House of the Day: 526 Carlton Avenue

This four-story brownstone at 526 Carlton Avenue in Prospect Heights sold for $1,230,000 back in 2006. Since then, it’s undergone a major renovation that’s resulted in a pretty nice looking house; recessed lighting notwithstanding, the reno managed to preserve the major architectural details of the house while injecting it with some attractive modern upgrades (i.e. they did a nice job on the kitchen and bathrooms). The bigger question is whether $2,300,000 will fly so close to Atlantic Yards.
526 Carlton Avenue [Douglas Elliman] GMAP P*Shark

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  • I know this house well I have walked passed it many times and it looks to be a nice but the only problem is AY is right next door…

  • Not that I know what I’m talking about – but looks like a pretty good job of mixing modern touches while keeping period details in tact.

  • I think you’re right, dh. But it’s screaming for a curb cut and a garage. Even you can see that.

  • It’s right in the heart of AY…some people might like that though.

  • Wow, now this is nice! What a fabulous renovation.

  • I think they did a solid job
    I agree they kept some of the old touches and mixed in a clean palate with modern amenities
    I LOVE the skylight!
    does being close to AY even matter anymore, will it just be a vacant lot for 10 years??

  • I love that Elliman lists it as being in Fort Greene.

  • if they add perpetual season tix to the BROOKLYN nets, it might move.

    price seems rich to live 10+ years in a construction zone.

  • This wouldn’t work for some people we know

    no butter churn or outhouse :(

  • 1. This place is begging to be staged. Owner/developer should step and show buyers what it could look like.

    2. Where’s the fridge? Seems like an awkward kitchen layout — looks like a condo layout where you only have one room for kitchen/living/diving, not like a real kitchen.

  • yeah, with the garage and curb cut could rent the spot for arena games.

  • Want to add: this place is stunning, love the reno. I think it should move at this price, perhaps with a slight discount.

  • Nice renovation BUT….
    – Who wants to hear a toilet flush while eating in the Formal Dining Room?
    – No ensuite bathroom in the Master Bedroom?
    – Why did they give the bigger closet to the smaller bedroom on the Third Floor.

    Nitpick. I will at this price.

  • …speaking of AY….

    Ratner just agreed to sell 80% of the Nets to Russia’s richest man. Think he’ll move here?

  • “The 4th floor, the master bedroom floor, has 3 rooms and 2 fireplaces or 2 home offices (ample closet space too) and a full bathroom with soaking tub, toilet and bidet.”

    huh??? Okay, this doesn’t make sense.
    They’re describing the 4th floor as the ‘master bedroom floor’ when the 3rd floor has the biggest bedroom and on floor plan labelled ‘master bedroom’

  • Price looks delusional and doesn’t factor in that many wouldn’t touch this with a 10 ft barge pole because of the location. It’s not just the uncertainty of AY (as huge an issue as that is), it’s also that this house faces a massive empty lot (can anyone say “rodents”?)and that the Carlton St bridge is gone making access to neighborhoods to the north on foot or by car much harder. Although the reno looks good in photos, I would want to see it before passing judgement. The quality of the finishes is impossible to ascertain from online pics. $1.7 max.

  • “Ratner just agreed to sell 80% of the Nets to Russia’s richest man. Think he’ll move here?”

    Ratner, maybe.
    Russia’s richest will move to Brighton Beach.

  • Sorry, this is not a $2m+ block.

  • Ratner was only interested in the surrounding property and had ZERO interest managing a sports franchise….now he’s transfered the majority of that risk / headache to Prokhorov and has cheap money to finance his “development” when he feels the time is right.

    Gotta hand it to Ratner, he’s pretty damn sly. Vodka anyone?

  • very nice place but that price in that area wont happen.

  • I’ll take several bottles of the stuff, moreteasir. He certainly is.

  • Beutiful house. Very spacious and clean. I can live with one big bathroom on each floor rather than an en suite arrangement. Both work for me. I am not familiar with this block but the proximity to the AY would not bother me.
    I have come to the conclusion that I know nothing about current prices. I am told that two million dollars is not really that much money any more. Still and all, I think this is priced rather aggressively. I am way behind the times and think a nice house like this should sell for about a million dollars less that the current asking. I’m constantly shocked by the kind of money in the pockets of Brooklynites.

  • Why an Elliman office from Manhattan beats out three Elliman offices in Brooklyn for this listing does not make sense. This happens over and over again. Perhaps senior management should question how the office managers are proactively training their agents. Part of the job is to track and anticipate potential properties within given areas and a strategy for acquiring such listing. Moreover, chances are an agent working in another county is not going to be as familiar with the given neighborhoods and therefore not represent the property as well as the local office.

  • wouldn’t the owners pick whichever agent they want?

  • Moreover, chances are an agent working in another county is not going to be as familiar with the given neighborhoods and therefore not represent the property as well as the local office.

    Posted by: foulplay at September 23, 2009 2:25 PM

    LOL…it seems that the majority of Brooklyn-based agents can’t get the details straight most of the time

  • It will be hard for this listing to stay up at this ask — 571 on the next block up is apparently now in contract after asking $1.2 million.

    Although the house was narrower than this one (16′ vs. 20′), it was no gut job. Also, that’s a much nicer block with townhouses on both sides.

    Maybe if this had a curb cut, it would get close to ask.

  • quote:
    ensuite bathroom in the Master Bedroom?

    two words.



  • To have this kind of discussion (again) makes me ecstatic.
    To discuss making money on a renovation, to even discuss a 2.3 million dollar house with a painted exterior near the AY makes me want to dance on rooftops! It’s back to the future! To even care about curb cuts and to argue about rodents! I guess the end of the world didn’t happen. I think the house is pretty hideous but who cares! AY will be such a dinky little thing now the discussion changes anyway. This made my day.

  • donatella–haha–totally. The world hasn’t endedd. Wheew.

  • I heard it was in contract and the buyer was Russian.

  • What “Atlantic Yards”? There are none. Right now, you have the Vanderbilt Yards that have been there for a long, long time.

    That is SOME paler than pale, mod, (dare I write “cool”?) interior! I would be afraid to serve red wine (or grape juice…or chocolate for that matter)! It’d be like a gallery opening: white one only. What a lot of extra cleaning…give me rumpled. Doesn’t show the dirt as much.

    ***Someday bid half off peak taglines!***

  • I know anyone who buys this can paint or do whatever, but right now, I find this vast expanse of arctic whiteness really cold and uninviting. And period detail means more than just holding onto the mantle pieces and the doors to me. If I were in the market, this would not appeal to me at all.

    That’s not a dis on the house, but just my personal taste. The house looks well done.

  • Agree parts seem cold and clinical. I hope all those floors and trim are real. Hard to tell without an in-person visit.

    And a powder room directly off the dining room? They are out of their minds.

  • The floors are too pale. The whole composition lacks contrast.

  • Hard to tell for sure, but from the pictures, looks like a decent renovation (though I agree about strangeness of the kitchen). I think I like those bleached (or whatever they are) floors. Looks like an airy feel without being to beach house-y.

    But may I complain about my photography pet peeve? OK, thanks: These picture were carefully taken by a professional. I realize that a somewhat wide angle is necessary, or else we’d be unable to see most of a room in one shot. But the extreme wide angle do a disservice to the property. Look at that parlor! Granted, it IS long and narrow. But it doesn’t have to look like a freakin hallway! And making the other rooms look SO gigantic — not attractive either. Some of that is lack of furniture, true. But an empty room does not have to look like an airplane hanger!

  • Carlton is not one of the better PH Avenues. The price is very aggressive. We’ll see…

  • yes, wasder, we take the cosmic view…. complaining about bad photography, stoopit-lookin’ fake historic renovations with super-duper modern kitchens, overpriced, rodent over-run, places for 2.3 million just makes me happy. I want to have them take a picture of me in those hallways doin’ cartwheels. yipeee…

  • donatella — you are exactly what those photos need! I’ve never met you, but I have no doubt you cartwheeling through the hallways would be magic.

    (NOT sarcastic!)

  • You could offset the mortgage by using the kitchen to moonlight as a chemistry lab. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  • Need soapstone counters then . . .

  • hideous and suburban. attractive to similarly hideous and suburban crowd. welcome to the new imagined brooklyn. unless a russian likes it it will never fetch this price.

  • Hideous and suburban . . . hm. Suburbs get such a bad rap, but what’s suburban about this?

  • nouveau riche and metro home mag aesthetics. guess what kind of buyer they have in mind. a real housewife.

  • A suburban style kitchen would be modern with traditional styling, such as French country cupboards — analogous to new but traditional furniture. A typical example would be lots of cherry cupboards with beveling, granite counters, downlights, and stainless steel appliances.

    This is modern, understated, cold and urban. It’s actually quite lovely, although a bit jarring in a brownstone. My office is similarly decorated. I don’t need it at home.

  • the kitchen is condo-like wall-off-appliances urban. just as hideous. it should go back to 5th ave.

  • the broker appears to be the owner, thus explaining why the manhattan broker. thus making even more perplexing why she’s misidentified the neighborhood and failed utterly to stage it appropriately.

    boerumresident – though i do agree that this ask is overambitious by a decent mark, i don’t think 571 carlton is a good comp at all. 571 is not only narrower and unrenovated (since at least 1978, according to property shark), it’s also got no rental, is a floor less and is on a lot that is 20′ shorter. agree that 571 is on a better block, but certainly nowhere near better enough to void the renovation and extra space and income potential.

  • Nomi, you are so right about housewives rocking!

  • great you should audition for next season!

  • Nomi, good points.


    I *used* to walk by this house until certain unnamed entities did away with our valuable Carlton Avenue Bridge.

    Maybe the new guy (ain’t that a show of desperation?! Poor Bruce!!!) will bring some taste into the project and insist on some decent urban planning and attractive structures…but I’m sure we’ll just be without a bridge or any way of crossing from Fort Greene to Prospect Heights/Flatbush Avenue/Park Slope for ages and won’t get anthing nice built…and if anything is ever built project-wise, the level of design will be based on lowest cost, not planning and decent taste. [Incidentally, does anyone know how much Mr. Gehry et al netted out of the project before leaving to spend more time with family?]

    Maybe they’ll deck the entire open area of the yards for parking, and maybe, just maybe, allow people to walk across the lot along what used to be the Carlton Avenue Bridge…or maybe it’ll have a gorgeous high chainlink fence around the entire “property” and we’ll have no access…?

    Anyway, to put it mildly, that block is a little sad. I’m not sure why people do such heavy-duty renovations (that, yes, might sell immediately elsewhere) in less than okay spots. And curb appeal? Someone? Could you paint the the front brown at least? Better, for that kind of asking price, strip the front and make sure the “brownstoning” is up to snuff…and replace the windows with deluxe historically appropriate/gorgeous versions…I’d even like to see windowboxes, shutters, etc.

    From trapsing back and forth looking at this house, I can say I would never have guessed at the level of renovation inside from the look of the outside.

    But anyway, dressing up the facade in a deluxe manner proably would have been more money thrown after bad. Can someone tell me the logic of pouring so much money into a project when it’s across from a parking lot already and what might be a 25 year building/parking site? I hate to have to point that out, but there it is. I guess in the heady moments two-three years ago the person who bought it for over a million dollars figured it was a “slam-dunk”…?

    To be quite honest, I could see this sitting and sitting and sitting unless a buyer is out with a very particular need for this location. And, sadly, if the seller cannot hold onto it for too much longer (not owner occupied so it’s sitting empty), it may end up selling near its 2006 price despite all the improvements. Do I sound like Miss Muffet? Held onto for three years and all those lega/professional fees (ugh!) and all the contractors, high-end finishes/appliances…I shudder thinking about it. All that might net the seller a couple of hundred thousand dollars…just not worth it. Maybe I’ll be proven wrong in my intuition and someone will snap this house up soon. I hope so.

    Obviously, the timing was off. If it had been bought for $400,000 in 1996 and sold, mildly renovated, for $1.6m in 2006, it would have made more sense (obviously…).

    This block has a really ugly infill double duplex from a year or two ago…it *could* have been nearly like the brownstones on either side but they stuck in a “Queens” special. Too bad.

    Generally parts of Prospect Heights are pretty nice but there’s a lot of yuckiness. It would have been good for the integrity of the architecture had it been landmarked in the 70s like Fort Greene. Prospect Heights is getting landmarking over 30 years later! Ugh!!! Meanwhile things have been torn down that should have been preserved…hint, hint.

    Oops, sorry, my droning came back to Fort Greene…I wonder how that happened.

    Brownstone’s painted face
    Charming look of yesteryear
    Lacks appeal today

    ***Someday bid half off bad haiku taglines***

  • not feeling this reno

  • you rock brooklyn greene

  • The renovation was completely under the table. unlicensed guys doing all plumbing electrical work. no permits, no inspections. mostly it is cosmetic, just painted old creaky stairs and patched walls. White stained floors that are more than a hundred years old. Tiny bathroom in the DR added without BD knowing. Location? That block has never sold anything near that price. If the inpsectors could open up those walls this place would cost 899,000.000.

    Bought in 2006 for 1.3, it has been vacant since. The renovation is entirely superficial. Anyone who has loked at it carefully will see this. When the rest ofthe country lost 20-40% in value since 2006, this place goes up 80%? Something is very fishy here.

    Not worth it based on locaction, size, and the shape it’s in. Not worth it based on the comps. Not worth it based on A.Yards. Just not worth it!

    The owner is also the broker. She is a rich lady. She owns a ranch in MOntana, a huge beach place in the hamptons, a condo on east 12th in Manhattan and a loft at newswalk. You can read where her wealth comes from here:

  • Consider this:

    1. The comp sales are no where near this address. They are not ‘comparable’ in any way. The brownstone a block away is listed at 1.2. This was bought at the height of the market for 1.25. It was refreshed with about 40k of cosmetic surgery. Add 1.25 = 40 and you get 1.29 million. Subtract anywhere from 10 – 30% for the market correction and you get a realistic price. New developments are now selling for as little as 380.00 a sf and this is more like 700.00. This agent / seller doesn’t have a clue.
    2. The house is directly across from a 10 year construction site parking lot. Atlantic yards or whatever replaces it will be your neighbor for a decade. NOISE – NOISE and DIRT.

    All in all It seems that the sales team either doesn’t have a clue about Brooklyn or the seller is being totally unrealistic about the value. There are lots of better, nicer, better located building for a lot less. Keep looking!