and university buildings. The area will be deserted after 6:00pm."

It currently is deserted after 6:00pm, but it won't be for long. 110 Livingston has just added a few hundred middle-to-upper income residents. Oro is adding several hundred luxury condos. There are going to be over 1000 lux. condo units to be built at Albee Square. This area is going to have many residents - and more specifically, residents with money. The businesses (restaurants, groceries, boutiques, etc) already see this and are looking at spaces. There was a piece in the NYTimes about this change in Downtown Brooklyn about a week ago. It's linked on the front page of the blog.

The reason you're seeing such a great price at BellTel is for the very reasons you're concerned - in my opinion, it is people with foresight for what the neighborhood is going to become under the current city rezoning and development project that can take advantage of the current prices.

"Does anybody know what is happening with the construction that is planned on the east side of the building where the church is? Will this put into jeopardy all the lot line windows on that side up to the 9th Floor?"

I have my own personal concerns about that, but am fairly comfortable now that it is unlikely that this block will be built upon. First, the church, the rectory, and the church's side yard will not be going anywhere. The houses to the north are landmarked. So that just leaves the four buildings on Willoughby to be (potentially) razed and built upon. The lots are rather shallow, so a very tall building is unlikely. Most importantly, though - the BellTel building is landmarked; as a result, I am confident that it would be a very difficult and unlikely prospect that a developer could build to the lot line on the property next door - because by doing so, they'd be interfering with the landmarked facade of the BellTel building. Significant expense and legal challenges make the relatively small lots available undesirable to build on.

Could it happen? Sure. But all those factors decrease the odds. We rolled the dice and are in contract on an eastern-facing unit. We think we'll be alright.

Anonymous said...

Guyfromdobro and Engine Joe,

Thank you for your thoughts. I just discovered your blog yesterday and appreciate all the sharing, research, and information. Good luck to both of you in your new home.

Maybe making the jump

Engine Joe said...

"Maybe making The Jump"

Only too glad to help. Good luck in your decision-making.

One additional tidbit I just discovered - the church owns the Willoughby properties as well - not just the church itself and the rectory next door, but the four fronts on Willoughby. So the entire block, aside from BellTel is landmarked homes or church-owned land.

Could the church sell the land? Sure, but they've held onto it for many decades (PropertyShark's records only go back to the 1960s on these buildings, but nonetheless). It would be a surprising about-face for them to sell out now when they could have done it back in the 80s when Ratner was building MetroTech.

Anonymous said...

Hello,

Well, I made the jump and made an offer on something. I have been looking at this building for a long time, since September I think, and they have done a lot of work here. I have seen over 40 apartments in Park Slope, Williamsburg, Dumbo, and Do Bro and I kept going back to Belltel. The climate has definitely changed in the sales office as the area has garnered a lot of attention. The momentum is picking up and there is serious talk about an amendment (meaning raising prices). So if you are already in, you may have made a profit already. I am pretty excited!

Previous known as "Not Ready to Make the Jump"

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to you previously known as "Not Ready to Make the Jump."

What made you do it? I am in a similar boat. I have looked at tons of places in Park Slope, the Heights, Fort Green/Clinton Hill... even checked out a couple of place in Long Island City. I too keep coming back to Belltel and DoBro. Everything seems to point me in that direction: the location works for me, the price point is still reasonable, the neighborhood is set to take off.

Any advice or insight that would help me take the plunge as well?

btw, who are you using to finance (speaking of which, are you getting nervous with the fluctuating lending market)?

Anonymous said...

Hello, Anonymous June 13th,

My reservations from the start have been the neighborhood as I do not fit the current demographic and was wondering how I would interact with the surroundings. Since September, there has been so much more information and public announcements about how the neighborhood will change, that those reservations are diminished.

And the thing that kept bringing me back to Belltel was the space and the quality. I looked at the brand new construction and they all felt like white boxes - some white boxes with views and amenities, but very little character. It didn't matter if the building was in Williamsburg, Park Slope, Brooklyn Heights, Carroll Gardens, etc., being inside each of these buildings felt the same. The fact that Belltel is a renovated older building all of a sudden makes it very special and very different.

The current rising mortgage rates does have me concerned as it now means a different scale of out of pocket payments. I am working on the financing right now. I am working with someone at First Meridian out of the Park Slope office and we are still crunching the numbers so that I am not eating cat food, popcorn, and ramen noodles in the near future. If this is your first purchase, have your broker educate you on your options i.e. a principle plus interest mortgage, an interest only, an ARM, etc. There are a lot of options and they directly effect your downpayment and your monthly payment. If this is a stretch for you, you need to do the math. Calculate how much you will spend per month. Keep in mind that you are not stuck with the terms of the financing forever and can do a refinance when conditions are more favorable.

Do consider that the per square foot price is still a bargain. I am looking forward to the large spaces that Belltel has to offer that I fear I will not be able to touch in a couple of years if I did not act now. Also keep in mind that Belltel has not raised prices since they opened. All of the other buildings have and I suspect that Belltel will do the same soon.

Good luck with your decision. Let us know what you decide to do.

Made the Jump

Anonymous said...

Anonymous June 13th

Just another little tidbit. On one of my visits to Belltel, I brought along a friend who works for Toll Brothers (North 8th and Northside Piers in Williamsburg). He thought that Belltel was a really good product. Great space and price per square foot. His one reservation was the neighborhood, but this was back in the fall so a lot of decisions about the neighborhood had not yet been announced.

Made the Jump

Anonymous said...

Hello again Made the Jump (MTJ?)

This is Anonymous June (AJ?). I am closer to jumping. I actually put $100 down to take the unit I am interested in off the market. Now I want to see what sort of financing I can get before I really commit and throw down the 5%.

Thanks for your input. It was comforting to read your perspective.