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The Burger King at the corner of Marcy and Fulton across from Restoration Plaza has closed. (In July, a new Burger King was setting up shop at Nostrand and Fulton, as we reported.) This lot at 957 Marcy has not recently traded hands, but an application for a permit to demolish the existing building was filed in August.

A permit to build a one-story bank building with a drive-through and curb cut has been in the works since 2012 but has not yet been granted and is waiting for zoning approval. We think a taller mixed-use building would be a better use of the space here. What do you think?

Thanks to a reader for a tip about the closing. GMAP (more…)

518a willoughby avenue willoughby general bed stuy 102014

A general store selling hard-to-find items is prepping to open at 518a Willoughby Avenue early next year. Willoughby General will carry bread, cheese, coffee, gifts and a small selection of produce. Co-owner Rachel Tutera said she wants to offer items her neighbors can’t find elsewhere in the area.

“We want people to be able to come here instead of zigzagging all over the neighborhood or going to Manhattan to get staples or odds and ends,” she said. The shop is taking requests on what to carry through its Facebook page. Since Key Food on Myrtle and Throop closed over the summer, locals have wondered where they can buy basic groceries without walking several blocks, Tutera said.

Other items may include locally made honey from the bees in a nearby garden, home brew kits, regional spices, and some magazines and newspapers. Tutera and her business partner, Barbara Lester, hope to open in January with hours from 7 am to 7 pm. They’re signing the lease on the 300-square-foot space this week. GMAP

494 decatur street bed stuy 102014

If Monday’s $1,500,000 townhouse in east Bed Stuy wasn’t in your budget, you might want to take a look at 494 Decatur Street. Located between Ralph and Malcolm X Patchen, the three-story, two-family brick house has beautiful inlaid and parquet floors and all its original details, including slate fireplaces and moldings – at least in the rooms pictured.

We wish there were more photos, but the floor plan looks promising — mostly original, including an unfitted kitchen, both big pluses in our book.

Set up as a top-floor rental apartment over an owner’s duplex, it does have a typical drawback of single family houses converted to two: The parlor floor is used as bedrooms and the bathroom is on the garden floor.

What do you think of it for $999,000?

494 Decatur Street [Corcoran] GMAP

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A sign at 855 Dekalb Avenue in Bed Stuy says a three-story building there is being turned into a five-story building and converted from commercial to residential, but a peek behind the construction fence seems to show very little or nothing left of the original building.

A stop work order was issued and the complaint was “work does not conform to approved construction documents,” suggesting that perhaps a new building permit rather than Alt-1 might be in order, but the complaint has been resolved, according to the document.

In any case, the current permit calls for 15 apartments over 15,000 square feet. A rendering on the construction fence shows a neoclassical-style facade with juliet balconies and peaked-roof style cornices flanking each side.

The property, located between Marcus Garvey and Throop, is 50 feet wide and housed a three-story factory. Click through for a look at the construction site. (more…)

741 macon street bed stuy 102014

This one-family Romanesque-slash-Renaissance Revival sandstone and brownstone in east Bed Stuy has been updated, though it still retains plenty of original details. Located on a block of Macon Street near Saratoga Park that won “Greenest Block” in Brooklyn this year, 741 Macon Street was designed by architect Henry Vollweiler in 1889 for developer-builder James J. McCoy, according to the listing.

It has original slate and elaborate wood mantels with Minton-style tile, wainscoting, decorative plaster work, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a laundry room and an eat-in kitchen. The roof, facade and mechanicals have all been updated. What do you think of it and the ask of $1,500,000?

741 Macon Street [Halstead] GMAP

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A small spot called T Roc Homestyle Cooking has just opened at 194 Ralph Avenue between Decatur and MacDonough in Bed Stuy, half a block down from Burger & Brew. They are serving breakfast, lunch and dinner for eating in or takeout. Menu items include burgers, philly cheesesteaks, grilled cheese, pancakes, eggs, and egg with bacon or sausage sandwiches. GMAP

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Did anyone catch this essay in The New York Daily News, called “Goodbye, My Bed Stuy”? The writer, a black man who grew up in Bed Stuy and is a journalism professor at Brooklyn College, laments the growing number of whites moving into Bed Stuy and the rising rents, which are pricing out longtime black renters in the neighborhood.

He mentions that Bed Stuy is mostly townhouses, which means most units aren’t rent regulated. He also says part of the problem is investors who are purchasing homes “as bundles.” We haven’t heard of that, but we think he is referring to investors buying townhouses in the area to rent out. (Incidentally, a building he mentions as an example of landlord harassment is in Crown Heights, not Bed Stuy.)

What do you think of the essay?

780 Greene Combo

This one-bedroom rental on Greene Avenue near Lewis Avenue in Bed Stuy has a few nice details, such as two mantels, original moldings around the windows, and hardwood floors. Though it is near Lewis Avenue it is quite a walk to the Utica Avenue A train stop and at least a 10 minute walk to the Kosciuszko J/Z stop. What do you think of it for $1,650 a month?

780 Greene Avenue, #3 [aptsandlofts.com] GMAP

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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…)

284-290 Stuyvesant Ave, CD Brazee for LPC 1

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Row houses
Address: 284-290 Stuyvesant Avenue
Cross Streets: Jefferson and Hancock streets
Neighborhood: Stuyvesant Heights
Year Built: 1880-81
Architectural Style: Neo-Grec
Architect: Builder James P. Miller
Landmarked: Yes, part of Stuyvesant Heights Expansion HD (2013)

The story: Stuyvesant Heights was first developed just before the Civil War as a suburban retreat for the wealthy brewers and businessmen who were making their fortunes in Bushwick. They, in turn, attracted other wealthy men from downtown and elsewhere who wanted to live in splendid isolation on large lots with garden space, but still easily commutable to their businesses in Manhattan or on Brooklyn’s piers. That ease of commute was provided by the excellent facilities that ran along Fulton Street and Atlantic Avenue. By the 1870s, developers began dividing up the remaining Stuyvesant Heights plots. In the space of 30 years, the mansions and villas were surrounded by, or replaced by, row houses. The big city had reached Stuyvesant Heights. (more…)

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Burly Cafe (or Burly Coffee, depending on where you’re looking) is planning to open next Monday at 832 Dekalb Avenue near the corner of Throop in Bed Stuy. According to its Facebook page, the cafe will be brewing and retailing Colectivo Coffee, roasted in Milwaukee.

Burly joins a few other new businesses that have sprung up on this corner. Vin de Table wine shop opened nearby at 354 Throop Avenue and Simple Pleasures Cafe opened last week across the street at 833 Dekalb Avenue.

Thanks to a tipster for alerting us to the October 27 opening. Click through to see a photo of the interior nearing completion.

Vin de Table Wine Shop Coming to Throop [Brownstoner]
Simple Pleasures Cafe Opened Monday on Dekalb and Throop in Bed Stuy [Brownstoner]
Lots of Development for Dekalb and Throop Corner
[Brownstoner] GMAP
Second photo by Burly Cafe
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The walls are rising fast at 785 Dekalb Avenue, where SSJ Development is planning a 70-unit apartment building.

The mad, mod building design looks to us like a space age City Hall for sea monkeys with its slanted porthole in the front and gold dome on the top. When it’s complete, it will be one of Bed Stuy’s most architecturally distinctive buildings – and the bar is high in Bed Stuy, which has some of the borough’s best 19th century architecture.

Julien Flander is the architect of record. Click through to see a new photo of the rendering on the construction site.

785 Dekalb Coverage [Brownstoner] GMAP

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