1239 president street crown heights 102014

Here’s a diamond in the rough with lots of interesting details just south of Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights. We don’t think we’ve ever seen a teens exterior quite like this one with its tiles of neo-classical relief ornament and patterned brickwork at the top. Even the rear looks nice, with bay windows.

Inside, there is a coffered ceiling, some fun Arts and Crafts mantels, an attractive entry and staircase, some neo-classical bas-relief columns and plasterwork with shells and shield motifs, original early electric light fixtures, and two original claw foot tubs.

The two-family house has one identical apartment per floor, each with two bedrooms, but they are roomier than usual and not railroads. There’s also a finished basement with laundry. The bathrooms and kitchens look like they could use a bit of updating, or rather restoration, but overall the building looks to be in good condition.

There’s an open house this Sunday, November 2, from 12:30 to 2:30 pm. What do you think of it and the ask of $1,200,000?

1239 President Street [BH Tal Real Estate] GMAP

615 st johns place crown heights 102014

We’ve always wondered what would happen to the overgrown and graffiti-covered brick house at 615 St. Johns Place between Franklin and Classon in Crown Heights, and now it looks like a developer has purchased the property and plans to demolish it. Nissan Cohen of First Elite Group LLC paid $1,030,000 for the 2,620-square-foot property in August, according to public records.

Earlier this month, Cohen filed a demolition application to knock down the property’s little 990-square-foot brick structure. No new building permits have been filed yet, but we’re sure a new residential development is in the works. Zoning allows up to 5,240 square feet of residential space on the plot.

The front gate has been torn down, and for the first time, we can see inside the house, which appears to have little remaining besides a back wall and a decayed hallway with one or two rooms. The roof appears to have collapsed right inside the front door.

The house, a former Building of the Day, was built as a garage in the early 20th century and later converted to a house by adding an extension.

Building of the Day: 615 St. Johns Place [Brownstoner] GMAP

269 empire boulevard crown heights 102014

This three-bedroom townhouse for rent in Crown Heights seems like a pretty good deal to us. The broker tells us it hasn’t been recently updated but is in good condition.

All three bedrooms are the same size, according to the broker, and located on the top floor, along with one bathroom. The unfinished basement under the stoop can be used as storage.

And it’s only two blocks from the 2/5 stop at Sterling Street. The downsides are that it’s a bit narrow at 16.5 feet, and Empire Boulevard can get loud and busy with traffic. What are your thoughts on it for $2,850 a month?

269 Empire Boulevard [Corcoran] GMAP

505 st marks avenue crown heights 102014

The eight-story rental development at 505 St. Marks Avenue in Crown Heights is close to topping out, with all eight floors nearly complete. The apartment building between Franklin and Classon will have 147 units, 100,000 square feet of space and 74 underground parking spots, as previously reported. Issac and Stern Architects are designing, and the developer is Yosi Cohen of Realty Within Reach, whose development up the road at 482 Franklin Avenue is just about finished. Work began at the site in April and has been moving along well ever since.

505 St. Marks Avenue Coverage [Brownstoner] GMAP

flatbush-avenue-072914

The zoning review that Community Board 9 asked City Planning to conduct of parts of Prospect Lefferts Gardens and Crown Heights is going forward after a failed attempt to rescind it at a community board meeting last month. The zoning review covers half of District 9, including Flatbush Avenue, pictured above, where a 23-story development is rising as-of-right, and Empire Boulevard, some blocks of which are currently zoned only for commercial and not residential, Laura Imperiale, first vice chair of Community Board 9, told us.

At issue is limiting high-rise development to preserve the character and affordability of the neighborhood. A number of community groups, including PPEN, have called for limits on high-rise development in Prospect Lefferts Gardens. Community group MTOPP opposes both high-rise development and any rezoning of Empire Boulevard.

The board conducted several meetings with community groups and had a community listening session in March, consolidated the comments, created a resolution requesting a study, and sent in the request to City Planning in March. After that, there was one meeting of the community board and City Planning. Now the board is waiting for City Planning to conduct the study, said Imperiale. The board would have liked a broader study of the entire district, but the city said it did not have the resources, and “we only get so many bites at the apple for this,” she said.

The resolution, which has been posted on CB9′s website, asked for zoning to preserve the “existing character of the neighborhood,” specifically to “prevent/limit of context i.e. high-rise development in the R7-1 zoned areas of the district.” It also asked for “opportunities for affordable housing development” to “protect residents from displacement” and “identify areas for inclusionary zoning.” It requested increased density along transit and commercial corridors, and specifically asked that Empire Boulevard be rezoned to permit residential development — “allow contextual mixed-use developments along commercial corridors, including Empire Boulevard.”

MTOPP disrupted last month’s community board meeting and passed a resolution calling for the zoning study request to be rescinded, but then it turned out the resolution had not been passed after all. They also sued the board to get a copy of the board’s bylaws, which are also now posted on the board’s website.  

The zoning study is not on the agenda of the next board meeting, but Imperiale said she expects MTOPP to bring it up anyway. 

She also expects City Planning will hold community forums about District 9 zoning in the coming year, she said. Any events will be posted on the Community Board 9 website in advance.

Chaos at Community Board 9 Meeting on Empire Boulevard Rezoning Tuesday [Brownstoner]

474 Sterling combo

The renovation at this carriage house at 474 Sterling Place is idyllic as far as we’re concerned, with a factory loft-style ground floor and 19th century rooms above. There are cement floors and a sloping ceiling with a skylight, beams, and tin in the big living area (which could also be used as an artists’ studio or showroom). Upstairs the 19th century rooms are genuine, with original moldings and a cozy, charming feel.

It’s set up as a one family with parking and living on the ground floor. Upstairs, the three bedrooms and two baths are arranged around a common sitting room, which we’re guessing is close to the original setup. Curbed, which was the first to feature the listing, didn’t care for the exterior, but we like the striped brickwork and stable-style doors. The location is also good, close to Prospect Park.

The ask of $2,790,000 makes it one of the most expensive townhouses in Crown Heights, and will set a record if it flies. Do you think they’ll get it?

474 Sterling Place [Ideal Properties] GMAP

608 Franklin Avenue

ODA Architecture has designed a boxy, glassy building – with multi-paned windows somewhat reminiscent of an old factory building — to replace the brewery at 608 Franklin Avenue in Crown Heights.  New York YIMBY was the first to publish the rendering.

The specifics of the plans have changed slightly: The building, which will be quite large and take up much of the block between Bergen Street and Dean Street, will rise to eight stories and have a total of 130,00 square feet. There will be 120 rental units — studios, one and two bedroom units. Twenty percent of the units will be income-restricted, according to NYY. The mixed-use building will have 19,000 square feet of retail space.

The development will replace three rundown, low-rise structures on the Dean Street side of the property, not the 19th century brick brewery building on Bergen (as we’ve previously mentioned). The corner lot also has 141 feet of frontage on Franklin Avenue.

While the design reminds us of buildings in the Ladies’ Mile area in Manhattan rather than Crown Heights, it strikes us as a far cry above the majority of new construction. What do you think of it?

Revealed: ODA’s 608 Franklin Avenue, Crown Heights [NYY]
Eight Story Mixed-Use Building to Replace Part of Crown Heights Brewery [Brownstoner] GMAP
Rendering: ODA Architecture via NY YIMBY

crow-hill-jewelry-111910.jpg

Back in the day before gentrification had fully hit Crown Heights and sent rents up 17.5 percent and townhouse prices soaring 86 percent in one year — that is, way back in 2010 — Crown Heights residents were upset to learn a pawn shop would be opening on Franklin Avenue. The pawn shop would “degrade the atmosphere of the street” and was a “recipe for disaster,” according to a petition circulated by the Crow Hill Community Association at the time.

After numerous protests, the shop opened as a jewelry store, not a pawn shop — and the most amazing mural appeared on the side of the building. We diplomatically said, “We have no idea what to think of the mural that’s gone up to promote the place. That is one lucky baby.”

Less than three years later, the store was out of business and has since been replaced by literary bookshop Hullabaloo Books.

Literary Book Store Replaces Pawn Shop [Brownstoner]
Crown Heights Pawn Shop is Back [Brownstoner]
Protests Against a Pawn Shop on Franklin [Brownstoner]

Locals in Crown Heights and Prospect Lefferts Gardens would like to see the long-empty Bedford-Union Armory turned into affordable housing or a fitness center with a swimming pool and basketball court, or possibly a skating rink, they told the city at a planning meeting Sunday. Another public meeting will take place tonight at 671 Prospect Place from 6:30 to 8:30 pm.

After years of delays, the City issued a request for proposals from developers late last year, as already reported, and is now going through a process of public hearings, to be followed by a formal land-use review process. The armory, one of two in Crown Heights, is located at 1555 Bedford Avenue between Union and President.

“They’re getting input on community priorities, and they will take that information back to the developers they’ve selected to compete, and they will see what they can make work economically,” Community Board 9 First Chair Laura Imperiale told us.

The city presented various scenarios developers had proposed, including turning the armory into a hotel, which locals objected to, according to a story in DNAinfo.

The building was completed in 1907. It was designed by architecture firm Pilcher and Tachau.

Bedford-Union Armory Coverage [Brownstoner]
Postcard via Brooklyn Public Library

1750 Bedford Ave, Firestone, composite

In recognition of 10 years of Brownstoner, here’s one of my favorite Past and Presents. It showcases a rare example of an interesting slice of life and culture that is still standing and has its original use.

A look at Brooklyn, then and now.

Bedford Avenue is the longest street in Brooklyn, stretching from Greenpoint to Sheepshead Bay. Because it was such an important north/south corridor, it was a natural location for the development of the automobile industry, in the early 20th century. Much of the street between Bedford and Flatbush was undeveloped, so what better place than a street that cuts through so many neighborhoods, to place automobile showrooms, garages, service stations and other related businesses? The fact that Bedford and Flatbush were affluent neighborhoods didn’t hurt, either.

By 1912, there were already twenty-five auto establishments on this section of Bedford, between Fulton and Empire Blvd, called Malbone Street until 1918. By 1929, the traffic along Bedford was so thick that the police had to erect a traffic station at Grant Square to control it all. (more…)

121 NY Ave, NYMethChurch, SSPellen 4

Here is the second in my celebration of important Brooklyn buildings covered over the years in Brownstoner. Happy 10th anniversary.

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Originally New York Avenue Methodist Church, now Union United Methodist
Address: 121 New York Avenue
Cross Streets: Dean and Bergen Streets
Neighborhood: Crown Heights North
Year Built: 1891
Architectural Style: Romanesque Revival
Architect: Josiah Cleveland Cady
Other Buildings by Architect: Manhattan: Old Metropolitan Opera House (demolished) 77th St. southern wing of the Museum of Natural History. In Brooklyn – 1290 Pacific Street in Crown Heights North, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Williamsburg.
Landmarked: Yes, part of Phase I of Crown Heights North HD (2007)

The story: This church is the embodiment of the hymn “A mighty fortress is our God.” It’s a massive brick masterpiece of seven connected masses stretching the entire block, consisting of the entrance porch, vestibule, auditorium, tower, Sunday school, parlor and rectory. Depending on which way you approach the building, it’s a visual treat, and a marvel of design, materials and construction. (more…)

1037 sterling place crown heights 102014

This floor-through two-bedroom in Crown Heights offers tons of space and attractive prewar details. There are decorative mantels, built-in dressers and cabinets, pier mirrors and stained glass windows. The $2,600 rent seems a little high for a two-bedroom in this part of Crown Heights, but there’s a windowed office that could be used a third bedroom, knocking the rent down to $866 a bedroom. The apartment is a block from Brower Park and three blocks from the 3 train stop at Kingston Avenue. What do you think of it?

1037 Sterling Place, #2 [Warren Lewis Sotheby's] GMAP