A former NYC drug cop who bought his first property for $22,000 now has a $400 million real-estate portfolio, and he says he doesn't even track the value of it

Red Hook BrooklynGetty Images

  • Former narcotics detective Greg O'Connell owns $400 million worth of real estate in Brooklyn, according to Bloomberg.
  • Red Hook, Brooklyn was known as a ghost town after industrial buildings and storehouses abandoned the area in the twentieth century.
  • Bloomberg reports that O'Connell currently owns around 1.3 million square feet of buildings and 385,000 square feet of undeveloped land in Brooklyn.
  • O'Connell told Bloomberg he fears rising land values and taxes will continue to gentrify the neighborhood, which was recently named an opportunity zone.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Former narcotics detective Greg O'Connell spent years serving New York City in his role as an officer, but these days, he's making headlines for a different reason: The impressive real-estate portfolio he's built up in Brooklyn.

According to Bloomberg, O'Connell, 77, owns an estimated $400 million of real estate in Red Hook. But, if you asked O'Connell about the value of his properties, he'd tell you he doesn't track the value.

Back in the 1960s, Red Hook wasn't the most desirable neighborhood. After industrial buildings and storehouses abandoned the area, the neighborhood was left with empty warehouses and low property values - which is what attracted O'Connell. In 1967, he bought his first property in Red Hook for $22,000. It is now worth $2.5 million.

Red Hook BrooklynGoogle Maps

Over the years, O'Connell made many investments in Brooklyn that are now paying off. In 1976 he purchased a three-story Brooklyn home for $4,000. Today, that home is worth over $12 million. In 1992, he purchased multiple abandoned warehouses from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for $450,000. Those buildings are now being valued over $170 million.

Bloomberg reports that O'Connell currently owns around 1.3 million square feet of buildings and 385,000 square feet of undeveloped land in Brooklyn, mostly in Red Hook.

Read More: Here's the salary you'll need if you want to afford a mortgage in 17 major US cities

While O'Connell told Bloomberg his goals were to help Red Hook's small businesses and create jobs for its residents, rising land values and taxes continue to gentrify the neighborhood. O'Connell no longer buys in Red Hook because he can't afford the development cost.

Recently, the neighborhood was designated an opportunity zone. Many fear this will continue to bring more developments to the waterfront, pushing property values to unaffordable rates.

Read the full report at Bloomberg »

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