04/17/14 9:00am

Brooklyn is slated to lose a number of its wood frame houses to development this year. Often these houses are some of the oldest in the borough, although they may not look like much, at least from the outside.

Just like so many other aging wood frames in Brooklyn, this little house on Chauncey Street in Bed Stuy, above, is meeting the wrecking ball soon. Demo applications were filed last week to knock down the two-story home at 201 Chauncey, as well as a shed and row of garages on the property. We don’t know the home’s exact age, but our columnist Montrose Morris noted that it is at least as old as 1880, but probably older, in this Building of the Day post. There’s no word on what will replace the house, but we’re betting it will be an apartment building. An LLC bought the 50 by 108.5 foot lot in February for $1,400,000 — seven times its last sale price in 2004.

Now that warmer weather has set in (apart from yesterday, of course), the applications for demo permits have ticked up in the building department. A large number of the houses marked for demo are wood frames.

We wondered if that’s because they tend to be in worse condition or less expensive than their brick and stone counterparts. Preservationist Elizabeth Finkelstein of The Wooden House Project attributed the trend to rising real estate values in working-class neighborhoods, some of which happen to have a large concentration of frame houses.

“I think the wooden houses right now are especially vulnerable because of the trend in people moving to places like Bushwick and Greenwood Heights,” she said. “People can’t afford to buy in Brownstone Brooklyn anymore, so they’re moving to frame-heavy neighborhoods. Developers follow. While Park Slope and Cobble Hill have been expensive for a long time, homeowners in Bushwick have only recently been able to cash out. I think they’re taking advantage of the market, at the expense of some of these houses.”

A few examples we have covered recently are 111 Clarkson and 50-54 Clarkson Avenue in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, 664 Jefferson Avenue and 447 Decatur in Bed Stuy, and, of course, the six 19th-century wood frames at 233-301 11th Street in Gowanus, which will be replaced by a large apartment building at 470 4th Avenue.

Next up are houses from Crown Heights to Bushwick, including: 1480 Pacific Street, 1168 Greene Avenue, 45 Cedar Street, 726 Monroe Street, 341 Sackett Street, 539 Van Buren and 1255 Decatur Street. The house at 1480 Pacific, which was a Building of the Day in February, is part of the proposed Crown Heights North III Historic District expansion.

With the notable exception of Brooklyn Heights, one of the oldest neighborhoods in Brooklyn and the first to be landmarked, Landmarks has not typically designated areas with lots of wood frame houses, although some were included in the historic districts of Greenpoint and Wallabout, which are both primarily wood-house neighborhoods. Partly this is because wood frames tend to be highly altered and covered in siding, which can make them ineligible. But there is hope, said Finkelstein.

“Greenpoint is an interesting example of a neighborhood that was landmarked while much of it was still covered in siding (I’m actually surprised the LPC did this). Many of the houses still are, but you can see the positive effect landmarking has had on some of the wooden houses on Milton and Noble streets.” Although, she added, the LPC focused on the most brick-heavy part of Greenpoint and called that the historic district. “So while the historic district does contain some wooden houses, they still brought their brick bias with them.”

Another possible explanation for the demise of wood frame houses: They are sitting on more land and have more FAR. This is certainly the case with 201 Chauncey Street.

– Cate Corcoran and Rebecca Baird-Remba

Photo by Christopher Bride for PropertyShark

04/16/14 10:45am

564 st johns place crown heights 122013

This one-story garage at 564 St. Johns Place between Franklin and Classon in Crown Heights will be demolished soon and replaced by a Karl Fischer-designed eight-story apartment building. A demolition application was filed on Monday, but the DOB didn’t approve it because the filing lacked a plan exam. Developer Rabsky Group is behind the development, which will have 172 units spread across 136,373 square feet, as we reported in December. GMAP

Eight-Story Karl Fischer Building Planned for Western Crown Heights [Brownstoner]

03/27/14 9:30am

Demo has started on the Bergen Tile building at the corner of Flatbush and Dean Street in Prospect Heights. When we stopped by last night, the upper part of the building was already gone.

Developer PRD Realty filed a demolition application for 215 Flatbush in October, but DOB didn’t issue a permit until March 11. The most recent new building application is from February 2012 and calls for a six-story building with 53 apartments and 9,875 square feet of ground floor commercial space.

The 55,000-square-foot building has to have 26 parking spaces by law, but Martin Domansky of PRD told us two years ago that he was seeking a variance from the Board of Standards and Appeals because he couldn’t construct that number of spaces. We dug up some renderings last fall that match the recently filed plans.

Another photo after the jump!

Three Renderings out for Bergen Tile Development Site Close to Barclays Center [Brownstoner] GMAP
New Building Will Replace Bergen Tile Near Arena [Brownstoner]
Bergen Tile Developer Seeks Zoning, Parking Variances [Brownstoner]


03/26/14 9:30am

A tipster tells us that the three-story building at 165 Smith Street, on the corner of Wyckoff, will be knocked down soon and replaced by a new building. Smith Hanten Real Estate, which has occupied the ground floor for 33 years, is moving down the road to 152 Smith Street. They posted a note about their move, and we’ve included it after the jump.

The Affronti family owns this building as well as 162 Smith Street, where they’ve run Paisanos Meat Market for over 45 years. We spoke briefly with Michael Affronti, but he didn’t want to comment on his family’s plans for the site. The property hasn’t sold recently, and no demolition permits have been filed yet. Current zoning allows for a building as large as 15,000 square feet to be constructed on the site, according to PropertySharkGMAP

Photo by Nicholas Strini for PropertyShark


03/21/14 9:30am

Demolition crews have started gutting and demolishing the six 19th-century wood-frame houses and two commercial buildings near the corner of 11th Street and 4th Avenue where developer Adam America is planning to put up a large 12-story apartment building on seven tax lots. The house at the far left end of the row on 11th Street, No. 233, has been knocked down, above, and most of the others are in the process of being gutted, their windows and doors gone.

A construction fence went up a week and half ago at 470 4th Avenue, and new building permits for the project were filed at the end of February. The building will have 105 units with ground floor commercial space, a medical office and underground parking, as we’ve previously reported. More photos after the jump.

470 4th Avenue Coverage [Brownstoner]


03/17/14 10:45am

The former 11-story home of the city’s Human Resources Association is now nothing more than a rubble-strewn lot at 210 Livingston Street in downtown Brooklyn, as demolition that began last summer finally finished. The Wall Street Journal published a photo of the final bits of the building being taken down last month and reported that two developers are planning a mixed-use high-rise for the site. Benenson Capital Partners and Rose Associates want to construct a 300,000-square-foot tower with rental apartments and ground-floor retail, according to the Journal. No new building permits have been filed yet.

The development site is two blocks from City Point, the huge project whose second phase is going up now. Right now this stretch of Livingston is home to discount stores, furniture stores and the gigantic Macy’s.

Demolition for Former HRA Headquarters 210 Livingston [Brownstoner] GMAP

03/11/14 11:30am

Developer Adam America has put up a construction fence around 470 4th Avenue, the large development site where it plans to replace nine buildings on seven tax lots with a 12-story residential building. Demo permits were approved last year, before Adam America bought the property for $20,000,000 last month. A note in the file says demo was scheduled to begin March 6.

South Slope News spotted the fence and took the photo above.  Aufgang Architects filed a new building application for the development at the end of February. The number of units has not changed, and the building will be 12 stories (the developer previously said it could be 12 to 14 stories).

Other new details: The building will have 78,995 square feet of residential space. There will be 5,259 square feet of ground floor commercial space and community space occupied by a medical office. Amenities include bike storage for 53 bikes, 36 underground parking spots, a fitness room and a roof deck.

Demolition Set to Begin at 470 4th Avenue [South Slope News] GMAP
And the New Building at 470 4th Avenue Will Look Like… [Brownstoner]
Plans, Buyer, Sale Price Revealed for Huge 4th Avenue Development Site [Brownstoner]
Photo by South Slope News

02/26/14 11:30am


Brookland Capital signs have gone up and demo permits have been filed for two wood frame houses in Bed Stuy. The first of these, 664 Jefferson Avenue, pictured above, has a near-original exterior with half-round shingles but “had a bad roof for many years” and was totally “trashed” on the inside and unsalvageable, a tipster who had viewed it when it was for sale (and sent us the photo above) told us.

It is Italianate and dates from the 1870s. It was a Building of the Day in 2010.

The other is 447 Decatur, just around the corner from Brookland’s offices on Malcolm X. The bay-windowed house has been boarded up for years, although a 2006 PropertyShark photo shows it looking inhabited. One of its neighbors is the Evelyn F. Veres house at 451 Decatur pictured in Dinanda Nooney’s 1978 photographs of Brooklyn, which was recently restored. Architecturally, this particular block is more varied than most, with mid- and late-19th century wood frames interspersed with large 19th-century rental apartment buildings.

Brookland picked up the double-wide, 40-foot lot for $995,000 in January. While no new building application has been filed for the house on Jefferson yet, on Monday Brookland filed to build a four-story apartment building at 447 Decatur. The building would be 40 feet high with six units.

Brookland typically develops mid- to large-size condo buildings. The section of Jefferson Avenue where No. 664 is located is all small townhouses, although there are some apartment buildings at the far end of the block.

Also, we think we recall a working gas light on this block, which is home to the venerable Bridge Street African Wesleyan Methodist Episcopal Church, the oldest continuing black congregation in Brooklyn.

“The neighborhood will be very active this spring!” said our tipster.

02/21/14 9:30am


A two-story Brooklyn Heights building at 153 Remsen Street that looks like it’s seen better days is coming down and may be replaced by a new development. Quinlan Development, which owns the commercial building, filed a demo application yesterday to knock it down.

As it happens, last summer The Brooklyn Daily Eagle detailed the sad little building’s journey from Vietnamese restaurant and YMCA offices to a decaying, vacant storefront a few months after developer Tim Quinlan purchased it.

Quinlan, who’s also developing a 60-unit rental at 267 Pacific Street, paid $2,791,594 a year ago for the 2,300-square-foot lot between Court and Clinton streets. The building’s former owner, Fred Musser, let it decay while he made plans to convert it to a hotel, according to the story. Zoning allows for a development of 23,000 square feet, according to PropertyShark. What would you like to see go up here? GMAP

01/10/14 9:00am

A demolition application was filed December 31 to take down a seven-story office building at the corner of Jay and Nassau Streets. The building at 199 Jay Street sits on the edge of downtown Brooklyn and Dumbo on a 17,085-square-foot lot that is 175.92 feet by 100 feet.

There are no recent sales in public records, and permits list the owner as Amtrust Realty, which purchased the building in 2006. The demo permit hasn’t been issued yet because there’s no plan exam. (The top of the application has a note that reads “application processed — no plan exam.”)

The property is located next to busy traffic on Jay Street and an exit from the Manhattan Bridge. DOB records indicate it was built in 1913. GMAP

Photo by Scott Bintner for PropertyShark

12/19/13 10:00am

Lighstone has demolished the first of two old brick warehouses on Bond Street between 1st and 2nd streets in Gowanus, to make way for their 700-unit rental development, Pardon Me For Asking reported. Demolition work began earlier this week but hit a snag on Tuesday.

The demolition crew broke a water main and flooded the entire southwest end of the site, with water flowing down 2nd Street and into the canal, according to Gowanus Your Face Off. GYFO also got some great photos of the flooding, which of course happened while it was snowing.

The 100-year-old warehouse at 365 Bond Street has been reduced to a pile of rubble, and the adjacent warehouse at 363 Bond will likely be taken down in the next couple days, PMFA predicted.

After the jump, we’ve included a photo of the warehouse when it was still standing and another one of the demolition site.

Photos by Katia Kelly for Pardon Me For Asking