Bed-Stuy Redevelopment Heads to Court After Partner Backs Out

248 Kosciuszko Street in Brooklyn (Google Maps)

Michael Rosenberg had big plans for 248 Kosciuszko Street. The Brooklyn real estate developer had negotiated for a 50 percent stake in the two-family home in Bedford Stuyvesant. Rosenberg and the owner, Donald Brown, signed plans to raze the aging gray house and replace it with seven or eight apartments. Rosenberg had begun soliciting contractors and even set a demolition date.

Then came the text.

“Tell your under writers SORRY BUT WRONG TIMING I AM KEEPING MY HOUSE FOR MY FAMILY,” Brown wrote to Rosenberg.

Sixteen months later, Rosenberg is suing his former partner to get the redevelopment back on track.

“It’s a shame because he could’ve been making a lot of money now”

Michael Rosenberg, developer

According to the lawsuit, filed Tuesday, Brown flip-flopped on a deal that would give him a free unit in the new building and half of the rent from the others. Now, Rosenberg is seeking at least $5 million in damages, as well as the judge’s go-ahead to break ground.

The two had already formed a joint LLC and transferred the deed for the building to it. Rosenberg sent Brown a $6,000 check for his half of the company and agreed to cover the cost of the demolition and construction, contracts submitted to the court show.

“It’s a shame because he could’ve been making a lot of money now,” Rosenberg said. Brown could not be reached for comment.

Brown purchased the building in August 1998, taking out a $163,600 mortgage, public records show. Over the following decade he refinanced it several times. By October 2008, when the financial world was collapsing, he owed nearly $345,000 on two mortgages for the home.

In that light, Rosenberg’s offer to absorb the outstanding mortgage balances might have seemed appealing. But now, absent a settlement, only the lawyers will be appealing.

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