10/22/14 11:30am


Pratt student and Brownstoner reader Matthew Petric has mapped all the buildings profiled in Brownstoner’s Building of the Day series over the years and has very kindly shared with us the link. His tongue-in-cheek title: “Brooklyn, one (thousand) building(s) at a time.”

The map can be clicked, searched by address and, most interestingly, viewed by date (or a range of dates) of construction.

Thank you, Matt, for making our architectural history columns more accessible and showing them from a new angle. The map was created for Pratt class Spatial Thinking, Data, and Design.

10/22/14 10:45am


Dixon is finishing up construction and started leasing another group of properties in Brooklyn, most of them in Bed Stuy and Bushwick. We toured three of them, all in Bed Stuy, and found Dixon is getting faster and better at renovation.

Most of the renovations will be completed in less than a year. Some of the properties had severe water damage, requiring extensive work ranging from gut renovation to replacing some or all structural components such as joists and beams. Dixon is using contractors with experience restoring townhouses in Brooklyn and Harlem, such as All Renovation. Dixon managers oversee each site. An in-house designer creates a unique plan for every house and specs and sources all components, finishes and appliances before construction starts, which speeds things along.

We were impressed with the creative and appropriate use of finishes in each townhouse. In a narrow Romanesque Revival townhouse at 513 MacDonough (pictured after the jump) that had been covered with faux panelling and laminate flooring over the years — all of that was ripped out — an oak plank veneer (a new product engineered to withstand moisture) was used to impressive effect on a kitchen island and on a wall in a bathroom.

The quality of the bathrooms, kitchens, closets and other features was already high, but now is even better in the properties we saw. Dixon townhouses now typically have en-suite bathrooms for every bedroom and extensive closet and pantry systems with built-in shelves. One house even had two laundry rooms. They all have landscaped yards and often decks with huge, custom made floor to ceiling windows that open like doors. Two of the houses we saw this time had Aga Legacy stoves, which retail for around $6,000. An extremely luxurious all-marble bathroom at 14 Monroe spanned the width of the house in front and had both a clawfoot tub and shower.

Dixon has also done work to preserve the historic exteriors of the houses, such as redoing the limestone and brownstone facades and ironwork. At 14 Monroe, pictured below, the original 19th century ironwork was missing, and Dixon reproduced it using a mold from a neighbor, who had already restored his own. (more…)

10/22/14 9:00am


Slate Property Group plans to build a 19-story tower with 157 apartments at the very prominent corner of Flatbush and Fulton in Downtown Brooklyn, according to a new building application filed yesterday. The photo above shows the triangular shape of the lot, now occupied by a partly empty one two-story commercial building. (Five Guys has replaced Sleepy’s.)

The new building will have a total of 160,000 square feet of space, including more than 123,000 square feet for apartments. Twenty percent of the apartments will be affordable, and the building will most likely be a rental, according to New York YIMBY, which first spotted the new-building application.

That leaves 20,000 square feet for retail. Goldstein Hill & West Architects are the architects of record on the permit. In December 2012, an LLC associated with Capstone Equities bought the property from Kansas Fried Chicken for $14,250,000, according to public records.

We think a tall mixed-use building at this location, the entrance to the Fulton Mall, makes a ton of sense. We hope it will be an attractive one.

Permits Filed: 19-Story Building at 1 Flatbush Avenue [NYY]
Photo by Scott Bintner for PropertyShark

10/21/14 2:00pm


An unnamed real estate firm is setting up shop at 11 Greene Avenue, a worker inside told us when we stopped by recently. This is in one of the 19th century storefronts in three Italianate row houses near the intersection of Fulton Street in Fort Greene.

Unfortunately, the new cement window surround looks out of place, but at least it didn’t replace anything historic. The retail space, previously the longtime home of Jessy’s House of Styles unisex salon and barbershop, had a modern metal facade. GMAP

Update: A Corcoran spokesperson just confirmed this will be Corcoran’s sales office for the Lefferts Place Mews condos in Clinton Hill.

10/21/14 1:30pm

918 President StreetCombo

The house is grand and so is the asking price. This two-family brownstone at 918 President Street in Park Slope offers a sweep of original detail, including blockbuster fireplaces and parquet floors. The renovation looks expensive, although we could do without the tile floor in the bathroom and the massive cabinetry in the kitchen.

It’s set up as a fourplex over a rental (the house is actually five stories, although the topmost one is hidden). All the mechanicals were updated in 2003, including five-zone central air. It’s also half a block from the park. Do you think it will sell at $5,250,000?

918 President Street [Brown Harris Stevens] GMAP


Back in the day before gentrification had fully hit Crown Heights and sent rents up 17.5 percent and townhouse prices soaring 86 percent in one year — that is, way back in 2010 — Crown Heights residents were upset to learn a pawn shop would be opening on Franklin Avenue. The pawn shop would “degrade the atmosphere of the street” and was a “recipe for disaster,” according to a petition circulated by the Crow Hill Community Association at the time.

After numerous protests, the shop opened as a jewelry store, not a pawn shop — and the most amazing mural appeared on the side of the building. We diplomatically said, “We have no idea what to think of the mural that’s gone up to promote the place. That is one lucky baby.”

Less than three years later, the store was out of business and has since been replaced by literary bookshop Hullabaloo Books.

Literary Book Store Replaces Pawn Shop [Brownstoner]
Crown Heights Pawn Shop is Back [Brownstoner]
Protests Against a Pawn Shop on Franklin [Brownstoner]

10/21/14 9:00am

Locals in Crown Heights and Prospect Lefferts Gardens would like to see the long-empty Bedford-Union Armory turned into affordable housing or a fitness center with a swimming pool and basketball court, or possibly a skating rink, they told the city at a planning meeting Sunday. Another public meeting will take place tonight at 671 Prospect Place from 6:30 to 8:30 pm.

After years of delays, the City issued a request for proposals from developers late last year, as already reported, and is now going through a process of public hearings, to be followed by a formal land-use review process. The armory, one of two in Crown Heights, is located at 1555 Bedford Avenue between Union and President.

“They’re getting input on community priorities, and they will take that information back to the developers they’ve selected to compete, and they will see what they can make work economically,” Community Board 9 First Chair Laura Imperiale told us.

The city presented various scenarios developers had proposed, including turning the armory into a hotel, which locals objected to, according to a story in DNAinfo.

The building was completed in 1907. It was designed by architecture firm Pilcher and Tachau.

Bedford-Union Armory Coverage [Brownstoner]
Postcard via Brooklyn Public Library

10/21/14 8:30am


Forest City Seeks Sale of Barclays Center Stake [WSJ]
Brooklyn Ebola and Enterovirus Town Hall Set for Wednesday [Eagle]
Walk With American Cancer Society Brings Thousands to Prospect Park [Eagle]
Greenpoint’s McGolrick Park Scores Spruce-up [BK Paper]
See the Destruction of the Domino Sugar Factory [Curbed]
Scarano Architects Files Plans for Greenpoint Hotel Conversion [NYS]
Thor Nabs Williamsburg Properties for Retail Project [NYO]
Clinton Hill Logs More Than 35 Percent of Brooklyn’s Condo Sales [DNA]

10/20/14 4:00pm


Forest City Enterprises is selling its 55 percent majority stake in Barclays Center, according to Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal. Possible candidates include Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, who already owns 45 percent of the arena, or the new owners of the Islanders. No price has been named, but investment banking sources quoted by SBJ speculated $750,000,000 would be the top valuation, based on an estimated $30,000,000 in annual cash flow.

Atlantic Yards Report called the sale “curious,” considering the center cost more than $845,000,000 to build, according to various estimates. What do you make of it?

Barclays Center for Sale [SBJ]
Breaking: Ratner’s Selling Share of Barclays Center (at a Loss?) [AYR]

10/20/14 1:30pm

102 Gates Ave combo

The parlor and entry of this renovated Clinton Hill townhouse look amazing, as does the bathroom. We love the tile floor, green claw foot tub, sink, lighting — everything, really. The backyard has also been beautifully and creatively landscaped.

We featured 102 Gates Avenue as a House of the Day when it was for sale pre-renovation in 2013 (and attracted 350 people to the open house) and wrote about it again as it was under construction. It was also an Open House Pick last week.

We really wish there were more than two interior shots on the listing. Has anyone see it in person? Is the rest of the renovation as good as the rooms pictured?

The property last sold to developer Austen Colgate LLC for $1,555,000 in 2013 (it was unrenovated). Now the ask is $3,350,000.

102 Gates Avenue [Brown Harris Stevens] GMAP
House of the Day: 102 Gates Avenue [Brownstoner]
Clinton Hill Estate Sale With Packed Open House Restored [Brownstoner]

10/20/14 12:05pm

Before taking off for Christmas in 2004, we asked readers which neighborhoods they thought would appreciate the most and the least in 2005. To our surprise and delight, there were more than 100 comments waiting for us when we returned (some of them appear to have been lost).

A few choice reader comments:

there are some who still have not caught on to brooklyn yet- either they don’t have the mindset of the early adopters, but are mere followers, etc. (one good friend said to me once: i can’t live in brooklyn– what would the partners think? that’s where the secretaries live!!)


I would short Bed-Stuy and go long Park Slope. I think the spectacular run-up in Bed-Stuy prices is at risk of retreating. I say that because speculative frenzies are often accompanied by pauses or retreats. From everything I am reading and hearing, things have gone insane in that nabe.

We did another post counting up the results. (more…)