The Brooklyn Greenway is expanding to Columbia Street between Degraw and Kane, and a desolate stretch of waterfront is about to get much greener. There’s already a protected bike lane on Columbia Street, but the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative is going to begin landscaping the first part of the Columbia Waterfront Park.

They’re looking for enthusiastic volunteers to help with spreading compost, laying seed, and covering the seeded area with jute mats. Volunteers will work under the direction of landscape architect and ecologist Bryan Quinn.

The park is part of the Initiative’s effort to restore native plant communities and the ecosystems they support. Interested volunteers can find RSVP details here on BGI’s website. Gardeners will meet Sunday morning at 10 am at the BGI offices at 153 Columbia Street. To see what the Columbia Street part of the Greenway looks like now, click through the jump.

Rendering by Rogers Marvel Architects for Brooklyn Greenway Initiative

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04/23/14 3:00pm

409-417 Grand Ave, Google Maps

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Row houses
Address: 409-417 Grand Avenue
Cross Streets: Gates and Putnam Avenues
Neighborhood: Clinton Hill
Year Built: 1909
Architectural Style: Colonial Revival
Architect: John J. Petit of Kirby, Petit & Greene
Other work by architect: Houses in Prospect Park South and other Victorian Flatbush neighborhoods, commissioned homes in Park Slope, Stuyvesant Heights. Also designed Dreamland Amusement Park in Coney Island for William Reynolds
Landmarked: Yes, part of Clinton Hill HD (1981)

The story: It’s quite unexpected to come upon this group of three Colonial Revival houses on a block and neighborhood famous for its 1870s and 1880s era brownstones. Although they are a group, and share similar entryways, they are also quite different, lending one to believe that unlike most of the speculative housing in this neighborhood, these were built for three specific individuals. That would be correct. It figures, too, as the architect for this project was a man used to designing the eclectic and the different for his clients.

All three houses were built in 1909, long after the brownstones around them. They replaced other homes that stood there before. No. 409 was designed for Charles Pray, a textile broker, and one of the founders of the Huntington Country Club. They lived here for about 20 years. His house features blind round arched fanlights with laurel wreaths and splayed lintels. All three houses have their original ground floor entrances, entered by a short set of stairs.

No. 411 was built for Frederick De Mund MacKay and family. He was the most prominent of the trio. MacKay was from an old Brooklyn family, and was born in the family home on MacKay Place, in what is now Bay Ridge. He attended Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute, and then went to work for the E. W. Bliss Company, a well-known munitions and machinery factory. He worked his way up to Vice President, a position he held for over twenty years. MacKay was also on the boards of several banks, charities and a member of all the right clubs. Considered one of the best-known horsemen in the city, he was also a director of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. (more…)

04/23/14 2:00pm

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The permanent signage for Nordstrom Rack and T.J.Maxx went up on the front on the Offerman Building at 505 Fulton Street last week. Nordstrom Rack is prepping for its opening next week on Thursday, May 1.

T.J.Maxx is still “coming soon” — and it probably will be soon. We saw an ad on a bus over the weekend. Thanks to a reader for the photo.

Nordstrom Rack Opening May 1 on Fulton Street, T.J.Maxx “Coming Soon” [Brownstoner] GMAP

04/23/14 1:30pm

There’s no lack of rustic atmosphere at this carriage house at 172 Pacific Street in Cobble Hill, which is bursting with dark wood built-ins, beams and exposed brick. There’s also a lavish kitchen with granite counters and a fancy stove, a big fireplace and a heating stove.

Set up as a two-family, one of the units was a former Rental of the Day. Now the ask for the whole house is $7,995,000.

We’re pretty sure the Cobble Hill record is the freestanding Greek Revival mansion at 491 Henry, purchased for $6,750,000 in February 2013 by Rag & Bone cofounder Marcus Wainwright and model Glenna Neece. Have prices really gone up that much in a year?

172 Pacific Street [Corcoran] GMAP

04/23/14 12:57pm

Here’s a nice “authentic” loft (as the listing puts it) in North Williamsburg. The 1,750-square-foot pad at 119 North 11th Street has two real (i.e. windowed) bedrooms and a third room that could also house a bed. The wood columns and beams are the signature design elements — and the slew of big windows is another point in the win column. Asking price is $2,000,000.

119 North 11th Street, #3B [Corcoran] GMAP

04/23/14 12:15pm

This three-bedroom condo for rent in Crown Heights seems perfect for a small family or roommates. It’s in a classic Art Deco apartment building, the Woodrow Wilson at 255 Eastern Parkway, that features storage, bike parking, landscaped gardens, a doorman and a live-in super.

The kitchen has some attractive features like a dishwasher, wine glass rack, wine fridge and a breakfast bar, and it’s separate from the dining area. The apartment has 1,350 feet of space, including a large living area that’s been sectioned off by a gigantic barn door, which could be taken down to give the place a roomier feel. What’s your opinion of it for $3,950 a month?

255 Eastern Parkway, #F-11 [Citi Habitats] GMAP

04/23/14 11:00am

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A mixed-use row house that looks like it will fit in well with the neighbors is going up at 202 Grand Street in Williamsburg, in what was previously an empty lot. We’re happy to see the heights of the stories are in keeping with the context. This has potential, depending on what finishes are chosen.

The new building permit calls for four stories with a restaurant on the ground floor and a one-family triplex above it. The architect is Jock Deboer.

Click through to the jump to see how the first three stories are looking. (more…)

04/23/14 10:00am

Seven homes out of nine have sold at the Townhouses of Cobble Hill development, according to a PR rep. The Landmarks-approved modern-yet-contextual houses at 110-126 Congress Street went on the market in May for $3,650,000 to $4,200,000, and only 110 and 114 are still available.

The four-bedroom, five-bath house at 110 Congress has 3,318 square feet of interior space and a 485-square-foot roof deck and is asking $3,900,000; the one at 114 has three bedrooms, five baths, 3,630 square feet of interior space and a 694-square-foot garden for $3,850,000. Construction should finish by the end of this year.

Designed by Adjmi and Andreoli (Adjmi was the architect of the Wythe Hotel), the project has been jointly developed by JMH Development and Madison Estates and Properties. GMAP

Rendering via Townhouses of Cobble Hill

04/22/14 4:00pm

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There will be five homes, all with gardens or landscaped decks, on The Brooklyn Heights Association’s house tour this year. Also on the program are refreshments and guided tours of the sanctuary at the historic Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims.

The tour takes place Saturday, May 10, from 1 to 5 pm. Tickets ($30 for members in advance, $40 for non members) can be purchased the day of the tour at St. Ann’s School at 129 Pierrepont Street, according to the Brooklyn Heights Blog.

There is also a “patron brunch” for $300 a ticket in the morning.  For more info about the tour, email housetour@thebha.org or call the BHA office at 718-858-9193.

04/22/14 3:00pm

142-144 Decatur St, The Decatur, SSpellen 1

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: The Decatur
Address: 142-144 Decatur Street
Cross Streets: Corner Marcus Garvey Boulevard
Neighborhood: Stuyvesant Heights
Year Built: 1888
Architectural Style: Romanesque Revival
Architect: George L. Morse
Other work by architect: Temple Bar Building – Court Street, Franklin Trust – Montague Street, Abraham & Straus annex – Livingston Street, as well as many more row houses, flats buildings, churches, and office buildings.
Landmarked: Yes, part of Stuyvesant Heights Expansion, Stuyvesant Heights HD (2013)

The story:
While the developers of our brownstone blocks were busy filling them with rows of houses, the avenues in our neighborhoods were receiving attention, as well. It was on these streets that the city allowed commercial and civic buildings, and where churches and temples often stood, as well as rows of flats buildings, many with storefronts on the ground floors.

The formal concept of zoning didn’t come into existence until the early 20th century, but Victorian city planners already had a pretty good idea how to create mixed income and purposed neighborhoods. Sensible planning could provide everyone in those neighborhoods with the amenities and services they would need to be able to live, shop, worship, and perhaps even work, within easy walking distance. That is one of the strongest reasons why today these neighborhoods are still so desirable.

The mixed use flats buildings on the corners of blocks provided excellent opportunities for special buildings. These buildings anchored the block, and were visual gateways to the homes that lay beyond them, so it isn’t surprising that very often the fine architects who designed the houses also were called on to design many of these corner buildings. Very often, if a developer could get the desired lots, he would have an architect design the corner flats building, and then tie the design into the houses as they turned the corner. Many of Stuyvesant Heights’ blocks were designed in this manner. (more…)

04/22/14 2:00pm

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Brooklyn-based real estate firm Realty Collective will open an office in Clinton Hill, its fourth location. The official opening of the office at 466 Grand Avenue will take place Sunday April 27, the firm said in a press release.

The new location will also handle business in Fort Greene, Bed Stuy, Crown Heights and Prospect Heights. Its other three offices are clustered in Red Hook, the Columbia Street Waterfront District and Carroll Gardens.

 “Over the past few years, our agents have been migrating into Clinton Hill, Bed Stuy and Crown Heights. So have our listings,” said Realty Collective founder Victoria Hagman in a statement. “It just made sense to open a branch closer to the action.”  GMAP

Photo by Nicholas Strini for PropertyShark