Bed Stuy Mansion to Ask $6 Million

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It’s one of Bed Stuy’s most prominent and notable buildings, a true mansion built by a wealthy inventor, and it’s going on the market in September. The owner of 247 Hancock Street, Claudia Moran, a retired advertising exec, moved here in the ’80s from Chelsea and can tell story after story about the building.

it was an illegal SRO when she bought it with a down payment of $7,500. It took 18 months to close. She has restored it inside and out. Although she is 72 (she doesn’t look a day over 50), she maintains the extensive garden with English roses and a koi pond herself.

Sharon Stone shot a movie there, it has been the site of many fashion shoots and weddings, and President Cleveland once stopped by. Known as the Moran Victorian Mansion and the John C. Kelley House, after the water-meter mogul who built it, it is occasionally rented out for events and photo shoots. It’s a single family house with two kitchens and the top floor is currently rented although it will be delivered vacant. The owner said she plans to retire to her native Jamaica.

The house is 40 feet wide by 47 feet deep and sits on a 81-by-100 square foot lot. Sadly, this block and this building are not yet landmarked, but they should be. Montrose Morris’ own house was across the street and many of his buildings are still here. He designed this house also, in the mid to late 1880s. The Neo-Renaissance architecture with Romanesque Revival features was notably in advance of its time.

The listing will go up in early September, real estate agent Ban Leow of Halstead, who has known the owner for years, told us. The ask: $6,000,000.

Click through to the jump for a more recent photo.

Building of the Day: 247 Hancock Street [Brownstoner]
The Queen of Hancock Street [Brownstoner]
Photo by Christopher Bride for PropertyShark

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Photo by Ban Leow

38 Comment

  • She is going to have quite the ROI.

  • Much as I hate the insanity that is the Brooklyn real estate market right now, stories like these make me happy. I love that she saw a building worth saving and is going to get a good return on all of her hard work.

  • Gorgeous house and a lovely restoration. Attended a wedding here once and was very impressed. That was when Claudia had that hunky contractor renovating the top floor apartment in exchange for reduced rent.

  • I see a movie or play about this building – someone please do it
    great building – can’t wait to see it

  • i doubt this will sell for $6mm. people with that kind of money do not want to live on Hancock and Marcy, they want to live on Montgomery Place or one of the fruit streets in BK heights.

    • This property will Sadly be sold to a Developer, and most likely not an end user given the price and the neighborhood. Good for the owner though, at least she will reap the benefits. I imagine there was a buyout agreement for the Architect renting the top floor.

      • and you think the developer will chop this into condos?

      • While she might sell to someone like Dixon, who would more or less leave it as is, I don’t see her going for the first potential buyer who is a known developer. I can’t imagine Claudia would sell her house to someone looking to chop it up into condos.

        • MM, I think she might. I’ve heard from many close sources that’s she been sick of the neighborhood for a while … so this sale is kind of a longtime coming. I would hope she would have discretion, but I strongly doubt at this price point it will end up in the hands of what we all see as the ideal. From what I’ve seen of the Broker – Dixon will probably buy.

  • In 1983, well before Ms Moran bought the house, my Mom and I looked at it. It was empty, and had been an SRO, and was a mess. There were partitions and kitchenettes everywhere, some of the floors were badly warped, and to say it needed work is an understatement. In spite of all that, you could still see it was a magnificent place. Unfortunately, the owner wanted $300K at a time when houses on the block and in the neighborhood were going for around $75-80K. Granted, it was larger than your average brownstone, and sits on four lots, but still… With the amount of work needed, it was too steep for us. I wish we had had the money.

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    Ms Moran bought it several years later, for much less, I believe, and look what she’s done. I’ve been in there, too, and it is a great house. This house and the block are calendared, but not landmarked. It should have been done years ago, and I hope the new commissioner makes it her first act – a vote on landmarking this important part of Brooklyn. I congratulate Ms Moran on restoring a gem, and for being able to make a great return on years of hard work. I agree with cay, prices are absurd now, but this is a special house and a great reward for hard work and a love of history and place, whatever the selling price ends up being.

  • A mansion like this — and if the former Otto Seidenberger House at 375 Stuyvesant one day sells — will probably be bought by a developer and divided into apartment units, right?

  • I think condos would be a great use. It is far too big for one family these days. Bring more people to the neighborhood to support and enjoy services. Well maintained it would still have a positive impact on the neighborhood. Why do most of us care what is going on inside? A respectful renovation and reuse will maximize the number of people who get to enjoy it. No need to fetishize single family use which was essentially based upon a skewed distribution of income and the availability of cheap servants. (Oops we still have one of those!)

    • I have no problem with people condo-ing buildings that are already chopped up, or need so much work that much of the original will be lost anyway. It’s unfortunate, but I get that. The top floor of the house is already a great apartment. That leaves three floors, including the basement, of living space. I’ve been in there, yes, there is a lot of room, but it would be easily taken up by a family with several children or an extended family. I would hate to tear up the inside to subdivide it into apartments.

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      I’m still crying over 875 St. Marks, which was a beautiful single family home that was gutted for multiple condo units, leaving no original detail whatsoever. This is a special property. It’s the only large free-standing mansion in the neighborhood. It was the trophy property of a poor Irish immigrant who made good. Chopping it up into condos does not do anything to help housing in Bed Stuy. I hope a new owner keeps it as is, whether that is Dixon or a private owner.

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      While one need not fetishize mansions for a time of great unequal distribution of income, that doesn’t mean we have to plow them under for that, either. Even Cuba kept its great houses after Castro took over. Sometimes history needs to be kept, and if this house ends up being some rich guy’s pad, I’m alright with that if it means they restore it and keep it as it always was.

      • someone buying this and using as a single family is gross. we need more housing units. this is a good opportunity to do so without giving developers tax break BJs for building disgusting new construction.

        • (someone buying NOW – at that price – no judgement on the current owner who sounds nice)

        • Sorry, DH, but I don’t see how making this four, six, eight luxury condos does anything for the housing market.

          I do agree with the rest of your statement, although I wouldn’t have put it that way. : )

          • I agree with DH. As wealthier people move into the area, the trend seems to be making these once two (and in some cases, three family homes) into single family ones since many of these new wave of all cash buyers do not want/need the additional rental income to offset the mortgage amount. I think that’s another component to a lot of this BK housing shortage. If a tasteful conversion was done, I see no issue in this. Having five or six apartments, perhaps three bedrooms if space allows would bring six more affordable apartments (affordable by BK standards) and bring six new families to the market with middle class means rather then catering to one uber rich family and it helps offset the trend.

          • Brooklyn brawler, if you really think this property would be converted into any kind of affordable housing for people of middle class means, I have a very pretty bridge to offer you. Only one owner.

            Again, making this building 6 apartments, or 12 apartments is not going to affect the state of housing in Bed Stuy Brooklyn. This is a special property, with great historic provenance. I don’t want to see it chopped up again. If it had already been 4 or 6 apartments, that’s one thing, but it’s not, it is essentially a two family house. I hope it stays that way. There are plenty of Bed Stuy building, many right in this neighborhood, that are ripe for apartments. Unfortunately, they aren’t going to be all that affordable, either, if the listings on Brownstoner are any indication.

          • You missed my point entirely. The trend of converting Multi family brownstones into single family homes, has a devastating effect inventory. And many, including Jonathan Miller, believe that this lack of inventory is what is creating this lack of affordability. When a home that was possibly designed to house three apartments gets converted into one massive home, that effects three families, whether they be renters, or purchasers.
            I feel like a property like this, despite its architectural significance, could possibly offset the current trend of unit consolidation and assist with inventory. Not saying it will solve the issue, but on a micro level, it does assist say six families that want a two plus bedroom rather then one family looking for an amazing mansion.
            Personally, while I think preservation is important, saving the original floor plan that only one family would be able appreciate is of much less importance that allevation some of this much needed demand for inventory. Not saying that they are affordable by your standards, especially since the average apartment is above the one mill mark in Brooklyn, but it is hell of a lot more affordable than 6M.

  • $6M eh? I’ll put $20 that this becomes a condo conversion.

  • Wow, beautiful! I want a bar like that in my house!

  • If it has at least 10 or more bed rooms I think it makes an awesome bed and breakfast.

  • I don’t see any problem with one family buying this place and living there, especially if they would keep it historically intact. What’s the difference between this and some huge mansion on Long Island or Westchester? I can also see it as condos. Whatever works for the buyer. Just glad to hear a hard-working local lady made good.

  • From my quick look at the DOB records it is actually a legal 4 family, the plans filed to convert to a one have not been finalized.

  • This house is indeed special. No need to slice and dice this gem – it should be purchased to be a jewel to attract others to the profound beauty of the neighborhood. A clarion call, if you will. I remember when Barbara Corcoran, herself, purchased a huge limestone on Stuyvesant to put her stamp of commitment on Bed Stuy. While it took several years for that to seem relevant, this one will have an instant effect if shared as it should be – the way Miss Claudia did it, but taking it further and making it a more professional and consistent endeavor. The block is one of the best in Brooklyn with a variety of jaw-dropping manses on it: some arguably as attractive, though not as large as this one. As a single family home, it will rival the fictional abode of the Tannenbaums, and provide a backdrop for a truly creative family to live a dream, like no other. I’ve been gobsmacked before in my wrongness when assessing real estate in Bed Stuy and I’m prepared to be again. Enjoy your next chapter, Miss Claudia – you are an elegant enchantress with vision – such a rarity these days – every bit the beautiful character your home is.

  • Get real. If it ended up as a one family that cost six million dollars, it would be a trophy property for some investor who doesn’t know any better. It would not be lived in. The inventor would not shop locally, or send their kids to public school.

    It might not be a much prettier truth by any perspecrives, but the best a house at this price and on this neighborhood can hope for now is to be chopped up into sad, depressing condos that cost about 700k for 10 square feet each. At least the open kitchen and giant bathroom trends are dyong, so they might be livable.

    Four or five of those, couples with incomes enough to afford that but not brooklyn waldorf, and that would probably “help” the neighborhood. Now that basically that’s where this neighborhood is at–being a choice between being full of oligarchs or being park slope c. 2003.

    • Sorry Heather, but I think you and the others chomping at the bit for chopping it up are totally wrong. You all talk like converting this house into apartments is going to be some kind of clarion call towards affordable housing. Or more housing. It’s not. All it will do is destroy the interior of a one of a kind property. It’s not going to help the neighborhood in any possible way, shape, or form, other than occupation.

      .

      I don’t understand why everyone is so hell bent on chopping this place up. Before this article ran, and before Claudia decided to sell, she was rattling around in her house by herself for years, (even before the top floor tenant) and no one was crying that she was impeding the implementation of affordable housing. Most people did not even know she was there, or that this house even existed. There are lots of single people, lots of families who live in entire houses. So what? They are in the minority, compared to the majority of homes that are multiple families, but who said people can’t luxuriate in a space that they paid for when no one else wanted it, or inherited, or whatever? I lived by myself in a small Neo-Grec one family for 10 years by myself, just around the corner. It was great, and I lived in and used every single room.

      .

      I also think that there are wealthy people willing to take a chance on Bed Stuy, and would buy this place for themselves. Not everyone is uptight about not having 5 star restaurants on the corner, or paranoid about living in the ‘hood. Is it worth 6 mill? I really don’t think so, but I think Claudia will find a buyer who makes an offer that will suit her just fine. I also predict it will either be Dixon, or a private owner who intends to live there. At least, that is what I hope.

      • I don’t like seeing houses chopped up any more than you do, Montrose. But there’s a tipping point, before we get to the tipping point where really rich people want to have giant houses, where places like this get chopped up into condos. Apologies for the somewhat unintelligible post above on my phone–but my point was not that I want this to happen–only that I predict it will happen.

        Honestly, I am starting to think the best thing for preserving historical detail is to have it be in a place that never appreciates all that much.

      • Not saying that I want it to be chopped up. Just saying that there are probably more cowboy developer buyers out there likely to place a higher bid then a single family occupier willing to spend 6M in Bed Stuy. Could be wrong, but I see it being chopped up more then likely, because that is what makes the most financial sense. Also saying I am ok with this, because it is one of the fewer properties where the buyer is likely to create more inventory rather then the current trend of making multiple family buildings into single family homes thus, subtracting from it.

        • Sorry, but three or four luxury apartments is not inventory!!!!

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          I will never understand your position. This house is an exception to the rule. As I said before, with the exception of the top floor apartment which would have been where the servants lived, and maybe a child or two, as Kelly had 12 kids, it’s been restored back to its original configuration as a one family house. Unlike some of the houses on Clinton Avenue, for example, that were cut up into apartments or turned into schools, this house is still intact, with all of the original interior fittings. Those buildings became great coops and condos, and I have no problem with that, as they were already changed. This house was an illegal SRO with cheap partitions, Claudia turned it back into a magnificent mansion home. Why ruin that?

  • I love walking by this building. Sometimes go out of my way to walk down the street – from that angle, single or multiple family doesn’t bother me at all. I do absolutely respect what has been done over the years but think that if someone is going to shell out anywhere close to $6M for this place, they’re not about to turn it into the SRO of years gone by. A condo in a magnificent mansion sounds good to me and isn’t ruining anything that has been done.

    4 new condos may not inventory make, but to a few families that aren’t in a position to buy a whole brownstone, this could be great. And if it’s part of a larger trend…

  • I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a single person buying this house if they want. But I also don’t think there’s anything wrong with turning it into condos, as most people aren’t living in mansions these days. Sure, I prefer conversions and renovations that keep historic detail, inside and out, but so do buyers, so an intelligent developer will preserve as much as possible. A single owner might, or might not, preserve stuff. For real preservation of the building, it would have to be bought by a house preservation non-profit and turned into a museum or something on that order, like a space to be rented out, or the offices of a small non-profit or company, That’s the only way it would be accessible to anyone other than the owner. I see nothing wrong with making nice multifamily condos out of mansions if no one wants to buy it and use it as a mansion. And I think that could be better for making a community than a mansion preserved as a mansion. I like looking at preserved old houses, inside and out, as much as many, but I’m not adverse to using them for housing, either.