DJ mixes up real estate, Brooklyn-style
- Last Updated: 8:34 AM, March 30, 2012
- Posted: 10:45 PM, March 28, 2012
If Victor Calderone ever tires of being a popular house-music DJ and producer, he could easily have a career in real estate.
In the 14 years that the Bensonhurst native has owned property in Brooklyn, he’s managed to turn a profit on every one of the apartments he’s lived in.
He’s been a Brooklyn pioneer who’s seen and benefited firsthand from how the borough has boomed. He bought in DUMBO in 1998 for $275 per square foot at 1 Main St. A decade and three residences later, he left the neighborhood and sold his 70 Washington St. penthouse for $1,850 per square foot.
And he’s still on the move. He bought a four-bedroom, three-bathroom condo in One Brooklyn Bridge Park, just outside of DUMBO, in April 2010 for $2.195 million. It recently went into contract after being listed for $2.799 million. (He would not reveal the selling price, except to say that it sold below the asking price.)
“We always buy in an area that still has growth, that has potential,” says Victor, 45, of the real estate choices he and his wife, Athena, 36, have made. “And this was a four-bedroom, which is quite rare, on a park that had yet to be fully developed.”
In fact, the couple’s real estate history reads like an account of Brooklyn gentrification over the past decade and a half.
When they decided to get their first place, at 1 Main St., “We had just started dating,” says Athena, who grew up on Long Island, “and we took such a big risk. We ended up borrowing money from a friend for the down payment. Our families thought we were crazy.”
Back then, DUMBO had little to offer. “It was dodgy; there were no stores and lots of empty dirt parking lots,” Athena recalls.
But the apartment, a 1,700-square-foot one-bedroom with an office, was big enough for Victor to house his recording studio, and the price was right: in the $400,000s.
Not long after they married, in September 1999, the neighborhood’s gentrification really picked up. Two years later, right after 9/11, they sold the apartment for more than twice what they paid — and used the profits to upgrade to a two-bedroom. And they didn’t have to look far.
“We bought in the same building, on the same floor, but it was a corner apartment and had dramatic views of the Brooklyn Bridge,” he says.
It was also, of course, more expensive: about $1 million.
But when they sold it three years later, in 2005, it was worth twice that.
They decided to stay in the area they loved and invest in a new building, 70 Washington St.
“We had had our son [Jivan],” explains Athena of the decision to purchase two penthouse units (one a two-bedroom for $2.2 million, or $1,269 per square foot; another a one-bedroom for $1.5 million, or $1,197 per square foot). “And Victor had put his recording studio outside the home. So we wanted to have a two-bedroom with an office that could be turned into his studio.”