04/22/14 11:00am


A sidewalk shed has gone up and work has started at 4-8 Downing Street in Clinton Hill, aka the Broken Angel, where developer and architect Alex Barrett is converting the former art project, once a tenement building, into eight condos.

An Alt 1 permit for 4 Downing Street approved last month specifies an interior and exterior renovation, a reduction in the number of units from nine to eight, and a new certificate of occupancy. According to the permit, the work will cost about $1,100,000. (Two more condos are planned at 8 Downing.)

Thanks to a reader for the tip and the second photo, which shows the demo debris on the site behind the construction shed.

Broken Angel Coverage [Brownstoner]


04/22/14 9:30am


The number of Manhattanites moving to Brooklyn has dropped dramatically, with only 13 percent signing new leases in North and Northwest Brooklyn in the first quarter, vs. 53 percent back in 2006, according to a report out from Ideal Properties. The number of renters coming in from out of state rose to 22 percent in Q1, vs. 18 percent in the same period last year. Connecticut (21 percent) accounted for the majority, California for 17 percent and New Jersey for 10 percent; 10 percent were from out of the country. People who were already living in Brooklyn made up 40 percent of new leases.

Park Slope was the area’s most popular destination, “with 28 percent of all rented units in Brownstone and North Brooklyn last quarter concentrated” there, said the report. The majority of renters analyzed in the report, 33 percent, had average incomes ranging from $75,000 to $99,000. Most of them, 15 percent, worked in media, and 13 percent worked in design and architecture, the report found. More than half, 59 percent, of tenants in North and Northwest Brooklyn are between 21 and 30 years old.

The report was based on tenant profile data on close to 4,300 forms collected by Ideal Properties.

04/22/14 9:00am


Forest City Ratner and Greenland Holding Group will break ground on three more residential towers this year, even as the first Atlantic Yards tower, B2, is woefully delayed, The New York Times reported over the weekend in a story we missed. The towers will be built with conventional, not modular means.

Two will be rentals and one a condo. Forest City is having trouble with the modular process, which was supposed to speed construction and reduce costs, the Times said. Only five of the planned 32 stories at B2 have risen so far, as others such as Atlantic Yards Report and Curbed had recently noted. The developer has stepped up its pace to install three modules a day, according to Atlantic Yards Report.

The date to finish up B2 is now late 2015, more than a year behind schedule. One of the apartment buildings, a rental, will go up next to B2. The other two will be located at the “eastern end of the site,” said the Times.

Slow Start Spurs Shift for Towers Near Arena [NY Times]
Photo by Curbed

04/22/14 8:30am


Bragging of Safety While Many Live in Fear in Public Housing in Brooklyn [NY Times]
Greenpoint Pier Repairs Stalled Two Months After Ramp Collapse [NY Daily News]
In Cobble Hill, Ladling up Bites of Southern Comfort [WSJ]
Sit on Cardboard Chairs at This New Dumbo Design Store [Brooklyn Paper]
Cookbook Authors Face off Live on Stage at Food Book Fair Slam [Brooklyn Paper]
Controversial Developer Guttman Behind Greenpoint Convention Center [Brooklyn Paper]
Talking About Gentrification in Brooklyn and Beyond [Jeremiah's Vanishing New York]
Calvin Coolidge and the “Working Girls” of Stuyvesant [Brownstone Detectives]
Six Towers Over Rail Yard Account for 65 Percent of Phase 2 Housing [AYR]
Meet Alan Dixon: CEO of Dixon Advisory USA, an Aussie firm With Brooklyn Investments [TRD]
Elliman’s Sarah Burke to Head up Brooklyn Operations [TRD]
Dumbo’s Construction Boom Brings Hundreds of Apartments to Waterfront [DNAinfo]
Brooklynian Blogger Leads Tour on New Stores, Development in Crown Heights [DNAinfo]


Sweet Lee’s Desserts was getting ready to open this week at 163 Ralph Avenue when we happened to walk by Sunday. The bakery and cafe will be serving its own made-from-scratch cupcakes, cake and pies, as well as coffee and tea.

Cupcake flavors will change daily and include pina colada, snickerdoodle and salted caramel, according to the bakery’s website. Cakes include german chocolate, red velvet, caramel, lemon and Brooklyn Blackout. The many flavors of pie include blueberry, sweet potato and peach. Everything is made with butter and without preservatives.

The owner, Raymond Williams, named the bakery after his grandmother. He has been in the food business for more than a decade and plans to add espresso drinks over the summer, he said. This should be a welcome addition to this side of Bed Stuy, which doesn’t have a bakery. GMAP

04/21/14 1:30pm

38 new york avenue bed stuy 42014

Unexpectedly located in Bed Stuy near Atlantic Avenue is this classic Italianate brownstone, replete with the typical arched marble mantels, arched parlor pocket doors, and staircase coffin niche of the period. The two-family at 38 New York Avenue is updated and in good condition, according to the listing.

And call us crazy, but we love the zany ombre pink tile in the ’60s-era (?) bathroom. Looks-wise, about the only thing we could see doing to this place is upgrading some of the newer floors with better quality wood. It’s currently set up as a rental over an owner’s duplex. What do you think of it and the ask of $999,999?

38 New York Avenue [Fillmore] GMAP

04/21/14 11:30am


Massey Knakal is marketing a huge site in Bushwick’s loft area as a “redevelopment opportunity.” An email we received about it urged us to ”join the transformation in Morgantown of East Williamsburg/Bushwick.”

While there is no set list price, the sellers are expecting 215 Moore Street will bring in about $29,500,000, said Massey Knakal Senior Associate Michael Mazzara.

The 2.3-acre site contains five industrial buildings totaling nearly 47,000 square feet, including 1,000 square feet of frontage on Moore, Seigel and White streets. It’s zoned for manufacturing and nearly 170,000  square feet of commercial space is allowed, according to the listing. Interestingly, nine of the lots have no certificate of occupancy, one has a C of O for a store and four residential units, and six others are pegged as storage, parking, steel manufacturing and even a stable and blacksmith shop. (Maybe Bushwick could use one of those!)

The email also listed 20 notable “creative types of businesses” in the area and showed them on a map, including Roberta’s, the Bogart Mall, the under-construction hotel at 19 Bogart Street, Boar’s Head (the deli meat makers), and the McKibbin Street Lofts. Click through to the jump for a map and full list.

215 Moore Street Listing [Massey Knakal]


04/21/14 10:00am


The passive-house affordable apartment building at 424 Melrose Street wrapped in February and 22 of the building’s 24 units are already filled, reported The New York Daily News. A joint project of the Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council and the United Mennonite Church, which owned the land, it was paid for by private bank loans, a federal tax credit and the New York State’s Housing Trust Fund.

Rents range from $400 to $1,100 for a studio to a three-bedroom. Eight units are for low-income residents and 15 are for handicapped. Interior photos in the Daily News show beautiful long windows and tiny radiators. There are two small boilers on the roof and 16 thermal solar panels. The 28,000-square-foot building cost $8,500,000 to construct and uses about 10 percent of the energy of most buildings of its size, according to the story. The architect is Chris Benedict.

Construction caused evacuation of nearby buildings in 2012, as we reported at the time.

The finished building looks different from the rendering, but we like it. The beige and white color scheme is not particularly inspiring, but we like the rhythm and pattern created by the grouping of the passive-house windows, whose look too often detracts from older buildings. This is one of many affordable projects in Brooklyn with admirable architecture, including a number spearheaded by the Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council. Another passive building with 24 units at 803 Knickerbocker Avenue is scheduled to finish this summer.

Click through to the Daily News article to see the finished building. What do you think of the design?

Inside the Country’s First Multi-Family Affordable Passive House Apartments [NY Daily News]
Bushwick Buildings Evacuated After Cracks Appear [Brownstoner]
Rendering by Chris Benedict via Inhabitat

04/21/14 9:00am

dumbo 92013

A story in The New York Times suggests Mayor de Blasio can do an end run around Albany and forge a public transportation route to meet new needs with a modern streetcar line along the waterfront from Brooklyn to Queens. The line would make it easier for residents to get around Brooklyn; tie together transit starved areas such as Red Hook, Greenpoint and the Navy Yard; connect to ferry, bus and subway routes; and link Brooklyn to Queens.

The author estimates it would cost somewhere around $600,000,000 or so. Now that Brooklyn is less Manhattan-centric, do you think this is an idea whose time has come, or should we just improve existing bus and subway service?

Imagining a Streetcar Line Along the Brooklyn Waterfront [NY Times]

04/21/14 8:30am


Catholic High School in Windsor Terrace Abruptly Loses Its Fight to Stay Open [NY Times]
A Way for Artists to Live in Brooklyn [NY Times]
Senator Schumer Urges FTC to Examine Sky-High ConEd Bills in Brooklyn [NY Daily News]
Brooklyn Couple Is Using Old Brewery Tunnel to Age Cheese [WSJ]
Good Friday Procession on Brooklyn Bridge Draws Cardinals, Faithful [WSJ]
Urgent Care Center to Replace Five Tenants on Flatbush in Prospect Heights [WSJ]
Dumbo Leader Tweaks Raw Nerve in Brooklyn Heights Library Redevelopment Dispute [BHB]
Brooklyn Heights’ Columbia Place, 1959 [Wooden House Project]
New Crown Heights Antique Store: Reclaimed Home [Casacara]
Teaser Site up for Crown Heights’ 341 Eastern Parkway [BuzzBuzzHome]
The 25 Best Houses in Brooklyn: A Highly Subjective List [Brooklyn Mag]
Bright Hats and Bonnets Fill Brooklyn Churches on Easter Sunday [DNAinfo]

04/18/14 1:00pm

Park Slope
526 3rd Street
Broker: Brown Harris Stevens
Price: $3,995,000
Sunday 12:00 – 1:30

78 1/2 Norman Avenue
Broker: Corcoran
Price: $2,495,000
Sunday 1:00 – 2:30

Clinton Hill
308 Waverly Avenue
Broker: Elliman
Price: $2,250,000
Sunday 1:00 – 3:00

Bed Stuy
165 Lewis Avenue
Broker: Corcoran
Price: $840,000
Saturday 2:00 – 3:00

Update: The open house at 526 3rd Street has been cancelled.

04/18/14 10:00am


A tipster sent us a construction-site rendering of the seven-story, 35-unit building going up on the large empty lot at 1035 Fulton, and we then found more on the website of the now-ubiquitous Issac & Stern.

The red brick building resembles 19th century warehouses of the type you see in Soho, Dumbo and the South Street Seaport. If it’s executed like the rendering shows, we think the retail section at ground level is going to be appealing, with a canopy and lots of steel or iron mullioned windows and doors to attract passerby. We also appreciate the thoughtful treatment of the under-window air units, which are covered in matching steel or iron cross bars.

The building is obviously modern yet should fit well into a historic context. (Nearby are other 19th century warehouses as well as carriage houses and townhouses.) We’d like to see more of this type of design in Brooklyn. What do you think of it? Click through to the jump for more.

Large Apartment Building Planned for Fulton and Downing in Clinton Hill [Brownstoner]