The bar and gallery spaces at Brooklyn Fire Proof on Ingraham Street in Bushwick were hopping on Thursday, September 12 thanks to the huge turn-out of businessowners, real estate developers and the real estate curious for CPEX Real Estate’s third quarterly REX Night Networking Event.
“Every few months, we have a networking event in a different neighborhood to help spread the word [about business and real estate] opportunities,” explained Greg Roberts, CPEX’s chief operating officer. “We’re product-type specialized, so it helps us focus on markets [such as those] here, in industrial, retail and leasing.”
“Bushwick is the latest frontier for mom-and-pop businesses,” said Jeff Mann, executive director of the Greenpoint Chamber of Commerce, which was one of the event co-sponsors. “We saw it in Williamsburg and Greenpoint. [This is] an opportunity to come out and meet the people who are opening this new frontier.”
The Bushwick market is appealing for buyers now because “inventory is low [and] not a lot is built,” said Michael Kawochka, an agent at Sotheby’s. “Supply is catching up to demand and [a lot of deals are now in cash] because there’s a lot of cash out there now that credit has dried up.
“I grew up here, so I’ve seen the transformation and it’s exciting,” Kawochka added. “I see a lot of people in vacant, industrial Williamsburg, pushed out here. It’s nice to see places that were once deserted, unused and dangerous, become vibrant and exciting. It’s a double-edged sword.”
The migration of buyers towards central and eastern Brooklyn is an “indicator of the economy,” noted Roberts. “It may take a couple of years to recover, [by which time] we may get priced out.”
For Nicholas Trerotola, managing partner of Brooklyn Community Development, the REX Night events are a great way to make connections that could lead to promising deals, in Bushwick and beyond.
“There’s a lot of activity going on in Bed-Stuy and Bushwick, so [a lot of developers] are also looking at Ocean Hill, where there are available, affordable units,” explained Trerotola. “We buy, renovate and hold [the property] to rent it at affordable rates. In Bushwick, a one-bedroom can go for $1,800, and in Ocean Hill, a three-bedroom can go for the same amount.”
The event was co-sponsored by the Graham Ave BID, Grand Street BID, Greenpoint Chamber of Commerce, and The Home Reporter/Brooklyn Spectator.
Founded in 2008, CPEX provides a full range of services for both real estate and business owners in all five boroughs. They host quarterly events where property owners and people interested in Brooklyn real estate can network with one another. Since the company launched, it has grown 150 percent year over year.