ST. GEORGE — The last of a set of luxury condominium high-rises that have stood empty around St. George’s waterfront since the recession plans to open its doors in the fall and has already sold almost half of its units.
The Accolade, a former dry cocoa warehouse in Bay Street Landing that was converted into a residential building, opened its 100-unit studio to three-bedroom condos for sale in March.
Sales exceeded expectations of developers Meadow Partners and real estate agent The Marketing Directors.
“We’re really moving very quickly,” said Angela Ferrara, executive vice president of sales for the Marketing Directors. “We didn’t anticipate this level of excitement.”
In the five months since they opened up for sales — priced between $322,000 to more than $1 million — the agency has sold 43 apartments, a surprise for a building that has been sitting empty and unfinished since 2009.
Ferrara said the influx of large projects, like the New York Wheel and Empire Outlets, and new housing stock around the neighborhood started to attract people to invest.
“I’ve really never seen such attention to Staten Island and I’m thrilled about it,” Ferrara said. “I think the whole thing is going to be transformed.”
Before Meadow Partners bought the property in 2010 and re-branded it as The Accolade, the building — formerly know as The Pearl — stood empty and only 70 percent complete after the former owner Leib Puretz defaulted on his loan in 2009.
From 2006 to 2009, the Brooklyn-based developer Puretz tried to kickstart the re-development of St. George by building or converting three large high-rises in the neighborhood, according to Crain’s New York.
But when the housing bubble crashed, so did Puretz’s plans.
He defaulted on all three of his buildings in the neighborhood, according toCrain’s, and left them either unfinished or with a handful of residents.
In 2012, activity started to pick up at his former developments with other companies stepping in and taking them over.
The Pointe on Victory Boulevard, which only had five sales before the crash, was bought by Meadow Partners for $26 million and started to attract empty nesters and young professionals to move in.
Later that year the second of Puretz’s buildings, The View on Bay and Nicholas streets, was bought out by Madison Realty Capital for $8.4 million and opened up for rentals.
For The Accolade, even though much of it was finished, Ferrara said Meadow Partners went in and almost completely refurbished and re-did a lot of the work.
The group also added amenities to the ground floor for residents like an in-house lounge with a bar and ping-pong tables, a golf simulator, a children’s center, a gym and more, Ferrara said.
And while previous attempts at large developments in the neighborhood stalled or failed to attract buyers, Ferrara said this time around people don’t seem to have that worry.
“I don’t think anybody is really hesitating to put their money in St. George,” she said.
“People that are really smart are putting their money there now because they can buy at a level today that they won’t be able to buy at in a year or two.”