The Lightstone Group isn’t the only company with a massive construction project about to get underway in Gowanus: just a half block away on Carroll Street between Hoyt and Bond Streets, a subcontractor for Sterling Equities has begun erecting construction barricades for the demolition of 337 Carroll Street, a one-story, white-brick building that spans a good chunk of the block.
If you’re a New York Mets fan the phrase “Sterling Equities” might induce extreme feelings of nausea and panic — the company owns the team in full, and their principal owners, Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz, made headlines a couple of years back for their alleged involvement in the Bernie Madoff scandal.
But back to Gowanus: according to this document at the New York City Department of Finance website, the property at 337 Carroll Street was bought by 337 CST 9 Owner, LLC from Anne Boline, Ltd on May 10, 2013 for a whopping $12.5 million. 337 CST 9 Owner, LLC appears to be a shell company set up specifically for this project: their address is listed as C/O Sterling 337 L.L.C., 111 Great Neck Road, Suite 408, Great Neck, NY. That address leads back to Sterling American Property Inc, a partnership or subsidiary of Sterling Equities and American Securities, LP. Connect the dots: the same goofballs who own the Mets now own property on Carroll Street.
Anne Boline Ltd. incorporated in 1973 and had owned the property since 1977. The most recent tenant was Regency Service Carts, Inc; we regularly saw hot dog and pretzel street carts rolling in and out of their gates.
Here’s where things get interesting, though: starting in 2005, 333 Carroll Street Condominium LLC starts appearing in the NYC Department of Finance website ledger for the property, which would lend some credence to rumors that cropped up this past summer that the new owners of 337 Carroll would be looking to combine it with 333 Carroll to form one big super-condo. 333 Carroll is the development next door that, after nearly nine years of trouble and controversy, is finally nearing completion. Developer Isaac Fischman of 333 Carroll, also known in local parlance as “The Hell Building,” was forced to tear down extra stories he had illegally begun constructing atop the building after residents discovered he had improper zoning. But with construction crews now assembling the interior and putting the finishing touches on 333 Carroll it seems unlikely it’ll be torn down for the aforementioned super-condo, and more likely that Sterling Equities will just be building another one next door.
Still: the DOB lists an $875,000 transaction between 333 Carroll Street Condominium and Anne Boline Ltd in 2005 for the “full lot;” wonder what that was all about? My own personal conjecture, to be taken with a big, heaping spoonful of salt: Fischman purchased the air rights for 337 Carroll an an attempt to build his own building at 333 higher, only to be thwarted when a neighborhood zoning resolution prohibited the additional stories.
A whole glut of paperwork was filed with the NYC Department of Buildings on November 20th for issues relating to construction at 337 Carroll. Among them: an application for a new house number of 345 Carroll Street, and a certificate of occupancy for 32 units. I guess 345 has a better ring to it than 337?
Hopefully Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz approach development in Gowanus with the same caution with which they approach investing with Bernie Madoff. Oh, wait. Well, at best we can hope that the money they eventually make on it will serve to pay off Bobby Bonilla’s ongoing 21-year contract.