Dixon to Restore Spectacular Bed Stuy Wreck

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We were surprised and delighted to hear Australian investment firm Dixon plans to restore the unusually lavish but far-gone limestone at 259 Decatur Street in Bed Stuy, an estate sale and a flip that was boarded up and open to the elements for decades. The landmarked 1895 Renaissance Revival house was designed by architects Axel Hedman and Magnus Dahlander.

“We will be preserving and restoring this house back to the grand beautiful one-family that it once was,” Managing Director and CEO of Dixon Leasing Alan Dixon told us. “We have yet to appoint an external architect but our preliminary plans will create a four-bedroom, 4.5-bathroom single family residence over some 4,423 square feet. None of the original beautiful fabric of the house will be lost and it will be restored to its former glory.”

We have to give them props for taking on a project that does not look easy. When we toured the house, every level appeared to have some kind of water damage, and the floor of the dining room on the garden level bounced when someone walked by in the hallway. There is much spectacular detail to preserve, including an elaborate entry, a church-like middle parlor, a built-in icebox and quirky shelves in the butler’s passthrough, and a stained glass window in an upper-floor bathroom.

After an LLC bought it for $875,000 from an estate in February, it was on the market asking $1,699,000 all cash or at least 40 percent down. Dixon closed in May for $1,650,000.

We also noticed Dixon has started work at 605 Decatur, a small single-family house that was also in very poor condition but with a lot of detail when Dixon bought it last year. When we passed by last week, there was a construction fence up around the property and a Dumpster outside.

For those of you keeping score at home, Dixon now owns a total of 73 properties in Brooklyn, including 29 in Bed Stuy, 11 in Crown Heights, 10 in Bushwick and eight in Park Slope. More will be coming on the rental market soon.

Click through to the jump to see the preliminary restoration plans and photos of the interior from our visit.

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25 Comment

  • Yay! Deep pockets are needed, and Dixon has a great track record for excellent restorations, while making the houses new for 21st century needs. If only more developers followed their lead. Too bad they didn’t buy 875 St. Marks in Crown Heights, instead of the tasteless bunch who gutted every last piece of detail out of a detail-rich house.

  • saw their vehicles outside their house @ 36 Rutland Road in PLG this week as well. first time ive noticed anyone there since they purchased it

  • You gotta wonder when an estate sells the place for $875K in February, and it sells again for $1,650K in May. Did the estate get the right value? Did the other heirs (if there were any) know the actual value? Or is there some sort of tax dodge going on with the sale for a low figure?

    • Well this only speaks to something I mentioned b4, which is that there were and still are deals out there. You just have to know where and how to look. Granted this property needs a lot of work, but it’ll be worth it for sure!

  • love this house… tons of work to do, yes, but so much is still intact. good for them for doing this the right way–going to be spectacular when they’re done.

  • Please Keep the photos coming! This place has so much intact. Personally I might nixed those cabinets on what looks like the basement level or relocate them in some way. That space is way through way is way too narrow. Oh boy, but soo much work to be done.

    • That’s the butler’s passthrough/pantry between the kitchen and dining room on the garden floor. It’s not that narrow and is kind of a cool, strange feature I haven’t seen before. Plus it’s in decent enough condition, so they can just paint it and it’ll be fine.

  • I’m baffled by why some of these companies think that removing the details is a good business decision (like 875 St Marks). Don’t people pay more for the details intact?
    For some truly mind-boggling renovations, check out what’s going on in San Francisco.
    http://sf.curbed.com/archives/2014/06/11/this_totally_bonkers_cow_hollow_flip_added_10m_to_its_price.php

    • I 100% agree with u, it’s as if these Developer’s have lost touch with the market. Making a ultra swanky bachelor pad with a subzero fridge does not equal more bucks necessarily. There is a large market interested in fully intact townhouses. These Devs. seem to be oblivious of this. Dixon is definitely cornering and catering to this market which is why their doing so well and could afford to over pay for a flip like this given no work was put in btwn the 875K and 1.65 million price leap. Granted for a gem like this 1 million is not a bad price, but as a flip I’d feel ripped off.

    • Many developers don’t care. They tell me this all the time. Dixon I really respect for understand the history of a building and what it means. I am glad this building is going to be loved!

      • Certainly they care if, because of the intact details, they can get an extra 500k for the house!
        Are any developers taking flipped houses which have no details, and actually adding them back in? Does anyone actually add wainscoting to a plain dining room?

        • I have seen them add it in certain neighborhoods, but rare and generally not done well. Also so unnecessary, basic upgrades in a nice house will take that Dev. a long way….

      • Soo tru, and am glad as well. But the crazy part to me is that they expend more money doing these crap reno’s for a flip, when less is so much more. Upgrade the mechanical and repair the plaster and leave it at that, let the owner do the rest. Cause the design choices they make are horrible 8/10 times.

        • Agree. On the average flip, assuming decent structural integrity to start, I think they could spend the same or less and get a much bigger return if they left everything intact and skimcoated rather than demo’d every wall and put in new floors and sheetrock. (They’d still have to upgrade mechanicals, baths and kitchens.) Problem is, they need someone on staff who is good with skimcoating, which means they need to pay them more than a day laborer they just picked up off the street. They also need to use PlasterWeld and fiberglass mesh. They know how to sheetrock but they are unfamiliar with these methods. They are not difficult though.

  • Wow. This place will be amazing when the restoration is done.

  • It’s also true, though, that some people buy houses filled w/ gorgeous detail & rip them to shreds. One on my block had been restored by 2 fine artists over a period of 16 years – everything was authentic, not repro. New buyer gutted it & it’s now non-descript modern.

  • the amount of buildings with detail that i have seen dixon gut, makes me not believe this story.

    • I was thinking the very same thing, dear, but hope springs eternal. The detail in this place is so abundant and so complete, it would be such a shame to lose it.

    • They’ve done a nice job restoring and renovating at least two that I have seen. If you look at their plans for this one, you can see they intend to take out the kitchen cabinets opposite the fireplace in the kitchen but much as I love original kitchen cabinets I have to agree this is probably the best move. It also looks like they mean to have some kind of huge door leading out to the garden? Hopefully not a ’70s style sliding door.

    • They gutted a TON of original details from the building next door to me. Granted — not all of it went into teh dumpster – they gave a bunch to a guy a couple blocks away – but still.