With a long history of investment in the Downtown Brooklyn market, Treeline anticipated the potential expansion opportunities well before the current market activity. 180 Livingston Street, a vacant Macy’s warehouse owned by Federated Department Stores, was at the leading edge of this market.
The property was acquired after a prior contract didn’t work out. By stepping in, Treeline structured a creative transaction with the seller, negotiating a ground lease with an option to purchase. 180 Livingston was then converted into a Class A office building. Our team conducted wholesale renovations including new physical systems, lobbies and common areas.
The project was completed within 18 months of closing, including the lease. It was financed with a permanent loan that enabled investment recovery, while maintaining a regular cash flow return.
Today 180 Livingston Street’s prestigious tenant roster includes the NYC Transit Authority (NYCTA), Brooklyn Defenders Services and the New York Foundling Service.
In partnership with one of the building’s tenants, the Brooklyn Tabernacle Church, the property was converted into a commercial condominium. The first two floors were divided and outfitted to accommodate much needed meeting space for the Church. Later, the condominium aspect was invaluable in renewing the NYCTA tenancy based on tax benefits they couldn’t obtain at any similar property.
Gaining control of a local real estate market is an enviable position. Purchasing Garden City Plaza gave Treeline exactly that stature in the Garden City market. The property was one of the few large, multi-building office complexes in the trading area.
It was an opportunity only Treeline was willing to take. Garden City Plaza was listed as part of a “Superfund” site because of ground water issues within the area. As a result, many interested parties declined the opportunity due to potential liability issues.
Our negotiating team made sure to insulate Treeline from any environmental issues in the Prospective Purchaser Agreement with the US Environmental Protection Agency. This paved the way for an acquisition at a highly favorable price.
Treeline then resolved the former owner’s inability to lease the property to its full potential. A substantial capital program was initiated that raised occupancy from 70% to more than 95% within 18 months from acquisition.
Several years later, Treeline became aware that Nassau County was selling land adjacent to Garden City Plaza. In acquiring the land the team leveraged our position as adjacent owner, giving control over major roadway access points from the county land.
Treeline’s purchase of the adjacent land continues to enhance the value of Garden City Plaza even after several years. Present plans include completing a restaurant pad site lease on the adjacent parcel and construction of an additional office building.
Treeline is always actively looking for the next investment opportunity. This commitment uncovered an off-market property across the street from the recently-completed 180 Livingston project. 177 Livingston Street was an independent building attached to Macy’s Fulton Mall location; an unused property owned by the Federated Department Store. Treeline envisioned separating the building from Macy’s and then repositioning it within the emerging office market.
Having been dormant for a while, the opportunity came with its share of challenges. The main issue was the property had no physical systems that enabled it to be an independent building. This meant substantial up front expenses, so Treeline negotiated a ground lease with the seller that included an option to buy.
During the lease, the Treeline team conducted complete renovations that transformed the property into a stand-alone building. This included new HVAC and elevators, along with the caveat that our redesign would preserve the historic character of the building.
Within 24 months of the agreement, Treeline fully tenanted the building. This included major leases with such prominent tenants as Catholic Charities/Heartshare, the NYC Transit and the State of New York/Empire State College.
The 177 Livingston building was creatively financed so that all investor capital has been returned and continues to provide a steady cash flow.
Seeing things differently often means envisioning what others can’t. Treeline acquired 175 Remsen as an REO [property that goes back to the mortgage company after an unsuccessful foreclosure auction]. At the time, there was little interest from other parties because the property was entirely vacant and in need of significant capital improvement.
The risk was worth the reward as Treeline saw an ideal location for a niche property. Once renovated, our team envisioned an office building that could cater to nearby city and state agencies, along with other governmental agencies serving the local population and court system.
Capitalizing on superior local market knowledge, the property was acquired at a low price and a significant discount to replacement cost.
Our team then completely renovated 175 Remsen and began a targeted program that allowed the property to be fully leased within 18 months of acquisition. Driving this success was the ability to offer competitive rental terms landlords couldn’t match. Acquiring 175 Remsen at such a low price provided unparalleled financial flexibility.
After years of ownership, many original tenants remain at 175 Remsen because of the building’s unique abilities to serve their particular needs.