Eliot Spitzer’s Rental Tower Trio Making A Splash On Brooklyn Waterfront
Residents are settling into Eliot Spitzer’s new rental complex on the waterfront in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
This is the former New York governor’s first ground-up project with Spitzer Enterprises, the real estate development firm founded by his late father. The three-tower development, named 420 Kent for its addresses at 416 and 420 Kent Ave., has 857 apartments, along with 20,000 square feet of retail space, and has been move-in ready since January, with finishing touches still being added to its amenities.
It was designed by the New York-based ODA Architecture, which has projects in the United States, Canada and Europe, including several others in Brooklyn, such as Pier 6 at Brooklyn Bridge Park.
The firm is known for its avant-garde approach, and 420 Kent is no exception, with a multidimensional, cubist aesthetic wrapped in glass.
“We wanted to build something that wasn’t just a rectangle,” Spitzer said of the design in an interview with me. “Having a certain pride in contributing to the skyline is part of the joy of doing this.”
He recalled a time when the term “skyline” only referred to Manhattan. Today, however, the Brooklyn waterfront is a hotbed of activity, with new developments coming up in droves.
“It speaks to the growth and dynamism of New York, that a whole litany of new neighborhoods have gone from ignored to being desirable, cool, chic and perhaps then overly expensive,” Spitzer said of the outer-borough.
When asked why he chose to build in Williamsburg, rather than its equally popular neighbors like DUMBO and Brooklyn Heights, his answer was simple: “Williamsburg is where my three daughters want to go on weekends. They’re my focus group,” Spitzer said.
Sources involved with the project added that no expense was spared in its development, from the building materials to the slew of amenities available to residents. These include fitness centers, outdoor pools, fire pits and grills.
ODA founder Eran Chen said it was a relief not to stress over nickels and dimes when executing his vision. “Eliot Spitzer and his development team were committed to building a high quality product by supporting good design, quality materials and construction while being very conscious of the environmental impact,” he said. “It is such a pleasure to collaborate with a developer who insists on quality even at the expense of the bottom line.”
Architects have been pushing boundaries in New York City lately, with condo projects like Herzog and de Meuron’s 56 Leonard in Tribeca and Zaha Hadid’s 520 W. 28th St. in Chelsea sparking conversations about the new definition of beauty in buildings. While not everyone is a fan of the new aesthetics, designers like Chen are unapologetic about their thirst for fresh perspectives and creativity.
“[420 Kent] reflects Williamsburg’s present as a center for creativity, innovation and a young-spirited community,” he said. “I am sure it will attract people, who regardless of age or status, feel the same way about themselves.”
Prices in the complex are relatively affordable for Williamsburg, too. Monthly rents for units currently available on the listings site StreetEasy start at $2,399 for a studio, that’s down from the neighborhood average of $2,769 in January, according to a market report from from Citi Habitats, the brokerage representing listings for 420 Kent.
But even for its more expensive apartments, such as a $6,046-per-month twelfth-floor two-bedroom listed on StreetEasy, Dave Maundrell, executive vice president of new developments at Citi Habitats, is confident that the complex will give renters what they pay for.
The towers’ exterior glass curtain walls allow for floor-to-ceiling windows that bend in 90-degree angles in corner apartments, setting the development apart from its nearby competitors, he explained. “While many projects in NYC have views, at 420 Kent you can literally drop a fishing line out your window into the river if you choose,” Maundrell said.