08/20/14 11:30am

79 quay street rendering greenpoint 82014

Developer Cayuga Capital Management plans to convert a large brick warehouse at 79 Quay Street in Greenpoint into townhouses and build a boxy apartment building behind it, according to New York YIMBY. The cube-filled apartment building will rise six stories tall and wrap over the warehouse-turned-townhouses, which are pictured on the left side of the rendering. All told, the development will be 60,000 square feet. Gowanus-based architects Cycle Cities will design the project. Cayuga and Cycle Cities are also collaborating on a 12-story office and retail development at 87 Wythe Avenue in Williamsburg, reported by the WSJ on Monday.

The developer purchased the 23,500-square-foot warehouse at Quay and West Streets for $3,800,000 in March, according to public records. What do you think of the design?

Revealed: 79 Quay Street [NY YIMBY]

08/20/14 9:30am

Massey Knakal, Chart from BK PSR

A new report out from real estate firm Massey Knakal finds that the Brooklyn investment market is on track for another record year, eclipsing even the bubbly markets of 2006 and 2007. In the first half of 2014, 1,068 investment properties (apartment buildings, mixed use, industrial and office buildings as well as development sites) sold, a 92 percent increase over the first half of 2013. And that is the largest number of sales of any year, beating out the previous high from the first half of 2007. Purchases of elevator buildings were up 342 percent in the first half of 2014 over the same period the previous year. Even the total dollar amount of sales was up dramatically: 142 percent over the first half of 2013. The total dollar figure of all Brooklyn deals, $3.4 billion, far surpassed the previous high of $2 billion in the first half of 2006.

For investors, this boom is drawing in far more cash and resulting a lot more deals than we saw during the real estate bubble in the run up to the financial crisis. If investors are throwing this much money around, should the rest of us be worried?

Chart: Massey Knakal

08/19/14 10:00am

735 and 737 bergen rendering

New York YIMBY has posted a new rendering of the Brookland Capital buildings under construction at 735 and 737 Bergen Street, between Washington and Underhill in Prospect Heights. Brookland head Boaz Gilad asked architects Issac and Stern to re-think the project’s design, after Curbed compared the original designs to “an establishing shot in a movie about a dystopian police-state” back in April. (more…)

08/19/14 9:30am

1388 union1

This 1920s brick townhouse in Crown Heights South just may have set a new neighborhood record. The single-family home, which sold for $999,000 in December, sold again in July for $1,850,000, more than $150,000 above the original asking of $1,695,000. The home at 1388 Union Street has been well maintained and, according to the listing, is chock full of details including bay windows, original moldings, mirrors and wood paneling, (though all the woodwork is painted). The renovation is very well-done. It’s unclear how much work the flipper actually did on the home given how fast it turned over. Interior pics after the jump. (more…)

08/18/14 10:45am


Longtime Brooklynite and Brownstoner reader Heather Murray recently moved from Clinton Hill to Washington, D.C., because of a job change. But the Brooklyn she misses was already history before she left. She writes:

I’ve always loved places with history — and Brooklyn used to be such a place. Old lived easily alongside the new. People had rent control and rent stabilization, which meant –- pretty much –- that if you stayed in one place for long enough, you could build a nice life there.

But Brooklyn has changed. I’m stating the obvious, but that’s what I do.

Brooklyn used to be a place where you could step back in time. Parts of the city seemed to be completely unchanged from the ’20s, the ’30s, the ’40s, the ’50s and so on. There was Italian Williamsburg, and Polish Greenpoint, and Prospect Lefferts Gardens (which I only remember being referred to as “Flatbush” back then) and the Dyno-mite Lounge. Pork stores and Wash-O-Matics. Century-old bakeries on residential streets, and the fresh bread smell in the morning.

What I find most depressing about the pace of Brooklyn’s change is the erosion of the communities that Chris Arnade celebrates in his article, “Some Things I Will Miss About Brooklyn.” Working class people in Brooklyn are now under siege. If they’re lucky, they might get a buyout, or a lottery slot for affordable housing. If they’re not, they’re displaced. I knew a family at our old school in Clinton Hill who commuted from Staten Island. STATEN ISLAND — so that their kids could stay with their friends and be near extended family for childcare. In Clinton Hill and elsewhere in Brooklyn, churches are closing. And the people — the people that spun the fabric of these amazing communities? Those people are leaving.

They leave for East New York, for Atlanta, for the Poconos, for Forest Hills, for Yonkers. They leave for Mamaroneck, for Montclair, for Austin, for Florida. And they are replaced with people who are never home (perhaps because they work all the time?). They are being replaced by investors, or relocated bankers from Europe on two-year assignments. New York City has always been a place where people come from elsewhere and move to — in that sense, none of this is new. But what’s being lost now is being replaced with a facade of itself. Behind that reclaimed barn wood is cheap drywall. And all the patina of old Brooklyn that the new Brooklyn loves — the Edison lights, the “hand-crafted” cocktails (as opposed to made by… robots?), the artisanal pickles –- all of that doesn’t make up for the real thing that’s gone forever.

All of that fake patina, replacing the real.

I’m a hypocrite. I enjoy a good restaurant with reclaimed barn wood and old timey wallpaper just as much as the rest of my herd. But, having left Brooklyn and most of that motif behind (we live now in a part of D.C. that doesn’t have much of it) — I’m not missing having three wood-burning pizza restaurants that make their own cheese within a five-block radius of my house. I’m not missing much, actually. Except the people. I miss the people terribly. And I hope that everyone who wants to can manage to stay.

roger that garden crown heights 82014

The Crown Heights gardeners that have been fighting to save their plot, called Roger that Garden, from a developer are facing a massive bill if they hope to regain rights to the property. According to a story in the New York Post, the owner, Steve Billings of TYC Realty, says the price for the lot on Rogers Avenue and Park Place is now as high as $1,000,000. The Post says that he bought the parcel for just $10 and the property now has over $8,500 in unpaid tax liens. (more…)

08/15/14 10:00am


A stalled construction site in Crown Heights that Hello Living! developer Eli Karp was once involved with is on the market for $1,750,000. The property — located at 949 Pacific Street close to the Prospect Heights border and Atlantic Avenue — is mid-construction.

Plans call for a five-story building with four condos, including a two-bedroom duplex penthouse and three one-bedroom floor-through apartments, totaling 4,120 square feet. The architect of the modern-style building is Brooklyn-based Ka.Va Design, which did the interior of Fort Greene restaurant Lulu & Po and whose work we have featured here before. (more…)

08/15/14 9:30am

213 jay street rendering

New York YIMBY has published renderings of the 33-story mixed-use tower that will replace a century-old office building at the corner of Jay and Nassau Streets in Downtown Brooklyn. While the color of the building is rust, we don’t yet know if the actual material is rusted steel, like Barclays Center. Well-known architecture firm Woods Bagot designed the structure, which is now going by the address 213 Jay Street. (more…)

08/15/14 9:00am


While rents per square foot in Brooklyn increased 3 percent in a year, they surged 17.5 percent in Crown Heights, according to two reports out yesterday from Douglas Elliman and MNS. The rental price per square foot is now $38.78 percent, said Elliman. In Crown Heights, rents shot up to $2,110 from $1,795 in the year period from July 2013 to July 2014, said MNS.

The number of new rentals surged 127 percent to 892 in a year, indicating that renters were rejecting increases from landlords, according to Elliman. Listing inventory also increased 2 percent in the year period, said MNS. The median rental price in Brooklyn is now $2,852, and the average is $3,111, according to Elliman.

Brooklyn “continues it steady upward pattern,” said the MNS report, even as rents decreased from June of this year “due to the maturation of inventory on the market in several neighborhoods.” More specifically, “neighborhoods such as Williamsburg and DUMBO continue to see slower growth, while much of the more rapid expansion is taking place in underdeveloped areas like Bushwick and Crown Heights.”

To give some idea of how that translates neighborhood by neighborhood, a one-bedroom in Bay Ridge is now $1504 a month, $1,880 in Bed Stuy, $1,998 in Crown Heights, $2,040 in Bushwick, $2,540 in Boerum Hill, $2,568 in Clinton Hill, $3,258 in Cobble Hill and $3,373 in Brooklyn Heights.

The Real Deal, DNAinfo, Curbed, and The New York Daily News all had stories.

Photo by Suzanne Spellen

08/14/14 10:00am

719 dean street prospect heights 82014

Two small apartment buildings rising on Dean Street between Underhill and Vanderbilt avenues in Prospect Heights are looking close to done, on the outside at least. The buildings at 719 (above) and 751 Dean both have windows, and the former has gotten balconies too. No. 751 has an old-fashioned looking cornice, although the rest of the building looks fairly new. (more…)

08/14/14 9:30am


The Brooklyn Expo Center, a convention center at 79 Franklin Street in Greenpoint, was looking close to done when we dropped by Tuesday. It will open September 13 and 14 with the Brooklyn Antiques and Book Fair, according to The Brooklyn Paper. The owner is controversial developer Joshua Guttman, whose Greenpoint Terminal Market and four other properties have burned in suspicious fires, although he has never been implicated, said the paper. (more…)

08/14/14 9:00am


After 21 years in Brooklyn, Chris Arnade, the Wall Street trader turned photographer known for his sometimes-controversial photos of people in places like East New York and Brownsville, is moving to the Bronx. He’s written a long-form narrative love letter to our borough in the form of a list for the Awl, “Some Things I Will Miss About Brooklyn.”

Some things that made the list: Pigeon keepers of Bushwick and East New York, Floyd Bennett Field, Sunset Park’s Soccer Tavern (a bar). But the article isn’t really about these physical places, it’s about the people and communities of Brooklyn. It’s worth a read. What would you miss?

Some Things I Will Miss About Brooklyn [The Awl]
Photo by Chris Arnade via The Awl