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Robert Durst is Building His Own Real Estate Empire in Brooklyn

By James Fanelli | August 21, 2013 7:45am
 Robert Durst has invested in four large rental properties in the past two years.
Robert Durst Starts Real Estate Empire
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WILLIAMSBURG — Better not be late with his rent.

Cross-dressing killer Robert Durst severed ties with his billion-dollar real estate clan years ago, but the family business seems to have rubbed off on him.

In the past two years, the 70-year-old oddball heir has quietly amassed his own portfolio of lucrative rental properties, including three in trendy Brooklyn neighborhoods, DNAinfo New York has learned. 

Durst, who was arrested last week for trespassing at his brother's Midtown home, started his real estate spree in November 2011, paying $4.4 million for 250 Pacific St., a 25-unit, five-story residential building in leafy Cobble Hill, according to a recent court filing.

A two-bedroom in the brick pre-war rents for $2,300 a month, according to a listing on real estate agency Corcoran's website.

In November 2011, Durst also bought 234 Union Ave., a 32-unit, six-floor mixed-use building in hipster-heavy Williamsburg, according to the filing. The ground floor has stores, including tattoo shop Armageddon Ink Gallery. The other five floors house residential units.

In September 2012, Durst invested $3 million for a 41.96 percent interest in Havemeyer Portfolio LLC. The court filing says that at the time of Durst's investment, the holding company was in contract to buy a real estate property in Williamsburg. It doesn't specify the address. 

The latest addition to Durst's portfolio was the $2.4 million purchase of 61-63 East 125th St., two four-story mixed-use buildings in East Harlem. His second wife's management company operates the properties, according to the court filing.

Durst told DNAinfo New York on Tuesday that he wanted to discuss his budding real estate empire, but he couldn't speak until his latest criminal case was resolved.

"I'd like to talk to you about how great the properties are and how great Brooklyn is, but now is not the time. Call me in a couple of months," he said.

"I've got a lot of s--- going on right now, and I'm not going to talk about it with a reporter," he added.

Since 2006, Durst has been estranged from his family, which runs the Durst Organization, a century-old real estate group that holds some of the city's most impressive commercial buildings.

The black sheep of the clan, Durst has had several run-ins with the law in recent years.

He has been dogged by suspicions that he played a role in the mysterious disappearance of his first wife, Kathleen, more than 30 years ago. Despite intense scrutiny, including a probe in 2000 by Westchester District Attorney Jeanine Pirro, he has never been charged with any crime in connection to his missing wife.

The unwanted attention drove Durst to move to Gavelston, Texas, where he cross-dressed as a woman and lived under a fake identity. His anonymity was short-lived — authorities arrested him in 2001 for killing and carving up his neighbor.

A jury eventually acquitted him, believing his account that the killing was in self-defense.

Manhattan prosecutors said Durst was arrested last week after Durst Organization security guards spotted him twice at the home of his brother, whose life he previously threatened.

The court papers revealing Durst's real estate interests were filed in April in Westchester Surrogate's Court. Durst's father set up two trusts for him that are currently worth about $43 million.

According to the filing, Durst directed the trustees of the two funds to buy the properties through holding companies. In a letter included in the court filing, Durst wrote to the trustees that the acquisition of 234 Union Ave. and 250 Pacific St. "will be very beneficial to the trusts."

The four real estate investments are on top of a Harlem townhouse he purchased in October 2011.