04/15/14 4:00pm

Tenants at Homewood Gardens Estates in East Flatbush claim their landlord is trying to push them out in favor of white tenants willing to pay higher rents, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court. The suit alleges that landlords Yeshaya Wasserman, Shay Wasserman and Yitzchok Rambod ignored repair requests, forced evictions and offered cash buyouts, the New York Post reported. The East Flatbush residents also say the landlords consistently refuse to make repairs for black tenants, fail to cash rent checks and delay the delivery of front door keys.

“In contrast, white tenants move into renovated apartments, their rent checks are cashed, they receive monthly rent statements and they are not subject to harassment,” the suit states, according to the Post.

The lawsuit also claims black residents have seen their rents double, while white tenants have seen minimal rent increases at lease renewal time. Wasserman and his partners bought the buildings on Brooklyn Avenue and Hawthorne Street in 2009. The state’s Tenant Protect Unit has been investigating Wasserman since last fall, when it subpoenaed documents from all eight of his properties in Brooklyn.

Brooklyn Landlords Pushing Black Tenants out for Whites: Suit [NY Post]
Closing Bell: State Investigates Crown Heights, Flatbush Landlord for Tenant Abuse [Brownstoner]

Image via Google Maps

04/03/14 12:15pm

This two-bedroom apartment in East Flatbush is freshly renovated and relatively spacious. The kitchen is large enough for a table, and there is a separate dining room. The French doors on the living room help brighten up the dining room, which doesn’t have a window, according to the floor plan.

But the walk to the 2 and 5 trains is not exactly short — it’s just over half a mile to the Sterling or Winthrop Street stops, or seven to eight blocks. Do you think the rent is fair at $1,600 a month?

596 Midwood Street [Halstead] GMAP

03/18/14 10:00am

123 on the Park - Entrance

A new rendering is out for what the old Caledonian Hospital at 100 Parkside Avenue in Flatbush will look like once it’s converted into rental apartments, above. As we reported Friday, rents in the building will start at $1,999 per month for a studio. The address of the building has also changed, to 123 Parkside.

The seven-story building, known as 123 on the Park, will have 119 units and rentals will start soon, developers The Chetrit Group and Clipper Equity announced yesterday. Apartsandlofts.com will handle leasing.

Rendering by Karl Fisher & Associates

03/14/14 11:00am

The rental conversion of the former Caledonian Hospital at 100 Parkside Avenue is almost complete, and the Q at Parkside reported on the initial pricing. The Karl Fischer-designed development, called 123 on the Park, will have 120 units, 128 underground parking spaces, and 67 bike parking spaces.

Asking rents for studios will start at $1,999 per month, one-bedrooms from $2,299, two-bedrooms from $3,250 and three-bedrooms from $3,800. Move-ins are scheduled to start May 1, according to the Q.

Almost Time to Say Hello to Caledonia’s Newest Neighbors [Q at Parkside] GMAP
Checking in at the Caledonian Hospital Conversion [Brownstoner]

02/07/14 9:30am

Plans for a Wyckoff House Visitors Center have been in the works for two years, and yesterday the Parks Department filed an application for a new building. The plan calls for a two-story visitors center and caretaker apartment at 5914 Clarendon Road next to the Pieter Claesen Wyckoff House, the city’s oldest structure and now a museum.

As we reported in March, nArchitects is designing the 4,780-square-foot building, which is strategically placed to shield the 17th-century house from the street. The strikingly modern building will house museum activities and displays, event space and administrative offices. GMAP

A Modern Extension for Historic Wyckoff House [Brownstoner]
New Visitors Center Coming to Flatbush’s Wyckoff House [Brownstoner]

Rendering by nArchitects

02/04/14 9:30am

2415-albemarle-road-drawing-020414

Some preliminary designs are out for Hello Living’s Flatbush project at 2415 Albemarle Road. The plan calls for 44 condos with balconies and elevators opening directly into units, BuzzBuzzHome reported.

Floor plans show 630-square-foot one-bedrooms and 816-square-feet two-bedrooms. There will be 30 parking spaces and a gym, according to the Hello Living site. No permits have yet been filed. Click through to the jump to see a floor plan.

More Details on Hello Living’s Latest Flatbush Project at 2415 Albemarle [BuzzBuzzHome]
Hello Living Expands to Flatbush With Hello Albemarle Development [Brownstoner]
Images via BuzzBuzzHome (more…)

02/04/14 9:00am

560-winthrop-street-020414

Nonprofit developer CAMBA said it plans to demo the former psych ward at Kings County Hospital in Flatbush and build affordable housing in its place, DNAinfo reported. The building at 560 Winthrop Street closed in 2009.

The new building, pictured above, will make up the second phase of CAMBA Gardens, which occupies the sites of two other former hospital buildings nearby on Albany Avenue.

This development will have 293 apartments over 97,000 square feet. The architect is John Woelfling of Dattner Architects. The project is expected to wrap in 2016.

Affordable Housing to Replace Shuttered Kings County Hospital Psych Ward [DNAinfo]
Drawing by Dattner Architects via DNAinfo

01/30/14 3:00pm

1-14 Martense Court, NS, PS 1

Name: Semi-detached row houses
Address: 1-14 Martense Court
Cross Streets: Flatbush and Bedford Avenues
Neighborhood: Flatbush
Year Built: 1915-1916
Architectural Style: Colonial Revival with Flemish details
Architect: Cantor & Dorfman
Other buildings by architect: Similar houses and apartment buildings and garages across Flatbush and southern Brooklyn
Landmarked: No

The story: Martense Court is a small cul-de-sac containing just fourteen houses, just off Martense Street in Flatbush. The streets are named for Flatbush resident Joris Martense, one of the area’s prominent citizens during the Revolutionary War era. Martense was the grandson of Martin Adriance, at one time the largest landowner in Flatbush. Not sure who was going to win the battle between the colonies and the British, Martense hedged his bets, supporting the king while also heavily invested in supplying the patriot cause with money and guns. After the war, he must have been forgiven, and was one of several Flatbush citizens to establish the Erasmus Hall School.

The semi-detached houses with garages out back were the brainchild of developer Charles Goell. He was a prominent Jewish developer in Flatbush, Crown Heights South and East New York in the first three decades of the 20th century. Goell had come to the US from Dvinsk, Russia, as a boy of 13. He quickly learned English, and got himself into the building trades. He got his first job as a construction foreman at the age of 17. He soon had his own company, and set out building his first 350 houses in the East New York/Brownsville area.

A biography of Mr. Goell and other prominent Jewish businessmen, written by someone for whom Yiddish was probably their first language, from the overall syntax, describes Goell’s inspiration for this group of Flatbush houses: “The exquisite Martense Court, Flatbush, is another of his projects, which, amazing as it may seem, he fully visualized in the course of a mere street car ride to Flatbush. Martense Court is thus the embodiment of a half-hour’s mental manipulation which evolved into the mind’s eye image of which it is the concrete prototype.” (more…)

01/14/14 11:30am

Massey Knakal is marketing a senior home in Flatbush as a development site with a special tax abatement for $20,000,000, The Wall Street Journal reported. The property at 123 Linden Boulevard currently houses a four-story building, but it has air rights that allow for up to 250,000 square feet of development. Or it could be developed up to 316,000 square feet as a community building.

New York Congregational Community Services is selling the property, which has a 15-year tax abatement through the 421a program. The program encourages developers to build market-rate and affordable housing in underdeveloped neighborhoods. 421a requires that 20 percent of apartments in new developments be affordable housing, but the property will be eligible for the tax abatement even if only market-rate apartments are built.

The Colonial Revival building, a former Building of the Day, was built in 1918 and designed by the Parfitt Brothers.

Asking Price for Flatbush Site Is $20 Million [WSJ]
123 Linden Boulevard [Massey Knakal]
Building of the Day: 123 Linden Boulevard [Brownstoner]

01/07/14 12:15pm

This junior four co-op at the edge of Midwood and Flatbush Kensington is small but charming. The master bedroom is decently sized and the second one is 8 by 10 feet and off the galley kitchen, according to the floor plan. It seems like a good choice for a couple with a small child or roommates who don’t mind splitting the rent unevenly.

The kitchen and bathroom are recently updated, according to the listing, although the photos don’t show it. The bathroom has kind of a retro feel with the brown accents. Do you think the $1,800 a month rent is ambitious for the location?

770 Ocean Parkway [Fillmore] GMAP

12/13/13 3:00pm

2848 Church Ave, Lincoln SB NS, PS 1

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Former Lincoln Savings Bank, now McDonalds
Address: 2848 Church Avenue
Cross Streets: Corner Nostrand Avenue
Neighborhood: Flatbush
Year Built: 1932
Architectural Style: Early Deco, with pared down neo-classical elements
Architect: Unknown, but perhaps Halsey, McCormack & Helmer, it’s very much in their style
Landmarked: No

The story: The German Savings Bank of Brooklyn was chartered in Brooklyn in 1866. The next year, the Brooklyn Eagle announced that the bank, which was founded by a group of successful German businessmen, and was opening for business soon. Interestingly enough, in their charter documents, which named the principals in the bank’s organization, most of the names were not German. Perhaps they thought they needed Anglo front men… At any rate, they opened their first branch on Montrose Street. By the way, the German Savings Bank was not the same institution as the Germania Savings Bank, which was chartered by an all-German group of investors, but they were both in the same Williamsburg/Bushwick area. Ok, moving forward.

The German Savings Bank of Brooklyn did well, and by the first decades of the 20th century had its headquarters on Broadway, and had a branch up the road, in Williamsburg, on Graham Avenue. The German community, as well as others, made this one of the most successful banks in Brooklyn. But then World War I happened. Suddenly, being German was no longer cool, and in a move to distance themselves from any anti-German frenzy, and to prove they were good and loyal Americans, the bank changed their name to the Lincoln Savings Bank. You can’t get more American than that. (more…)

12/09/13 10:00am

242-decatur-street-1-031313

Small real estate brokerages are doing well in brownstone neighborhoods in Brooklyn, according to the Times, where buyers seek their local expertise and deep connections. In Bed Stuy, Evans & Nye is becoming known for having sold some of the most beautifully appointed and highest priced brownstones in the neighborhood, many just under $2,000,000. In April, the firm sold a limestone by Magnus Dahlander at 242 Decatur Street, above, for $1,700,000.

Firm co-founder Ban Leow is a long-time resident and owns the furniture and antique store CasaBAN across the street from his real estate office on Tompkins. It also helps that one of the firm’s agents, Morgan Munsey, is a walking encyclopedia of Bed Stuy architecture and seems to know every resident of the area. Over in Victorian Flatbush, the 93-year-old Mary Kay Gallagher has flourished for almost 50 years by charting a similar path. She is famous for her deep knowledge of the area, where she also lives. Her three-person family firm sold a colonial on Westminister Road for $2,000,000 this past fall, a record.

If you are buying or selling, do you look for a big name or a small one?

Small Brokerages Hold Their Own [NY Times]
Photo by Evans & Nye