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Curbed Inside: Mason Fisk, Williamsburg Sensation!

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[Photos by Will Femia.]

The Chosen One made its debut on the Williamsburg market in the bleakest of days: the disastrous first/second quarters of 2009. But from the start Mason Fisk felt a bit different than other Northside Development Du Jours. It was a classy conversion of a beat-up 100-year-old manufacturing building with good bones, not one of the slapdash new-construction dealies that popped up all around the Burg to chase the bubble. And the pricing strategy was practically revolutionary for the time: a $651-a-square-foot average when everything in the area was still charging $800 or more. Of course, developers have since adjusted, but not before Mason Fisk sold out its 26 units in a matter of weeks, which has become the stuff of Williamsburg real estate legend.

With closings underway, Mason Fisk architect/designer Adam Meshberg (the Meshberg Group?Adam and his bro Justin?developed the building) guided us through 72 Berry. The lobby and rooftop are still raw, the hallways a bit dirty from move-ins and missing their colorful custom wall panels. According to Meshberg, 72 Berry was "chopped up to hell" when the brothers bought it in 2006. Now the interiors would be unrecognizable to its former tenants, except for the original brick (sandblasted, obvi) and wood beams. "We get calls from brokers and buyers every day," Meshberg says. Sorry, still sold out! But there may be a Mason Fisk II in the offing.

Meshberg tells us that another Williamsburg developer has approached him to design what would pretty much be an identical twin to Mason Fisk, albeit new construction and on the other side of the BQE. Can it be done? He says it can, and since the dude is obsessed with combining old and new (replacing damaged Mason Fisk bricks with new ones made him a mad scientist when it comes to matching mortar colors), we think he can get his hands on enough reclaimed materials to make something presentable.

But getting back to Mason Fisk v1.0, a note on that quick sell-through. With units closing we finally have details on some of the purchase prices. Looks like despite the buzz and the low prices, the developers were still willing to negotiate to make a quick sale. Here's a glimpse via StreetEasy on asking prices vs. purchase prices:

Before the units hit the market the development team got together and, figuring the Williamsburg market was due for a reality check, agreed to lower the asking prices. And even after taking a bit more off the top of the apartments, Mason Fisk is still a financial winner. But enough about dollars and cents. Have a look!
· Mason Fisk [masonfisk.com]
· Mason Fisk coverage [Curbed]

Mason Fisk

72 Berry Street, Brooklyn, New York