04/23/14 9:30am

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Average rents rose 77 percent in Brooklyn while city wide real median income fell 4.8 percent from 2000 to 2012, according to a report out from the city comptroller described in The New York Post. The increases were the largest in any borough.

A story in the Times implied that meeting Mayor de Blasio’s stated goal of keeping or creating 200,000 affordable units will not fix the problem:

In an interview, Mr. Stringer said numeric goals were not enough. He noted that the Bloomberg administration spent $5.3 billion of city money and leveraged another $18.3 billion to both create new affordable units and preserve existing housing — for a total of 165,000 units over 12 years — yet the city today is still grappling with record homelessness and the loss of low-rent housing.

A separate story in the Post described a young woman paying only $1,256 a month in rent for a spacious two-bedroom rent stabilized in Crown Heights — on the face of it, an excellent deal. But, with a salary of only $30,000 a year before taxes for her retail sales job, she can barely afford it. He landlord has offered her money to move, but she didn’t take it, knowing she would not be able to find a lower rent elsewhere.

Rents are going up and wages are falling everywhere, not just in New York City. During the same period, rents also rose significantly across the U.S. “In the rest of the nation, rents rose by 50.1 percent over the same period — hitting an average of $773 per month,” said the Post.

The comptroller’s report recommended that affordable housing in New York City should focus on the poorest, not middle income New Yorkers. What’s your solution?

New York City Housing Push Should Aim at Poorest, Report Says [NY Times]

04/23/14 9:00am

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Three community boards are fighting over jurisdiction of the 22 acres that make up the Atlantic Yards development. Most of the complex, which runs along Atlantic Avenue near the intersection of Flatbush Avenue, is technically in Prospect Heights, with a small section in Park Slope. But the Community Boards don’t exactly follow neighborhood lines, so bits of it belong to CB 2, 6, and 8.

Why it matters is not really clarified by a story examining the matter in detail in The New York Times. The CBs are responsible for things like trash pickup, liquor license reviews and noise complaints. Developer Forest City Ratner says “all the districts would share local hiring and affordable housing opportunities regardless of what happens.” A few observers say it would be easier to oppose the development if responsibility for it were concentrated in one community board.

Click through to the story for a helpful map showing exactly where Atlantic Yards is going to go. Above, the rail line portion that runs along Atlantic Avenue from Barclays Center to Vanderbilt Avenue in the snow in February. It’s eventually supposed to be covered by a platform and six towers.

A Community Tug of War in Brooklyn [NY Times]

04/23/14 8:30am

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Vet Signs Five-Year Lease in Prospect Heights [NY Times]
East River Floating Pool Set to Drop Anchor in Mid-2016 [NY Post]
As Rents Rise, Some Stuck in Affordable Homes With Moving Too Costly [NY Post]
Fort Greene Church Closing in June [NY Daily News]
McGuinness, Deadly Greenpoint Road, to Become Slow Zone [NY Daily News]
Fears Over Future of Iconic Brooklyn Heights St. George Hotel “Unfounded” [Brooklyn Eagle]
Saint Ann’s Plan is a Theater Wrapped in a Warehouse [Brooklyn Paper]
State: LICH Will Likely Close May 23 [Brooklyn Paper]
Confessions of a Finance Guy Turned Brooklyn Party Promoter [Paper Mag]
B and D Trains Not Running Between Brooklyn and Manhattan, MTA Says [DNAinfo]
Brooklyn Whole Foods Sells Produce Grown on Its Roof [NY1]

04/22/14 4:30pm

Bushwick Inlet Park Gets Nod for Sustainable Architecture [Curbed]
Meeting About Controversial North Brooklyn Boat Club [Greenpointers]
Brooklyn Bridge Park Beach Nears Completion [BHB]
Food, Entertainment and Family Fun This Saturday at the Prospect Park Fair [South Slope News]
Nostrand Avenue Street Improvements to Be Completed by June, City Says [DNAinfo]
Listings Go up for Former Police Station 72 Poplar in Brooklyn Heights [BuzzBuzzHome]
Where to Get Art Supplies in Bushwick [Bushwick Daily]

Photo by Joel Zimmer

04/22/14 4:00pm

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There will be five homes, all with gardens or landscaped decks, on The Brooklyn Heights Association’s house tour this year. Also on the program are refreshments and guided tours of the sanctuary at the historic Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims.

The tour takes place Saturday, May 10, from 1 to 5 pm. Tickets ($30 for members in advance, $40 for non members) can be purchased the day of the tour at St. Ann’s School at 129 Pierrepont Street, according to the Brooklyn Heights Blog.

There is also a “patron brunch” for $300 a ticket in the morning.  For more info about the tour, email housetour@thebha.org or call the BHA office at 718-858-9193.

04/22/14 3:00pm

142-144 Decatur St, The Decatur, SSpellen 1

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: The Decatur
Address: 142-144 Decatur Street
Cross Streets: Corner Marcus Garvey Boulevard
Neighborhood: Stuyvesant Heights
Year Built: 1888
Architectural Style: Romanesque Revival
Architect: George L. Morse
Other work by architect: Temple Bar Building – Court Street, Franklin Trust – Montague Street, Abraham & Straus annex – Livingston Street, as well as many more row houses, flats buildings, churches, and office buildings.
Landmarked: Yes, part of Stuyvesant Heights Expansion, Stuyvesant Heights HD (2013)

The story:
While the developers of our brownstone blocks were busy filling them with rows of houses, the avenues in our neighborhoods were receiving attention, as well. It was on these streets that the city allowed commercial and civic buildings, and where churches and temples often stood, as well as rows of flats buildings, many with storefronts on the ground floors.

The formal concept of zoning didn’t come into existence until the early 20th century, but Victorian city planners already had a pretty good idea how to create mixed income and purposed neighborhoods. Sensible planning could provide everyone in those neighborhoods with the amenities and services they would need to be able to live, shop, worship, and perhaps even work, within easy walking distance. That is one of the strongest reasons why today these neighborhoods are still so desirable.

The mixed use flats buildings on the corners of blocks provided excellent opportunities for special buildings. These buildings anchored the block, and were visual gateways to the homes that lay beyond them, so it isn’t surprising that very often the fine architects who designed the houses also were called on to design many of these corner buildings. Very often, if a developer could get the desired lots, he would have an architect design the corner flats building, and then tie the design into the houses as they turned the corner. Many of Stuyvesant Heights’ blocks were designed in this manner. (more…)

04/22/14 2:00pm

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Brooklyn-based real estate firm Realty Collective will open an office in Clinton Hill, its fourth location. The official opening of the office at 466 Grand Avenue will take place Sunday April 27, the firm said in a press release.

The new location will also handle business in Fort Greene, Bed Stuy, Crown Heights and Prospect Heights. Its other three offices are clustered in Red Hook, the Columbia Street Waterfront District and Carroll Gardens.

 “Over the past few years, our agents have been migrating into Clinton Hill, Bed Stuy and Crown Heights. So have our listings,” said Realty Collective founder Victoria Hagman in a statement. “It just made sense to open a branch closer to the action.”  GMAP

Photo by Nicholas Strini for PropertyShark

04/22/14 1:30pm

OK, it’s really narrow and there are a lot of down lights but this Greenwood Heights house at 396A 19th Street looks pretty cute to us. Goes to show what some great rugs and Timorous Beasties wallpaper can do, right? That bath looks pretty slick, and we also like the new unpainted clapboard exterior.

We’re not so sure about the location, though — it faces the Prospect Expressway. What do you think of it and the ask of $1,669,000?

396A 19th Street [Betancourt & Associates] GMAP

04/22/14 12:57pm

A price of $1,000 a square foot is so commonplace at this point in Brooklyn’s most desired neighborhoods that it’s barely worth noting that this duplex at 446 3rd Street is asking about $1,100 a foot, or $2,275,000 for 2,071 square feet. This 1920 townhouse was converted into condos eight years ago, and this unit’s the lower one with the garden all to itself.

Other than the floors and the window moldings there aren’t a ton of original details, but the place looks practically new and has the kind of “luxury” touches many buyers are looking for these days. The major drawback is that the bottom floor is more subterranean than most typical English basements, resulting in reduced window size on the front.

446 3rd Street, #1 [Town Residential] GMAP

04/22/14 11:30am

Eli Karp’s Hello Living has filed a new building application for its Flatbush development at 2415 Albemarle Road. New York YIMBY also spotted a new rendering for the project in the brochure for its Owners Club, which markets units to buyers while the building is still under construction.

Designed by Zambrano, the 12-story condo building will house 43 units across 34,857 square feet, according to permits. Amenities include 30 open parking spaces and 22 bike storage spots. Floor plans show 630-square-foot one-bedrooms and 816-square-feet two-bedrooms, each of which has a 90- or 100-square-foot balcony, as previously reported.

Hello Living is working on three other projects nearby: Two in Prospect Lefferts Gardens East Flatbush (New York Avenue and Lenox Avenue Road) and one on Sterling Place in Crown Heights.

Revealed: 2415 Albemarle Road [YIMBY] GMAP
Design Debuts for Hello Living in Flatbush [Brownstoner]
Rendering by Zambrano via Hello Living

04/22/14 11:00am

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A sidewalk shed has gone up and work has started at 4-8 Downing Street in Clinton Hill, aka the Broken Angel, where developer and architect Alex Barrett is converting the former art project, once a tenement building, into eight condos.

An Alt 1 permit for 4 Downing Street approved last month specifies an interior and exterior renovation, a reduction in the number of units from nine to eight, and a new certificate of occupancy. According to the permit, the work will cost about $1,100,000. (Two more condos are planned at 8 Downing.)

Thanks to a reader for the tip and the second photo, which shows the demo debris on the site behind the construction shed.

Broken Angel Coverage [Brownstoner]

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