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Crain’s: Brooklyn Real Estate Vets Launch Firm To Build 10K Housing Units In Five Years

In the News

Eddie Small

Three professionals standing outdoors, including two men and one woman, each smiling and dressed in business attire.
Ofer Cohen, Vivian Liao, and Tucker Reed. Courtesy of Ailanthus
Published in: Crain’s New York Business

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A trio of longtime Brooklyn real estate executives is launching a firm that aims to bring 10,000 new housing units to the city over the next five years.

Ofer Cohen, chairman of Brooklyn-focused brokerage TerraCRG, along with Tucker Reed and Vivian Liao, principals at Brooklyn-focused developer Totem, have joined forces to create the platform, called Ailanthus. It will focus on developing projects at sites that are not shovel-ready and may need to go through the city’s often-lengthy and contentious rezoning process in an effort to dispute the assumption that such projects are riskier bets to support.

Not only do we happen to think it’s the right thing to do—it also makes better developments. Vivian Liao

The Ailanthus team plans to focus on strong engagement with community members and elected officials over such issues to help ensure its housing pushes are successful.

“Not only do we happen to think it’s the right thing to do—it also makes better developments,” Liao said.

The company already has roughly 1,500 units of housing in its pipeline through Totem projects, such as a 456-unit building at 1057 Atlantic Ave. in Crown Heights and a 187-unit project at 737 Fourth Ave. in Sunset Park. It plans to take advantage of the new tax breaks and policy reforms in the state budget’s housing package as well, and it will donate at least 1% of its profits to Brooklyn Org, a philanthropic organization that distributes funding to local nonprofits.

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