nd build out a public waterfront esplanade along the East River.
But the project still had hurdles to overcome in order to be realized. Rosenberg and his brother Isack came to realize that the property – a lumber yard that through the years had been used for several different industrial purposes – was contaminated with petroleum, pesticides, PCBs and other pollutants.
They also had to contend with the financial crisis and Isack’s untimely death in 2016 in a drowning accident off the coast of North Miami Beach in Florida.
As early as 2013, the Rosenbergs had looked to sell the site to a developer. They hired the now defunct Eastern Consolidated to market the property, with an asking price of $210 million.
Interest in the site seemed to fizzle – some people familiar with the property have cited the environmental remediation as a significant challenge to overcome – but in 2015 potential buyers started sniffing around again, and the property was said to be valued in the area of $250 million.
According to a lawsuit Isack Rosenberg’s estate filed in 2017, developer Roy Stillman and Michael Fascitelli’s Imperial Companies in 2015 entered into an agreement to join the Rosenbergs in a joint venture to develop the property under the state’s Brownfields program. The two sides apparently had a falling out, though, and had to settle their differences in an arbitration.
In the meantime, the Williamsburg waterfront has boomed around the Rose Plaza site. Three blocks to the north, Eliot Spitzer is wrapping up his 420 Kent Avenue development. And on the northern side of the Williamsburg Bridge, Two Trees is making progress on its Domino Sugar development.
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