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Mayor de Blasio intends to lease unused land at public housing projects to private developers to build towers with 50-50 market rate and subsidized rentals, he announced Tuesday. Van Dyke and Ingersoll Houses as well as one complex in the Bronx will be the first in the project, which aims to raise $200,000,000 in fees from developers over 10 years as well as create 10,000 affordable units, The New York Times reported.

The money will go toward maintaining existing NYCHA housing, to make up for losing more than $1 billion in federal subsidies since 2001. Separately, an advocacy group for the elderly today recommended in a report that 39 parking lots at low-income senior housing be transformed into housing for seniors, The Wall Street Journal reported. (more…)

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Actress Christina Ricci is moving to Fort Greene. She and her husband, James Heerdegen, bought a townhouse at 67 Adelphi Street, The New York Post reported. The sale has not yet closed, so we don’t know the amount, but it was most recently asking $1,995,000.

The house is a wood frame and is 25 feet wide and semi-detached. It likely dates from the mid-19th century, but in other respects doesn’t seem especially distinguished inside or out. (more…)

59 S. Elliott Pl. CB, PS

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Wood-frame house
Address: 59 South Elliott Place
Cross Streets: DeKalb and Lafayette Avenues
Neighborhood: Fort Greene
Year Built: before 1879
Architectural Style: Queen Anne
Architect: Unknown
Landmarked: Yes, part of Fort Greene Historic District (1978)

The story: This is a house that takes you by surprise when walking or driving down the street. There it stands, a wood-frame amidst a row of brownstone row houses. It’s infill housing at its most eclectic, and it took place over 135 years ago.

There’s quite a story to this house. Its secrets were first revealed by the estimable Christopher Gray in his Streetscapes column in the New York Times, back in 1995.

Prior to 1879, this 25 foot wide lot was taken up by a one story frame structure, nestled in between a pair of houses that had been built in 1864 and other group built in 1885.

In 1879, a lawyer named Anthony Barrett bought the lot, and lived here. He immediately enlarged the structure considerably, adding floors, and creating a more traditional house. It was still, however a wood-frame. (more…)

29 Fort Green Pl. Bklyn Tech,SB, PS

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Brooklyn Technical High School
Address: 29 Fort Greene Place
Cross Streets: Between DeKalb and Lafayette Avenues
Neighborhood: Fort Greene
Year Built: 1930-33
Architectural Style: Collegiate Gothic meets Deco skyscraper
Architect: Walter C. Martin
Other Buildings by Architect: Franklin K. Lane HS, Bklyn; Samuel Gompers Vocational HS, Bronx; Andrew Jackson HS, Jamaica HS, Queens; George Washington HS, Manhattan, and more
Landmarked: No

The story: Architect Walter C. Martin, the Superintendent of Buildings for the New York City Board of Education had his hands full building Brooklyn Tech. The massive school building was constructed during the first three years of the 1930s, when the country was reeling under the effects of the Great Depression.

Thanks to Federal money, the school continued to rise above the brownstone streets of Fort Greene, overlooking Fort Greene Park. Brooklyn Tech was conceived as a specialized school, open to boys only. Part One of this history appears here.

It would offer a curriculum that was heavy in mathematics, science, engineering and related subjects, preparing them for higher education or a good job in the industrial sector.

The school was the brainchild of Dr. Albert Colston, once the head of the Mathematics department at Brooklyn’s Manual Training School in Park Slope. He would become the new school’s first principal. (more…)

29 Fort Green Pl. Bklyn Tech. JimHenderson for Wiki 1

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Brooklyn Technical High School
Address: 29 Fort Greene Place
Cross Streets: Between DeKalb and Lafayette Avenues
Neighborhood: Fort Greene
Year Built: 1930-33
Architectural Style: Collegiate Gothic meets Deco skyscraper
Architect: Walter C. Martin
Other Buildings by Architect: Franklin K. Lane HS, Bklyn; Samuel Gompers Vocational HS, Bronx; Andrew Jackson HS, Jamaica HS, Queens; George Washington HS, Manhattan, and more
Landmarked: No

The story: After World War I, educators began to realize that the world was rapidly changing, with technology becoming more and more important to everyday life, as well as in employment. The technologies made real for war were moving into the marketplace.

It was very similar to today, in that respect.

At the end of the 19th century, educators had introduced “manual training” into the high school curriculum. Girls were directed into the “domestic arts,” but boys were taught skills in carpentry, metalworking, engineering, drafting, building skills and the like, preparing some of them for higher education, and most of them for the job market.

Dr. Albert Colston was the head of the Mathematics Departmment at Brooklyn’s Manual Training School, later called John Jay High School, in Park Slope. He had a vision of a new technical high school that would train boys in the new technologies of the 20th century. (more…)

155-159 Lafayette Ave, CB, PS

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Flats buildings
Address: 155-159 Lafayette Avenue
Cross Streets: Carlton Avenue and Adelphi Street
Neighborhood: Fort Greene
Year Built: 1897
Architectural Style: Renaissance Revival with Palladian and Classical details
Architect: Frank Bosworth
Other Buildings by Architect: Was not able to find any
Landmarked: Yes, part of Fort Green Historic District (1978)

The story: The architect of these two twin flats buildings was an unknown named Frank Bosworth. He would have loved the Internet, because it takes only one real estate ad to create a tsunami of positive hype for oneself that is still rather amazing even in this day of jaded Internet use — as our story will show.

When I looked up Frank Bosworth, to see if he had designed anything else, I got a flood of entries. The only problem was that they were all copies of one listing for one of the larger apartments in the building, first run in 2014.

The real estate broker had described the building as being built by “famed architect Frank Bosworth.” Because that description was repeated by all the sites that rerun the listings, “famed architect Frank Bosworth” finally got his 15 minutes of, well…fame. An entire page of Frank Bosworth mentions. Unfortunately for us architect geeks, that was it.

Mr. Bosworth remains a cypher, an unknown in the pantheon of Brooklyn architects. (more…)

213-235 Clermont Ave, NS, PS 1

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Row houses
Address: 213-235 Clermont Avenue
Cross Streets: DeKalb and Willoughby Avenues
Neighborhood: Fort Greene
Year Built: 1868-1871
Architectural Style: French Second Empire
Architect: Unknown
Landmarked: Yes, part of Fort Greene Historic District (1978)

The story: My introduction to Brooklyn came from my BFF, who was a student at Pratt Institute during the late 1970s, through early 80s. When she graduated, she stayed in the neighborhood for many years afterward. I was living in the Bronx at that time, but used to visit often, and because she moved around a lot, I saw a lot of apartments in Clinton Hill and Fort Greene. Most of them were pretty awful student housing hovels, back in the day when you could rent almost anything to a starving art student. But after she had a decent job, her apartment choices got better, and her last apartment in Brooklyn was in this group of houses.

I was still living in a 1930s apartment in the Bronx, which was a totally different aesthetic than a floor-through in an 1868 row house. I loved her apartment, which was on the third floor of one of these houses. I’ll never forget it had two beautiful intricately carved marble fireplaces, one in the front and one in the back rooms. One had the bust of a woman in the center, and both had the patina of age. Thank goodness, they had never been covered in paint. (more…)

304 cumberland street fort greene 32015

Exposed brick and decorative mantels give this Fort Greene one-bedroom a sweet, homey feel. The strip kitchen isn’t the newest or the most attractive, but there are a decent amount of cabinets, as well as a microwave and dishwasher. The living room and bedroom are both nicely sized, and there are two large closets for storage. What are your thoughts on it for $2,700 a month?

304 Cumberland Street, #2 [Corcoran] GMAP

259-261 Cumberland St. SB, PS 2

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Row houses
Address: 259-261 Cumberland Street
Cross Streets: DeKalb and Lafayette Avenues
Neighborhood: Fort Greene
Year Built: 1876
Architectural Style: Transitional Italianate/Neo-Grec
Architect: Thomas H. Brush
Other Buildings by Architect: Brush was more a builder than architect, with row houses and other buildings in Fort Greene, Clinton Hill and Bedford.
Landmarked: Yes, part of Fort Greene Historic District (1978)

The story: People become successful housing developers by getting the most out of a piece of property. Thomas H. Brush, who was the owner, architect and builder of these houses, and many others in Brooklyn, understood this well. He was in possession of a 25 foot plot of land on Cumberland Street between DeKalb and Lafayette Avenue in 1875, when Fort Greene was in the middle of a great building boom. He could have built a handsome 25 foot wide mansion on this lot, it would not have been too unremarkable here, but he chose differently. He built two 12.5 foot wide brownstones instead.

Acting as his own architect, and possessing a fine sense of balance and proportion, he divided the property in two. He designed them to look like one large house by placing the doorways on the ends of the plot, allowing an unrelieved bank of windows on the upper stories and a shared cornice to give the illusion of much larger homes. He gave his houses wide brownstone shelves and lintels, and framed the doors and windows with heavy molded sills. They eye carries upward, and then across, creating the illusion of one big house that just happens to have two doorways. (more…)

231 carlton avenue fort greene 22015

The five brand new townhouses at Carlton Mews in Fort Greene hit the market Tuesday, each with a triplex and a two-bedroom garden apartment. We took a tour in person the same day, and they look as incredible in real life as they do here in the listing photos.

We speculate these were built to sell, not rent, but issues stemming from the collapse that killed a construction worker in 2012 may make that difficult or undesirable for now, at least.

Kudos to the architect, who is Darrin Krumpus of Boro Architects, according to the permits.

For $12,000 a month, the triplexes feature four bedrooms, three and a half baths, a den, large living room and basement storage. The 3,200-square-foot homes have bronze cabinet handles, Viking Stoves, gas fireplaces, zoned central heating and cooling and five-inch-wide oak plank floors. There’s also a deck and landscaped backyard shared with the garden apartment.

Downstairs, the two-bedroom garden apartments are 1,000 square feet and asking $3,750 a month. The finishes are not as nice as the triplexes, but they still sport white oak floors, stainless steel appliances and central heating and cooling. Five of the 10 units — two triplexes and three garden apartments — have already been rented, agent John LaRocca of Arena Real Estate told us.

The Landmarks-approved townhouses at 225-233 Carlton Avenue were built in a traditional 19th century style that mirrors the rest of the block. We’ve been watching them since construction began two and a half years ago, as well as the adjacent church, which was converted to 12 rentals and began leasing last month.

More photos after the jump! What do you think of how they turned out?

231 Carlton Avenue [StreetEasy]
Carlton Mews Coverage [Brownstoner]
Photos by Arena Real Estate via StreetEasy

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31 St. Felix St. CB, PS

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Former carriage house, now condos
Address: 31 St. Felix Street
Cross Streets: Dekalb Avenue and Fulton Street
Neighborhood: Fort Greene
Year Built: Unknown, new addition: 2004-5
Architectural Style: Romanesque Revival
Architect: Original building unknown; 2004 addition: Susan L. Shefmaker, Jorge Concepcion, project manager
Landmarked: No

The story: St. Felix Street begins at Dekalb Avenue and ends three blocks later at Hanson Place. The street and its surrounding neighbors began to be developed in the 1840s. A look at the Brooklyn Eagle shows lots selling all throughout the early 40s, and then houses for sale later in the decade. The longer block between Dekalb and Fulton Street was always a mixture of row houses and service buildings. Over the next 40 years, some of the buildings were replaced or made larger, but the block stayed that same mixture of homes and service buildings.

This building has a confusing history. Confusing, because there is information out there about it that I couldn’t verify. I found many references to the building as being a firehouse. One was a list someone had drawn up of old Brooklyn firehouses. It listed this address and building as Engine 226. But the real Engine 226 is on State Street in Boreum Hill. It’s always been there, even when it was Brooklyn Fire Department Engine 26. (It was also a BOTD, coincidentally.) When this building was converted into condos, the owner also called it a former firehouse, and so has every real estate ad since. I don’t think it was. (more…)