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We were astounded to pass by and see the falling-down house at 1260 Bushwick Avenue has been fixed up. If anyone’s wandered these parts, they’ve surely noticed the row house next to an empty lot with its front facade peeling off, porch roof crumbling and, most remarkable and eye-catching of all, huge side wall sheathed in pieces of thin plywood — and some of those coming loose as well. It’s been like this at least since 2007, based on PropertyShark photos and our own visits to the area. Sometimes it looked as though people were living in it, too, although we were never sure. Or perhaps they were squatters.

There had been signs, over the months, that some kind of construction might be imminent, but we didn’t really believe it. In any case, now here it is, with a completely new stucco facade, looking as if it were never abandoned or a likely candidate for a tear-down.

After years of stagnation, there is a frenzy of construction in Bushwick. It’s impossible to walk down the street in Bushwick without seeing new buildings rising and old ones being renovated — generally by investors, not owner occupants. We’ll be showing you more projects over the next week or two.

In the meantime, click through to see more photos of 1260 Bushwick as well as other houses being spruced up — or horribly altered, depending on your point of view. The stucco-over-wood-frame treatment is very popular these days. We saw two more up the avenue. (more…)

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Filmmaker and actor Brian Crano and David Craig initially planned to buy a brownstone (or an apartment in one) when they moved from L.A. to Brooklyn. But after losing out on several places, they did a complete about-face and created a unique space in a totally generic new-construction building in Vinegar Hill, The New York Times reported.

They combined two one-bedroom apartments plus common hallway space on the top floor of a “developer’s special,” as the Times put it, then embarked on a gut renovation that included a new kitchen from Henrybuilt. They spent a total of $1,228,000 buying the space (including the hallway) and another $500,000 or so on the renovation. (more…)

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It’s sat empty for 20 years, but now it looks like work is finally under way to convert the old St. Teresa’s school complex into a training school for court officers at St. Johns Place and Classon Avenue in Crown Heights. We spotted this rendering on the fence, which shows that the three buildings will keep their facades but there will be a new glass walkway connecting them.

Also, the DOB issued new alteration permits earlier this month for the planned classrooms and dorms at 523 St. Johns Place. Work is supposed to wrap in the winter of 2015, according to construction signs.

Work Spotted at the St. Teresa Building Complex [Brownstoner] GMAP
New Life for St. Teresa’s Building Complex [Brownstoner]

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The dedication ceremony for the newly restored Victory and Peace World War I memorial in Saratoga Park — now draped in a blue plastic tarp behind a fence so it is not visible — will take place at noon on Wednesday, September 10. Speakers and attendees will include veterans, service members and residents of the community.

Bed Stuy resident and former marine Brian Hartig of Brownstone Detectives, who let us know about the date, has researched the lives of some of the 106 men honored on the statue and contacted the descendants of 22 of them. So far, a great-niece and a great-great niece and nephew of one of them plan to attend the event. “As a Marine who’s fought in a war, myself, this is another passion of mine,” he told us.

All the servicemen honored on the statue were born and raised in the neighborhood. World War I was “a devastating event for Stuyvesant Heights,” said Hartig in a statement he prepared about the unveiling. (more…)

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The new owner of an Edwardian apartment building in Clinton Hill is renovating and raising rents as tenants vacate. The renovated apartments have more bedrooms and less common space than the old ones. It’s a pattern we’re seeing all over the borough in neighborhoods where rents are rising quickly, such as Bed Stuy and Crown Heights. (more…)

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After forty years of abandonment, the Loew’s Kings Theatre in Flatbush will re-open in January 2015 with newly restored interiors and 3,000 seats, according to a press release spotted by Gothamist. The theater will host more than 200 performances a year across a variety of genres, including comedy, theater, dance, and popular music. Designed by Rapp and Rapp, the theater opened in 1929 and featured high curved ceilings, ornate plater walls, gold-leaf ornament and crystal chandeliers, all of which have been restored or faithfully recreated.

Martinez+Johnson Architecture, who have restored historic theaters across the country, are leading the two-year-long restoration project. The theater closed its doors in 1977, was acquired by the city in 1983, and sat collecting dust at 1027 Flatbush Avenue until restoration work began last year. GMAP

Loew’s Kings Theatre In Brooklyn Will Reopen Next Year [Gothamist]

Photo by Matt Lambros of After the Final Curtain via Facebook

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Kushner Companies is just about done renovating three former Brooklyn Law School dorms into market rate apartments, and Curbed took a look at the project. The developer bought six dorm buildings last year for $36,500,000, and is in the process of converting the other three back into single family homes.

The buildings at 144 Willow Street (pictured above), 18 Sidney Place, and 89 Hicks Street have 69 renovated apartments, all studios and one-bedrooms. Eight of them are rent stabilized. Rents run the gamut from $2,500 for a studio to $4,700 for a 1.5-bedroom with a private backyard. (more…)

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Do you remember 102 Gates Avenue, an estate sale condition Italianate in Clinton Hill that attracted 350 people to the open house in early 2013? Well, now it’s been beautifully restored and is going on the market in a few weeks, according to a story in the BK to the Fullest. Click through to the jump to see the “after” photos of the restored house.

When it was a House of the Day, we said, “Here’s the kind of listing we love to see: The house needs restoration, but just about every original detail appears to be present.” (more…)

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This interesting addition is rising on top of a townhouse at 1 Woodrow Court in Greenwood Heights, at the corner of 5th Avenue and 30th Street. The little two-story brick townhouse is being enlarged with a third floor and 836 more square feet, according to alteration permits. The architect of record is Eric Safyan, and his website includes more construction photos and a schematic, which we’ve included after the jump. (more…)

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Please welcome our latest renovation blogger, Pamela Capalad, who will be posting here monthly about the renovation of a Bushwick row house. Long-time readers will remember Pamela and Brian Kushner, aka Dyalekt, who together purchased a two-family row house in Bushwick for $190,000 plus $145,000 for a renovation with a 203K loan. Dyalekt is a musician and playwright and Pamela is a financial planner who also blogs at So We’re Buying a House! Her latest venture is called Brunch and Budget: The client provides the meal and Pamela provides the financial advice. We are excited to tell you that Pamela and Dyalekt have finished their renovation and now have furniture and art on the walls! Pamela will post more about that in the coming months. This week she is writing about solar panels.

Now that the house is done, on to solar panels!

Getting approved for the home equity line of credit turned out to be less painful than we thought it would be. It wasn’t the grueling back and forth of our refinance (where they grilled me about every item on my credit report and asked me to call American Express to tell them to change the fake — for security purposes — account number on the credit report to the real one so it would match up with the account statement); in fact, it was only a little more cumbersome than opening a credit card.

Even though the house was done, it wasn’t done. We had all these plans when we started that now we finally had brain space to think about and prioritize. Did we want to work on the backyard first and fully be rid of any evidence of heroin needles? Maybe install the projector and surround sound so we wouldn’t have to squint into our laptops to see which Lanister was betraying who this week? Should we throw a big paint party and have our artist friends finally put a big mural on our side wall?

Nope. Solar panels.

Of course we wanted them for environmental reasons blah blah blah, but I think part of it was we just wanted to give a big middle finger to ConEd in any small way we could. (more…)

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Brooklyn Public Library’s central branch at Grand Army Plaza needs $100,000,000 in repairs but only has enough cash to cover $30,000,000, according to a report in The New York Daily News. Library officials are about to begin repairing the cracked and leaking roof over the wing on the Flatbush Avenue side, which will cost $1,400,000.

The current roof will be torn off and replaced with membrane roofing, a more durable alternative to traditional asphalt roofs. Next year, the library plans to repair the branch’s Grand Lobby, update aging fire alarms, and fix its creaky elevators. The 73-year-old Art Deco building also has faulty air conditioning, cracked windows, and decaying bathrooms with broken sinks and toilets.

The de Blasio administration allocated $18,000,000 for capital repairs across the BPL’s 60-branch system, which requires an estimated $300,000,000 in repairs. The library is still planning to sell its Brooklyn Heights branch to a developer. Officials began evaluating proposals for a mixed-use condo building with the library on the ground floor in December.

Brooklyn’s Central Library Branch Needs $100 Million in Repairs [NYDN]
Photo by gigi_nyc

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This townhouse on the corner of Joralemon and Henry Street Streets in Brooklyn Heights is getting a modern update. The multifamily building at 108 Joralemon Street is losing a four-story rear extension and backyard garage and gaining a rear two-story extension with large windows. The four-story house is currently clad in scaffolding, and we found this rendering tacked to the front.

CWB Architects is the architect of record. Landmarks approved the proposal last year.

The building recently had five apartments, but alteration permits indicate it’s being converted to a one-family. The 4,800-square-foot building last changed hands in February 2013 for $3,210,000. What do you think of the addition?

Click through to see a construction shot.

(more…)