NEW YORK CITY-Among the hardest hit commercial property sectorsin the 2008 downturn, development sites have staged a comeback thisyear. Recent reports have noted a substantial pickup inyear-to-date volume for parcel sales citywide, while the WallStreet Journal said in September that no fewer than sevendevelopers were vying for the right to build apartment towers ontwo of the six sites at Hunter’s Point South; the field has sincebeen winnowed to three finalists. And as a further case in point,there’s the interest surrounding the former Cascade Linen Supplycomplex at 835 Myrtle Ave. in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesantneighborhood, which has just come to market.

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“This site has been circled by the local development communityfor a number of years,” Kenneth L. Zakin, senior managing directorat Newmark Knight Frank, tells GlobeSt.com. That interest has beenpiqued lately as Cascade Linen, in business for more than acentury, discontinued its business operations at the site earlierthis year.

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“They were really the premier commercial laundry,” says Zakin,who is marketing the property with Newmark associate directorsJustin DiMare and Randall Liberman. “They handled all of thehotels—you used to see their white trucks all over the city.”

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Other former Cascade properties locally have already sold andbeen turned into multifamily developments, Zakin points out. Sincethe Myrtle Avenue site, a nine-building complex that served asCascade’s headquarters and operating plant, came to market, “we’vehad very strong interest from the more regional and nationaldevelopers, who are looking at opportunities all over the city,” hesays.

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Zakin says these bigger players are “very open to looking atBedford-Stuyvesant.” That’s especially so, he adds, since GoldmanSachs backed a bond issue this past July to finance the 105-unitBradford, aBed-Stuy project that stands as the city’s first affordableresidential project to be financed via the federal New Market TaxCredits program.

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“That has opened up a lot of eyes as to what can be done interms of bringing the community together, getting the developmentand financial sides together with community leaders,” says Zakin.He adds that the Cascade complex is “a much bigger site thanBradford.”

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The assemblage can support as-of-right residential developmentof up to 251,505 square feet and up to 332,092 square feet for amixed-use project, including community facility use. The site’sexisting buildings total 137,386 square feet on a94,000-square-foot-lot.

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“It’s truly an infill site, and what’s interesting is that it’snot just one big building,” Zakin says. “There are some uniquefeatures, and there can be some very creative things that can bedone by the right developers, who could develop this as multiplebuildings with different characters.” Affordable and market-ratecomponents could be part of the overall project, he adds.

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While Newmark isn’t pricing the site and isn’t pushing for bidsuntil January, Zakin says he’s optimistic that it could fetch about$75 per buildable square foot for residential, which wouldtranslate into a selling price of just under $19 million. “Thisisn’t a distressed sale; there’s no urgency to it,” he says. “Werepresent the family that owns Cascade and we want to find theright buyer at a fair price.”

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The Cascade assemblage isn’t the only New York City developmentsite being marketed by Newmark—or by other firms, for that matter.That wasn’t the case last year, but today, Zakin says, “There’s apipeline of deals that has developed because of the time it takesto get these sites to the point where you can actually developthem. This is a good time to buy, because the market has been downand pricing is better but not anywhere near the level that itwas.”

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Paul Bubny

Paul Bubny is managing editor of Real Estate Forum and GlobeSt.com. He has been reporting on business since 1988 and on commercial real estate since 2007. He is based at ALM Real Estate Media Group's offices in New York City.