Hasids Hold Strong in South Williamsburg: Permits Filed at 69 & 75 South 8th Street

69 & 75 South 8th Streets (empty lots at center), Gretsch building to the north; image from Bing Maps69 & 75 South 8th Streets (empty lots at center), Gretsch building to the north; image from Bing Maps

Condos in the trendier parts of Williamsburg sell for upwards of $1,000 per square foot, compared to the $400 or so you can get in the Hasidic part, in South Williamsburg. Given the massive chasm in prices, there must be tremendous temptation for developers in the borderlands around Broadway – where Hasidic South Williamsburg meets the Hispanic-turning-hipster Southside – to go goyish and build smaller units that sell for higher prices.

But the Hasidic community near the waterfront has held fast against the onslaught of artisten (the Yiddish words for “artists,” as the Hasids call hipsters and yuppies from the better known part of Williamsburg).

The Gretsch building at 60 Broadway, just behind these parcels, offers an object lesson in the rewards of bucking the rebbes, and a 3,800-square foot penthouse unit sold last year for $6.5 million. But it also revealed the cost, as the construction site, and even one of the developers’ homes, were picketed by members of the Satmar Hasidic community — and the building’s original Hasidic owner was ultimately shunned, as well.

Two permit filings yesterday on South 8th Street demonstrate the success that the Hasids have had in fending off the artisten. Between Wythe and Berry and just one block south of Broadway, the secular hoards to the north would be more than happy to pay double what builders can get for Hasidic condos. But no such luck for hipsters in search of cheaper housing – the permit filings indicate that the units will be marketed exclusively to Hasidic buyers.

The first hint is in the unit counts. No. 75 will have 10 units spread over 16,000 square feet of residential space, plus a 7,500-square foot community facility (perhaps a synagogue, daycare center or school?), and No. 69 will have just three units spread over 6,500 square feet of net residential floor area.

Then there’s the architect – Queens Village-based Julien Flander does not appear to be Hasidic, but his name can nevertheless be found on new building permit applications throughout South Williamsburg.

The developer of No. 75 is Rodney Street-based David Weiss. The owner listed on the application for No. 69 is Jacob Mittelman, vice president for operations at B&H Photo Video, which is a large employer of Satmar adherents across the state.

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