12/06/13 11:07am

A tipster tells us that a group of Chinese investors paid $18,500,000 for a big piece of property at 2300 Cropsey Avenue in Gravesend at a state foreclosure auction yesterday. The 45,688-square-foot property, which is sandwiched between Cropsey and Bay Parkway at 23rd Avenue, currently houses a six-story building with a demolished interior that’s zoned as a nursing home. The existing building is 85,619 square feet.

However, an old listing from Massey Knakal notes that the previous owner had acquired additional air rights to construct a 30-story mixed-use development with 264 apartments, 81,378 square feet of community space and an underground parking garage. With the new air rights, the site can hold a new development of up to 275,000 square feet.

The site’s previous owner was Russian developer Alexander Gurevich, whom then-Attorney General Cuomo banned from selling condos and co-ops in New York State for three years in 2010, The Real Deal reported last year. When plans for the massive development didn’t materialize, Gurevich defaulted on his construction loans and mortgage to the tune of $17,030,000.

After fees and penalties, the lien on the property is $27,024,325, according to foreclosure documents. The defaulted mortgage, once held by Lehman Brothers, is now held by a Swedish bank that took over dozens of former Lehman mortgages. The last time we wrote about 2300 Cropsey was in 2010, when we highlighted it for having the most DOB violations.

DOB’s Most Violated? [Brownstoner] GMAP
Image by Massey Knakal

05/01/13 2:39pm

162-Hall-Street-Brooklyn-050113
There’s a wonderful row of a dozen or so wood frame houses on Hall Street between Myrtle and Willoughby Avenues that feels largely untouched by time — or by the money that’s flowed into the neighborhood over the past decade. One of these houses, No. 162, is in the process of being gut renovated. In recent weeks, it’s gotten an entirely new exterior, wood cladding that will presumably be painted. Given that the house was boarded up before the renovation began, we’re assuming everything’s being redone from scratch on the inside. Even if it was a complete wreck, though, the price this place changed hands for last year seems suspiciously low: $250,000. The house had been in foreclosure so maybe someone just got lucky. GMAP

11/02/12 10:00am


Now this is interesting: One month after the DOB renewed permits at 85 Flatbush Avenue Extension, the DoBro lot once slated to be a 21-story residential tower, the entire site’s gone up for foreclosure. Property Shark shows a lien of $17,291,822. The Real Deal reported this January that the site was up for sale — with the massive lien attached. Apparently no takers, probably because it’ll be up for auction on Nov. 29 — check out the details after the jump. But why would anyone go through the trouble of renewing the building plans and switching the architect from Ismael Leyva to Gene Kaufman if foreclosure was so close? Anybody have more intel on this site? We’re dying to know!
Permits Renewed for Tower at Flatbush Extension [Brownstoner] GMAP P*Shark DOB (more…)

10/25/12 9:00am


Another chapter for the 23 Caton Place saga: This would-be condo building has been stalled for about four years and now it looks like the whole site is under foreclosure. This summer, the Windsor Terrace-Kensington Patch reported that the site sold and was back under construction. Public records show no sale, but the DOB approved this application for new building plans just this month. The real doozie is the foreclosure notice up on PropertyShark — check it out after the jump. The building’s still under ownership of “Caton on the Park LLC” and they’ve got a lien for $23,741,928. The auction will take place Nov. 9 at Kings County Supreme Court.
Development Watch: Work Resuming at 23 Caton? [Brownstoner]
At Last, Cleaning up 23 Caton Avenue [Brownstoner]
Trying to Make Lemonade of Lemons at 23 Caton [Brownstoner]
The Decline and Fall of 23 Caton Place [Brownstoner]
Little Progress on 23 Caton Place [Brownstoner] GMAP
Bank Sues Caton Place Developer [Brownstoner] DOB
Work Stops at Caton Place Condos [Brownstoner]
At 23 Caton Place, Laborers Labor on Labor Day [Brownstoner] (more…)

08/09/12 11:00am


A nonprofit called New Brooklyn Theater is trying to raise $200,000 on Kickstarter by Oct. 4. The group intends to use the money as a down payment to purchase the Slave Theater, the historic Afrocentric cultural institution whose building at 1215 Fulton Street in Bed Stuy is scheduled to be auctioned off today at 2:30 pm. New Brooklyn Theater was created by two theater professionals with no apparent existing ties to the Slave Theater. They pledge to restore the building and maintain it as a performing arts center featuring Brooklyn artists, foster original work from students in public and charter schools in the neighborhood, and offer tickets at affordable prices. The group’s multi-million-dollar four-phase plan includes fundraising from corporate and development partners. Artistic Director Jonathan Solari is a theater, opera and film director. Executive producer Sarah Wolff previously produced public programming at the Museum of Jewish Heritage. So far, 46 backers have pledged nearly $14,000.
Foreclosure Auction Set for Slave Theater [Brownstoner]
Slave Theater Vacated, but Questions of Ownership Linger [Brownstoner]
Bed Stuy’s Slave Theater Still Looking for Buyer [Brownstoner] GMAP
Photo by Andreas Burgess


Mired in legal infighting and with a tax lien of $190,106 hanging over its head, the historic Slave Theater at 1215 Fulton Street in Bed Stuy has gone into foreclosure and is set to be auctioned off at Aug. 9 at 2:30 pm, according to PropertyShark. The putative owner is Rev. Samuel Boykin of Ohio, nephew of Judge John L. Phillips Jr., who bought the theater in 1984 and named it to remind Black people of their history. Filled with African-American political art, the theater hosted speakers and showed films of, by, and about Black people. Phillips died without a will, and ownership of the theater has been contested by two former associates of the judge, Clarence Hardy and Rev. Paul Lewis. At one point, Boykin said he hoped to sell the building for $3 million. Any bets what it’ll fetch if the auction goes through?
Slave Theater Vacated, but Questions of Ownership Linger [Brownstoner]
Bed Stuy’s Slave Theater Still Looking for Buyer [Brownstoner] GMAP
Photo by Hobo Matt


We may be nearing the end of the long, sad history of the Broken Angel building in Clinton Hill. Today The Local reports that building lender Madison Realty Capital now owns Broken Angel, once envisioned as an artist community, and the vacant side lot. Owner Arthur Wood first filed a lawsuit against Madison Realty in 2009 after Wood and his development partner defaulted on a $4 million mortgage and Madison Realty initiated foreclosure proceedings. There were no other bidders at the auction, which was briefly delayed after efforts by Wood. The bank has not yet moved to evict Wood but he believes it’s imminent. He’s also tried to appeal to the US Supreme Court and his case was denied. Wood owned the building since the early 70s, but his wife’s death, a fire, the subsequent costly building repairs, and a failed development plan led to this endpoint.
Arthur Wood Awaits Sheriff to Evict Him from Broken Angel [The Local]
Broken Angel Foreclosure Case Delayed [Brownstoner]
Broken Angel is Officially Broke [Brownstoner]

05/07/12 11:00am


A huge parking lot at in Downtown Brooklyn—75 Schermerhorn Street to be exact—is scheduled to head to auction this month. The parking lot is about 17,000 square feet and stretches through Schermerhorn to Livingston Street. The lot is currently zoned for commercial purposes, with a maximum usable floor area of 103,707 square feet, according to Property Shark. The location is likely to appeal to developers, but the massive lien of $25,814,150 may be a slight turn-off. We’re keeping an eye on this one. GMAP P*Shark

04/30/12 10:00am


Back in January, there was news about how the Occupy Wall Street-related takeover of a vacant house in foreclosure in East New York was just a publicity gimmick, and that the homeowner, Wise Ahadzi, who abandoned the house a couple years ago after foreclosure proceedings began, wanted his property back. The OWS group living in the house said they didn’t know that Ahadzi wanted his property back, and said that they were working with him. The latest news, then, is that the Post says the police came to the house and arrested the Occupy-related folks living in it: “Police arrested six Occupy Wall Street members squatting inside a Brooklyn home five months after the movement seized the property amid grand promises to ‘renovate’ it and move in ‘a homeless family.’ Instead, the group moved itself in, wrecked the place, and made a hard situation even worse for a single father who actually owned the East New York home and was trying to save it from foreclosure. Cops cuffed the occupiers after they allegedly smashed a window to get into 702 Vermont St. on April 1.” Ahadzi said he is extremely pleases that the occupiers have been removed from the premises. According to the article, the “bill to fix the damage is at least $12,000, a source said.”
Occupy Squatters Finally Flushed From B’klyn Home [NY Post]
Organizers Defend Occupation of ENY Foreclosure [Brownstoner]
Photo by Brennan Cavanaugh

04/30/12 9:00am


Via Bloomberg News:

New York’s Kings County, also known as Brooklyn, wears the crown as the U.S. community where it takes longest to foreclose on a delinquent homeowner. Lenders took an average of 1,187 days — more than three years — to repossess a home in Kings County during the last three months of 2011, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The protracted process led to just 32 fourth-quarter foreclosure completions in a borough where more than 27,000 homes got delinquency notices last year, New York Department of Financial Services data show. The 10 U.S. counties with the longest foreclosure timelines were all in New York and New Jersey. While delays give some struggling homeowners time to renegotiate loan terms and limit supply on the market, they eventually depress housing values by postponing the inevitable for borrowers who can’t pay their mortgages or maintain their properties, said Jonathan Miller, president of New York appraiser Miller Samuel Inc. “You aren’t doing anybody any favors in the long run,” he said in a telephone interview. “In markets where it takes longer for the foreclosure process, it takes longer to recover.”

As we have been tracking regularly, New York City has seemed relatively immune to the foreclosure morass that has plagued the rest of the country. This article begs many questions. First: Will we not actually have a clear view of “the market” until foreclosures jump through all the necessary hoops? Second: To what extent does the protracted foreclosure process in Brooklyn actually lead to homeowners keeping their homes? Third: Does New York’s foreclosure system need to be reformed? We don’t know the answers to any of these questions. And this doesn’t even touch commercial properties, as far as we know.
Brooklyn Shelters Homeowners With Longest Foreclosures [Bloomberg]
PropertyShark: Decline in Foreclosures Continues [Brownstoner]
Photo by dominic bartolini

04/23/12 9:00am

As we reported last fall, protesters have been showing up to Brooklyn foreclosure auctions, singing during the proceedings, and then getting arrested. A Wall Street Journal reporter, Anne Kadet, who was covering the auction shown in the video above on Thursday, ended up being detained for three hours and charged with disorderly conduct even though she claims was observing the proceedings as a journalist. To the block quote:

When court officers moved to arrest the protesters and clear the courtroom, Ms. Kadet said in an interview Friday that she was handcuffed and detained. She said she was taking notes at the time but didn’t otherwise identify herself as a journalist. “They started arresting everyone who was singing, so I moved up close to the front of the courtroom,” Ms. Kadet said. “I was just standing there taking notes. I wasn’t singing.” Ms. Kadet said court officers removed her from the courtroom and held her for about three hours in a nearby room with the protesters. She said her hands were bound tightly in plastic restraints. She was eventually issued a summons for disorderly conduct and released.

The court spokesman says Kadet hadn’t identified herself as a journalist. Here’s the Journal’s response: “‘Anne’s arrest, while reporting on a matter of public interest, is an outrage and a clear violation of the First Amendment,’ said Ashley Huston, vice president of corporate communications for the Journal and Dow Jones, in a statement. ‘The officers’ actions were completely unjustified, and we will insist that the charge for disorderly conduct be withdrawn immediately.’”
Journal Reporter Arrested at Brooklyn Courthouse [WSJ]
Foreclosure Auction Foreclosed on in Brooklyn [Youtube]
BREAKING VIDEO: Occupy Wall Street Protesters Arrested For Disturbing Foreclosure Auction at Downtown Brooklyn Court House [Brownstoner]

04/12/12 9:00am


PropertyShark just released a quarterly report covering first-time residential foreclosures in the city, and while the downward trend of first-time foreclosures continues, there may be a slight sign of worry on the horizon: Pre-foreclosures, or lis pendens, were up 13 percent, to 2,355, in the first quarter of this year, as compared to 2,090 in the fourth quarter of last year. Let’s talk Brooklyn, though: The borough was the only one in NYC in which newly scheduled foreclosures rose slightly (5 percent, 40 in total) compared to last quarter but, of course, that number is still super low, and it also represents a whopping 26 percent decrease compared to the first quarter of 2011. Meanwhile, Brooklyn also saw a 6 percent rise (724 total) in lis pendens compared to last quarter but, again, that’s still a 27 percent decrease from Q1 2011. What we’re taking away: New York is still looking much better than many other parts of the country in terms of the foreclosure morass, and the slight quarterly increases in Brooklyn do not seem alarming. The report can be seen on an interactive map here.