House of the Day: 580 Carlton Avenue

580-Carlton-Avenue-0211.jpgHere’s an interesting one…This 1850s house at 580 Carlton Avenue in Prospect Heights just hit the market with an attention-getting asking price of $499,000. The reason for the low price, first and foremost, has to be the fact that the listings exhorts potential buyers to “Bring your architect and prepare to rebuild.” Translation: The interior is shot. The house is also on the small side and within a few blocks, but not right on top of, Atlantic Yards. Still, could be an interesting project for the right person!
580 Carlton Avenue [Corcoran] GMAP P*Shark

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  • delepp

    There must be some joy in seeing $500K ignite in front of your eyes.

  • it’s also in the historic district. i wonder how much of the current facade will have to remain as is.

  • interior AND exterior, and the house next door is in even worse shape, meaning your reno would be even more complicated (or not, maybe?!). short house on a short lot…

    that said, if you had the cash it could be a very cool project to restore this. location is great (setting aside AY) – very close to trains, vanderbilt and north slope.

  • Facade is grandfathered in. One would not have to change anything, if they were just repairing. If they wanted to put an entirely new facade on it, that’s a different story, and would need to present to first the CB, then the LPC.

    I wish they would still put interior photos on the site, even if the place is a gut. Which is always in the eye of the beholder, anyway. I’ve seen people talk about gutting places that did not need anything as drastic as a gut. If I were in the market, a couple of dreadful photos are still more intriguing than nothing at all. But that’s just me.

  • more4less

    rebuild a historic house in landmark district, isnt this like mega bucks and a long time to complete it?

    $1M to tear down and rebuild? 18 month construction time? pure guesses on my part

  • This place has been on the market for quite a while, maybe 4+ months. They might have pulled it off market, but I definitely looked at its listing last fall, maybe late summer.

  • that’s between St. marks & Bergen, like right across the street (caddy-corner) from James restaurant. Not a bad location at all considering that Carlton Avenue will essentially dead-end at Pacific, meaning no through traffic to Atlantic. I think Atlantic Yards project is a minute consideration for potential buyer.

  • The place is not just a simple rehab. I think this is a tear down. There is soaked in water damage throughout the property inside. No one has lived in there since the 70s. The owner should sell both properties (he/she owns the neighboring house too) and allow someone to tear them down and make something interesting. Otherwise you have a place no one can live in and can’t be teared down since it is pretty much fused with the neighboring property.

  • more4less

    lincolnslope, so someone is living in that other house – ie next to a house which is likely moldy given bad water damage?

  • This is a tear down. All of the framing is shot, rot had its way long ago.

  • BrooklynButler

    Montrose, gotta agree that Carlton is a great street, but I don’t know, this house seems trashed. And if what i_disagree and LincolnSlope say is true, you’re looking at major structural and systems work.

    Maybe $250,000 with another $500,000 for all the work it needs. $750,000 isn’t that bad for a house with no remaining historic details that is located within the shadow of AY.

  • i spoke to the realtor when this was lister at 699K. It is a “complete teardown”. I think it may be in a historic district, too…

  • this really isn’t in the shadow of AY, and either way i think you’d find that the closing prices of recent sales in this immediate vicinity don’t support much of a discount on that basis.

  • stuyheightsarch

    I think this is the oldest House in Prospect Heights. I use to live around the corner from this place.. I am sure it needs much work.

  • Butler, it may well be a gut job, as per comments of those who are more familiar with the actual property. My comment was more in mind of those who think anything that’s not in pristine condition like many $3MM Park Slope properties, is in need of a total gut.

    Even if one does have to totally rebuilt this house, seems like making it a million dollar house is still a good deal, for the location. Since that’s more money than I have access to, it’s all rhetorical to me, anyway. I just like to see what’s savable saved.

  • I called the listing agent back in 2009 when the listing price was close to $900K and I was told that it was too dangerous for a walkthrough.

  • This house doesn’t look so bad to me. It looks straight and plumb and occupied. It may have some leak damage inside but that does not mean it needs to be torn down. Imagine if every house that has had bad interior water damage in Brooklyn had been torn down? The Landmarks Commission would not permit a tear down anyway.
    The facade is nice, if I bought it I would restore a wooden stoop and a Greek revival entry on the parlor level. I would also add a setback rooftop addition with a roof garden. It is a nice wide house. When renovating an old house like this it doesn’t really matter that much if you have to replace 20% of the joists or 50%.

  • BrooklynButler

    When a REALTOR says that it’s in need of a rebuild, then it’s in need of a complete rebuild.

  • I used to live around the corner from this place. There is nothing straight nor plumb about it. It’s a sad, sagging shack attached to another house in a similar state of disrepair.

    Tear it down and build something new. And have fun with the LPC while you’re at it.

  • more4less

    I agree with BKButler. when agent says it’s tear down (aka rebuild), I would tend to believe it

  • babs

    Carlton is to dead-end at Pacific? News to me. Does this mean the Rat is never going to put back the Carlton Avenue bridge as promised?

  • Good point, babs.
    My understanding is that Carlton will again become the rush-hour traffic madhouse that it was pre-Ratner.
    Isn’t that what’s planned?

  • babs

    And most likely the traffic will become much worse (especially on game nights!), as is the case for all surrounding streets.

  • NeoGrec

    There are so many problems here, where to begin?

    The two houses are owned by the same family who have neglected them for decades. The only resident (a family member) died about 3-4 years ago. The family dithered until after landmarking had come into effect and put this one up for sale for $899k. Now the big reduction — and not before time! But it still makes no sense to buy just one and be next door to an eyesore that’s also a fire trap. They need to put them both on the market to stand a chance of making a sale.

    Neighbors had encouraged the family to sell up years ago — back in the day when renovations weren’t so costly, and a long time before landmarking. Both houses are truly teardowns. Viwed from the rear, they are little more than tar paper shacks. If I had the cash, I’d love to rebuild them as wood-frame reproductions perhaps with mansard roofs to get in an extra floor. But unless an angel comes along (and the family agrees to sell both properties) I doubt now that anything will happen until they collapse and are demolished.

    Yes, Amzi, I believe that since the demo of a sweet old woodframe farmhouse that dated from the 1830s-40s, on St Marks btw Vanderbilt and Underhill, these are now the oldest houses in the neighborhood.

  • I was in meetings all day. God I can’t wait to retire. I saw the photo of this house and thought I might add something. Thank you Grand Army for setting the record straight a bit.

    Indeed, an elderly gentleman lived here for many, many years, got older and finally, the inevitable…I remember when the the police had tape up on the doorway. At the time I assumed he passed away in his home.

    Whenever I passed by, we always said hello. He seemed to be out in front of the house quite a bit. Even then, quite a number of years ago, when he had the door ajar, a mildewy, heavy odor emanated from the interior. Poor thing living in that! I got a glimpse in once or twice.

    This was years ago, so I would assume the house, being empty, is really falling in on itself.

    Now… I don’t think this is a short lot, is it? I always thought it was fairly deep. I hope someone can do something with this, and soon!

  • I have construction experience in NJ that is in some ways similar. In NJ there are “grandfathered” houses that are directly waterfront, that by current NJ DEP regulations would need to be 250′ buffered from Mean high water or wetlands designation.

    So we have rebuilt some of these homes leaving one wall standing (in this case the front facade). So I am suggesting that basically new construction can support and rebuild the existing front wall if necessary to satisfy landmark requirements, while allowing for a relatively blank slate for future layouts.

    With a row house it would be tricky demo’ing the entire rear, but if nothing else is saveable, it can be done.

  • Nomi

    What would an empty lot cost?

  • Isn’t it always the case when a house in the expensive part of Brooklyn is listed for something affordable sounding, $400,000 or so, it’s always a complete tear down because of extensive termite or water damage. So it’s still overpriced.

  • NeoGrec

    Yes, a sensible way to look at this would be the value of the lot. Any buyer would be well advised to approach Landmarks in advance and see whether the agency would be prepared to work with them and allow some flexibility. Otherwise, the task becomes too Sisyphean. But truly, unless you could buy both buildings it just wouldn’t be worthwhile.

  • What drugs is brooklynbutler on? “$500,000 for renovation.” I was actually in contract for $450,000 and thought it would be a good deal. Then, met with architects AND, more importantly, Landmarks Preservation rep. House is supposedly “one of the oldest in the neighborhood” and “has historical significance”. Translated, the means $$$ and also cannot build much bigger than it is right now, which is very small. Total disgusting shambles inside (about to fall down), but will be hard to tear down with LPC. Front facade will have to be restored to old grandeur. Bottom line, Good Luck. We got out of contract and are glad we did. If someone wants to spend well over a million, and fight with LPC for years, more power to you.

  • Selling the space as a lot is the only rational approach at this point. The house has been neglected for so long and consequently is in such poor condition that LPC cannot realistically hope that anyone will spend the money to restore the house. As in many other cases they now have the choice to be intransigent and allow the house to sit there, unsold, until fire or water take it to the ground or else acknowledge reality and allow someone to replace it with something livable. Having worked with the LPC before my bet is that they stick to their guns and demand that the house remain as is, an eyesore and potential danger to passers by, rather than approving a new, neighborhood sensitive design. When it comes to architecture age does not intrinsically confer value and it is a mystery to me why when it comes to development so many people insist that looking backwards is better than looking forward.