07/15/14 9:30am

73 montrose avenue williamsburg 72014

We found this schematic on the fence at the corner of Leonard Street and Montrose Avenue in East Williamsburg, where a five-story building is rising. The apartment building at 73 Montrose will have 40 units spread across 29,731 square feet of residential space, in addition to 2,762 square feet of community space occupied by medical offices, according to new building permits(more…)

06/24/14 1:30pm

46 north henry street williamsburg 62014

This Fedders-style building two doors from the BQE in East Williamsburg is asking $2,350,000. It doesn’t have much curb appeal, but the rent roll could be pretty high. There are two three-bedroom units and two one-bedroom apartments, according to the listing, although PropertyShark lists it as a three-family.

Since the property is 30 feet wide and 3,564 square feet, the ask works out to be less than $700 a square foot. Do you think they’ll get it?

46 North Henry Street [Elliman] GMAP

Silvershore Properties recently struck deals for three buildings in East Williamsburg, Park Slope and Carroll Gardens for a total of $6,200,000. PR reps for the property management company say 400 5th Avenue in Park Slope, a 4,000-square-foot walk-up building with three apartments and a storefront, sold for $1,800,000. Next up was 103 3rd Place in Carroll Gardens, an eight-unit walk-up that also sold for $1,800,000. And the third buy was a six-apartment building with a storefront at 754 Grand Street in East Williamsburg (pictured), which changed hands for $2,600,000.

The company plans to keep the buildings as rentals, said an exec for the real-estate firm, which owns more than 50 multifamily properties in the city. In December, the company purchased four apartment buildings for $7,225,000 in Greenpoint, Crown Heights, Clinton Hill and Sunset Park, The New England Real Estate Journal reported at the time.

Photo by Christopher Bride for PropertyShark

05/08/14 10:00am

orient-avenue-wood-2-050714

We are very excited to show you the exterior restoration of a wood frame house. Brownstoner commenter Williamsburgguys very generously shared photographs and all the details of his renovation with us. The house on Orient Avenue in East Williamsburg is one of several on the block neighbors are refurbishing.

Some are using real wood and others HardiePlank. The advantage of the latter is that is durable, non-flammable and looks identical to wood, according to our renovator. He used HardiePlank for his siding and also to rebuild his cornice.

“So it looks like it did in 1895 yet should hold up with less maintenance,” he said. He and his partner hired a siding and cornice contractor for those two jobs because “I don’t do heights and I know nothing about installing siding or building a cornice from scratch,” he said, but they handled other aspects of the restoration themselves. They built the porch canopies, refurbished and installed the salvage front doors and are stripping and repointing the brick base of the house.

The duo have plenty of construction experience: Williamsburgguys grew up helping his dad and uncles with construction, and he and his partner used to buy and flip a neglected property every summer when they lived in the south and Williamsburgguys had time off from his teaching job.

The house was built with two others to its left in 1895 to 1896. In the 1939 tax photo, the house was already covered in fake brick tarpaper. Luckily the double door entry enframement and 120-year-old wavy glass transom were still there, although hidden under Sheetrock. The fence and gate are original.

Rather than restoring the appearance of the house exactly as it appeared in the 1930s tax photo, they kept the picture window and, inspired by another nearby restoration at 124 Ainslie, used off-the-shelf components to create a credible period look. (more…)

05/05/14 3:00pm

484 Humboldt St. Smith Memorial ISAB, SB, PS

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: The Schoolhouse Lofts, originally the James W. Smith Memorial of the Industrial School Association of Brooklyn, E.D.
Address: 480-484 Humboldt Street
Cross Streets: Corner Richardson Street
Neighborhood: East Williamsburg
Year Built: 1896
Architectural Style: Renaissance Revival
Architect: Unknown
Landmarked: No

The story: The Industrial School Association of Brooklyn, Eastern District, was established in East Williamsburg in 1864. A group of wealthy Protestant Brooklynites decided that help was needed for the children of the immigrant poor. Although public education had been established long before, many children were not enrolled in school for a number of reasons, including not having adequate clothing for school. It was thought that German immigrants were the most industrious of the new immigrant population, and therefore worthy, so this group established the first Industrial School in the mostly German neighborhood of what is now called East Williamsburg.

The first school was on South 3rd Street, with another established on Scholes Street. Both provided the children with a comparable education to public school. They also made sure the children were well clothed and fed, and had after school programs for those whose parents worked past school hours. Other branches of the ISAB, ED opened as the years past. By the end of the century, there was even more need, so the announcement that a new school would be opened on Humboldt Street was met with great joy. (more…)

05/05/14 9:00am

This movie theater-turned-rental building at 167 Graham Avenue in East Williamsburg looks almost ready for tenants. The 56-unit, five-story development will have ground floor retail and community space occupied by a health clinic, according to alteration permits. Architect Nataliya Donskoy filed plans three years ago to convert the theater, which sits on a huge L-shaped lot with frontage on Meserole Street and Graham Avenue.

The building will have two sections, with some apartments on Graham Avenue and the rest at 136-146 Meserole Street (pictured). Amenities include storage, laundry, a shared recreation area in the cellar between the two buildings, four off-street parking spaces, 28 bike storage spots and a roof deck.

During the Depression, the Art Deco-style movie theater opened as the Rainbow Theater, complete with a two-story-high rainbow-lit fixture shining above the marquee. Like most old Brooklyn movie theaters, it eventually became a church —the Love Chapel. A developer bought the 17,500-square-foot property for $4,800,000 in June 2012, and construction began later that month.

Williamsburg’s Rainbow Theater Getting Gutted, Built Up [Brownstoner] GMAP

03/31/14 10:00am

This two-story house at 764 Metropolitan Avenue may bite the dust for a six-story apartment building. Plans call for 10 apartments spread across 11,598 square feet of residential space on the narrow East Williamsburg lot, according to a new building application.

Designed by the Redd Group, the proposed building will include storage, two duplexes on the uppermost floors, and a roof deck. No demolition permits have been filed for the house yet. GMAP

02/26/14 9:30am

Boaz Gilad’s Brookland Capital, which has cut a swathe through Brooklyn from Prospect Heights to Flatbush with more than 40 active projects, is now expanding to East Williamsburg. The firm is in contract to purchase a former condensed milk factory at 850 Metropolitan Avenue, which it plans to convert into a 36-unit condo building, The Real Deal reported.

Brookland will pay just under $10,000,000 for the 28,000-square-foot factory, which currently houses knitwear manufacturer Rags Knitwear. “It’s got a great industrial feel,” the paper quoted Gilad as saying of the building.

The 28,000-square-foot property is currently home to a knitwear manufacturer called Rags Knitwear. Other Brookland Capital projects include 531 Vanderbilt Avenue, 735-737 Bergen Street, 691 Marcy Avenue and 1255 Bushwick Avenue, among others.

Got Milk? Brookland to Build 36-Unit Condo in East Williamsburg [TRD] GMAP

02/12/14 3:30pm

180 Graham Ave, 1

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Flats building with storefront
Address: 180 Graham Avenue
Cross Streets: Meserole Street and Montrose Avenue
Neighborhood: East Williamsburg
Year Built: 1891
Architectural Style: Queen Anne
Architect: Unknown
Landmarked: No

The story: John H. Scheidt was a successful Brooklyn entrepreneur. For many years he had run a booking agency on Broadway in East Williamsburg, which today would be classified as a travel agency. He booked steamship tickets, arranged for passports and visas, and generally took care of passenger’s needs for traveling overseas. Most of his clients were like him, German-American Eastern District residents who needed to go home or abroad, and trusted him to know the ins and outs of travel. He did very well.

Well enough that he started to dabble in the rich man’s sports of banking, politics and real estate. He commissioned this handsome building in 1891, built on busy Graham Avenue, near Meserole Street. It’s a stately four story building with a storefront and three floors of apartments above. Although I couldn’t find the architect in my search, I’m sure he’ll turn up. It’s a beautiful brick building with terra-cotta trim, and a pressed zinc cornice. It may well be the work of Theobald Engelhardt, whose talented hands seem to be on a majority of the great buildings in this area, during this time. We do know the builder was Jacob Rauth, who crossed a picket line to pass bricks along to the bricklayers building the structure. (more…)

15 Debevoise St. Folly theater site, composite

A look at Brooklyn, then and now.

Theater and live entertainment have long been an important part of our culture. We have a need to be entertained, amused or moved by the actions and talents of those who have an equal need to perform. Before our entertainment was delivered to us by devices we keep in our pockets, or sit in front of in our homes, there were theaters, concert halls and auditoriums. Every city had at least one theater district. Here in Brooklyn, we had several.

There were so many theaters and entertainment venues being built in the 19th and early 20th centuries that architects could specialize in designing theaters and concert halls, and make a good living. The needs of a theater space were many and specific. In some ways, a designing a theater could be very similar to designing a church or temple, so sometimes, architects who specialized in one moved easily into designing the other. Given the natures of church and theater, it’s a rather ironic combination of the sacred and the sometimes profane.

The firm of Dodge and Morrison designed churches. Stephen Webster Dodge and Robert Burns Morrison were well known for their church designs throughout the East Coast, as well as for their other design skills. Here in Brooklyn, they were responsible for the beautiful addition to the Bedford Central Presbyterian Church on Nostrand Avenue in Crown Heights, between Dean and Bergen Streets. Dodge and Morrison also designed theaters, and one of their best was the Folly Theater, which stood on the corner of Debevoise Street and Graham Avenue in Williamsburg. (more…)

01/23/14 10:00am

Simon Dushinsky’s Rabsky Group has filed new building applications for a sizable eight-story building on Whipple Street in Williamsburg, bringing new development to a mostly commercial and industrial area off Flushing Avenue. The 51-unit residential building at 7 Whipple Street will have 45,970 square feet of residential space and feature a backyard with a playground, storage for 27 bikes and a community room.

Curtis and Ginsberg Architects, who’ve worked on the Navy Green affordable housing project and on the nearby mixed-income Cook Street Apartments, will design the building. The same property owner has held onto three vacant former parking lots at 5, 9 and 11 Whipple Streets since 1988, and  all three lots will become part of the development. GMAP

Photo by Christopher Bride for PropertyShark

12/17/13 3:00pm

101 Varet St. CB, PS 2012

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Former Free Hebrew Burial Society for the Poor of Brooklyn, now supermarket
Address: 101 Varet Street
Cross Streets: Graham Avenue and Humboldt Street
Neighborhood: East Williamsburg
Year Built: 1918
Architectural Style: Early 20th century commercial
Architect: Tobias Goldstone
Other buildings by architect: Lots of smaller buildings in Wiliamsburg/Greenpoint/Bushwick area in the teens and early ’20s.
Landmarked: No

The story: In this column I cover a lot of buildings where people live, work, do business, or worship, but it’s not too often that I cover what happens to them when they die. Up until the mid-20th century, most people, no matter how humble or grand, had funerals in their homes; the coffin with the deceased often laying in a bed of ice for at least a day. Morticians and funeral directors took care of the details, but having your loved one at home for his or her final send-off was a time honored tradition. But it still cost money to be buried, and while that was no problem for the wealthy, who could afford funeral processions to fancy cemeteries like Green-Wood, and tall, expensive monuments, it was a different story for the poor. And if you were poor and Jewish, it was a whole other story all together.

In 1888, a group of Jewish leaders living in the Lower East Side founded the Hebrew Free Burial Association. Its name in Hebrew was Chebra Agudas Achim Chesed Shel Emeth. (The Society of the Brotherhood of True Charity)The charity was organized to provide a funeral and burial place for Jews whose families couldn’t afford to pay for either. By 1909, the organization had two cemeteries in Staten Island, one of which, Mt. Richmond, is still the Society’s main burial ground. In 1911, they arranged for the burial of 22 of the victims of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire. The organization grew, and by the early 20th century, had a branch in Brooklyn’s Jewish community in Williamsburg. (more…)