The Adams Mansion Sells for Ask


The sale of the Adams Mansion, at 117 8th Avenue in Park Slope, just hit public records. The magic number? $5,990,000, exactly what the building was asking in April. The home went into contract in three days, and we’re pretty surprised it didn’t sell over ask. To put the number in perspective, the totally rundown corner townhouse at 187 7th Avenue sold for $4,200,000 (plus whatever building violation fines the developers had to pay off) and the Beaux Arts mansion down the street is asking $15 million, down from $25 million. 117 8th Avenue, considered one of the finest Romanesque Revival private homes in the city, is currently configured as a 10-unit building. It was delivered to the buyer vacant. We hear there’s plenty of interior detail left inside; here’s hoping that the new buyer puts this gem to good use.
Adams Mansion Goes to Contract in Three Days [Brownstoner]
House of the Day: 117 8th Avenue [Brownstoner]

33 Comment

  • expert_textpert

    Comparatively, $6M for this house is a bargain.

  • East New York

    That exterior could use a facelift.

  • Bought by a hedgefund guy and his wife. I assume they’ll do a full reno, inside and out. Hopefully retain all that glorious interior detail.

  • Yes, in this bizarrely twisted market, the price is a relative bargain. But price perspective?–there’s no comparison between 187 7th Avenue and the Adams Mansion. 187 is a mixed use commercial and residential building, and was built that way. The Adams Mansion, duh, is not and was not. 187 will be a gold mine for its developer. Violations on both buildings. I second gopherblue’s hope that the new owner retain the mansion’s glorious interior detail.

  • minard

    It’s a biggish house. Hope the buyers have a large family and many friends.

  • NeoGrec

    Is it just me or is there something a little distasteful about a building that once offered 10 homes being converted (one assumes) into a single family house. Maybe the hedgie could open a foster home for underprivileged kids there?

    • East New York

      I don’t see a problem. Is one required to perform philanthropy based on the size of the home they purchase?

      • NeoGrec

        In London, when you buy a formerly multi-unit building with the intention of returning it to single-family home, you’re required to replace the housing that’s lost. Thus, the purchaser of a 5-story townhouse in Notting Hill (they now sell for about $12m) had to buy another property of the same size in the same borough to “replace” the lost units.

    • Don’t talk like that, Neu Brooklyn hates that. Homes are supposed to be huge, tons of bathrooms, commercial grade kitchens and those of moderate means can suck it and get out.

    • rcltrh

      I’m the opposite. Distasteful to me was taking what was once a grand and beautiful single family house and chopping it up into 10 tiny shoebox apartments. In most other parts of the USA this wouldn’t necessarily be considered abnormal sized. Yes, it is large, but drive down main streets of any southern city and you’ll see similar sizes all for half a mil or less, many with one old widow living there alone. I hope they do restore it to what it was when it was built and are happy there. Some people like room to spread out, and if they have the means to afford it more power to them.

      • “Some people like room to spread out, and if they have the means to afford it more power to them.”
        Yeah. And everyone who does not have the means, get out of Brooklyn. You are holding everything up for the rich who want-and will get-everything they want at your expense. Buh-bye, enjoy the suburbs.

        • rcltrh

          I’d like to have a winter home in BelAir, and maybe a nice townhouse in the UES, maybe in the 70′s. But I don’t have the means, and I’m ok with that as much as I’d like to own in either of those places.. So yeah, I guess that is how it works. Sounds like sour grapes. Sorry, but Brooklyn in some areas (and all of Manhattan) has become Beverly Hills East. There are still places for people to buy without having to chop up nice big homes into studio SROs.

          I’m not leaving for the suburbs. I have a whole townhouse (formerly a 2 family) in Williamsburg and it does feel good to spread out inside my 3 story house.

          • It is sour grapes, absolutely. I’ve seen many friends who were here for the “bad” days priced out, and I’m one of them as of November, because we didn’t put making millions of dollars the #1 priority in our lives. Glad the multi millionaires finally appreciate the area I’ve called home my entire adult life. Us “quirky artist types” that helped make Brooklyn the sort of area hedge fund people like are no longer needed. Congratulations on your townhouse, I wouldnt move if I had that either.

          • rcltrh

            In all seriousness, why didn’t you buy years and years ago if you’ve been here so long? Our best friend paid $64,000 for his whole townhouse in Williamsburg in the 90′s. We obviously paid more than that, but reastically 1/3 of what houses on our street are selling for now – partly because houses were cheaper 3-4 years ago, and partly because we had to do a total rehab of every single room. However, we did it 99.9% ourselves without having to hire a soul (except for some structural reconfiguring) and lived in dirt, debris, and without a kitchen for over a year. We are not rich by no means, but bought something that was equivalent to the rent we were paying and then fixed it up one room at a time. We knew we were here for the next 30+ years and wanted something historic and nice. That’s what we have now and not for millions of dollars. I don’t begrudge those who do make millions and can afford to restore old houses to their former glory though. I’ll never make that much money but it doesn’t bother me that others do.

          • It doesn’t bother me that others make a lot of money-it bothers me that at least half those I know either have been priced out or, like me, are about to be. I was 19 when I first moved here in the early 90s, had $500 and crashed on couches. Buying then was not an option to say the least. I understand-it happens, not everyone deserves to live in such a fine borough. There are winners and there are losers.

          • rcltrh

            I do sympathize, empathize, whatever the correct term would be here. And I’m not sure there is a viable solution for people who rent other than simply moving to another still-cheaper neighborhood. Greed seems a highly motivating thing for most landlords, even ones who have lived in these neighborhoods themselves for decades during the “bad times.” I can say, our friend has a very nice 2 BR apt on the top floor of his townhouse here in WB and he has had the same tenant in it since the 90′s who still pays around $1000 a month. He only increased his rent to this amount after he refinanced the house for some upgrades and repairs. So there are landlords who are not greedy. He could easily get $3-$4K for the apt. I do believe, as in real estate anywhere, if you plan to live in an area longer than 6 years, you are better off buying even if you have to beg, borrow, or work 2 jobs to scape together the down payment and closing. And likewise I realize that is hard for some folks to do, especially good people in the arts who work for intrinsic and altruistic purposes rather than monetary gains. I’m not sure of the answer, but I don’t believe someone buying this old big house and turning it into a nice roomy family home is pushing more folks from Brooklyn. I could be wrong.

    • It was originally single family, and the “units” were studios / rooms

    • mrsmansonmingott

      I had a friend who lived in one of the “studios.” The place was not much different aesthetically from a boarding house, with each apartment essentially taking up one of the vast rooms of the original layout. The house was designed and built as a single-family home and returning it to its roots is not distasteful–it will save this lovely house from further deterioration. Just because a house is large and can be chopped up into many crappy little studios does not mean that is the best outcome for a place like this. Is it tasteful social justice when a historic house is divided into units by a landlord who only wants to extract as much profit from them without ever carrying out necessary maintenance? I applaud the buyer who seems to want to spend buckets of money to restore a house that already cost buckets of money. Besides, this isn’t post-Revolutionary Russia in which mansions get turned into rabbit warrens for ditch diggers to stick it to the rich. I wish I could have afforded to buy this house and return it to its former glory, but I think it is refreshingly tasteful that an actual rich person is going to make it a home worthy of its past.
      Despite the studio-fication, years of grime, and neglect, this house was covered in stunning architectural detail. It only takes cash–and lots of it–to revive a beauty like this place.

  • This is actually two houses. The Adams family of Chicklets fame had the 8th Ave side built for another Adams family member. I have no idea if that division was honored when the houses were divided into apartments, or if the new owners will blow the whole thing open. In any case, it’s some house, and I too hope that they keep as much detail as possible, and put the house on the Park Slope housetour someday. I’d drive down from Troy to see that in a minute.

    That said, I do share the hope that they can do something for the community they are joining. Not because they bought a big house, or are obviously rich, but because paying it forward is a good thing to do.

  • I lived very near this house for many years, and always appreciated its beauty while walking past it multiple times a day. It has an amazing amount of original stained glass, still there. I always assumed it was one house, though it had large entry doors on both Carroll St. and 8th Ave., at least that’s how it was described in neighborhood lore.
    I could have sworn it was coops, and indeed a little further reading of old brownstoner posts on here tells me that the part of the entire building with the doorway facing 8th Ave. is indeed a coop building, with the address of 115 8th Ave. So, presumably, this rental that sold is just the house with the doorway facing Carroll St, at 117 8th Ave. Not the “double house” the realtor listing refers to, but rather half of the original “double house.”
    The Park Slope landmarking report from the 70′s describes it as being built at once as a “double house,” with the 8th Ave. side having been built for an Adams who was a relative to live in. I wonder if the houses were connected on some levels or totally separate to begin with – I have this idea the ground floors may have been connected for the servants to move back and forth, but who knows. And I wonder if it connected on other levels. Interestingly, it was clearly built as one piece, and the address 119 8th Ave. associated with the entire parcel as well (it was referred to as such when Montrose wrote it up as a house of the day), and the landmarks report calls it 115-119 8th Ave.

  • As to delivering it vacant, presumably the units were rent-stabilized at least, if not some still rent-controlled (unless the owner pursued a strategy of ending rent stabilization due to value/tenant income) and/or raising rents through capital improvements, (which doesn’t look like has been done here), in which case the the owner likely had enough income coming from the huge sales price to incent the tenants to leave with payments.

  • If the internets are to be believed, buyer is a brother of the Brooklyn interior designer one written about on this site (I knew that name sounded familiar), and they have a bunch of kids, so that bodes well for owner-occupancy (perhaps outgrowing the already huge place bought in Tribeca a few years back?) – unless they’ve gone into real estate development, which is kinda unlikely, given how more is to be made much more easily in his current line of work.
    That says nothing, of course, about whether one wants to create a modern white box inside as many do. Though I don’t think those who want to do that would buy a place as unsmooth and unmodern as this exterior, with all that character (the stained glass is the least of it on this exterior) just to ruin it.

  • For sure. I know price/sqft goes down as size of property goes up. But this does seem quite modest.

  • Have heard from a broker for weeks that this is a family from Tribeca with 5 kids and he plans on bringing the house back to its original look. He is one of 7 siblings that live in NYC… I don’t see how this isn’t good for the neighborhood….