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A rundown and altered Second Empire-style wood frame house at 40 Cambridge Place in Clinton Hill is getting a total redo using Passive House technology. The exterior will be restored to match its twin next door, including windows that appear to be double hung, because it is in the Clinton Hill Historic District.

The missing porch and altered bay window will be restored. The inside will be retrofitted according to Passive House standards, according to DOB permits.

Right now, the whole thing is shrouded in scaffolding — as is the house next door at 46 Cambridge Place. (That may be to protect it. The house did recently have some work going on inside, but apparently it’s not related to this project.)

When 40 Cambridge was a House of the Day in 2011, we said it had lots of details in and out but appeared to need work. Click through the jump below to see what the exterior looked like in 2012 and to see the house under construction now.

The house last changed hands for $740,00 in 2011. The owner plans to obtain a new certificate of occupancy but will keep it as a two-family, according to permits.

This should be an interesting one to watch.

House of the Day: 40 Cambridge Place [Brownstoner] GMAP
Last photo below by Nicholas Strini for PropertyShark

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The architects at OPerA Studio took a crumbling townhouse at 463 Carroll Street in Gowanus and transformed it into a modern four-bedroom home with new facades and Juliet balconies. The client was a developer who intended to sell the house.

“The concept was to create a modern dwelling that retained the warmth and texture of a traditional townhouse,” OPerA’s Thomas Barry told us. Exposed brick walls and warm reclaimed wood in the window surrounds and stairs help balance out the house’s modern feel.

“The deep wood window surrounds create a play of shadows on the facades while providing a natural materiality, but rendered in a modern formal vocabulary,” he continued. “This balance is carried inside with the details of the stairs and the continuation of the play of warm and cool material combinations.”

The house required major structural repairs. The underlying wood frame structure was so termite-damaged that the “brick facades were literally hanging on nothing,” Barry said. OPerA Studio removed the facades, shored up the unstable wood framing, repaired the foundation and replaced the cellar slab. Then new facades were built at the front and back with a 2-by-6 wood frame. Half the floor joists were replaced.

After the renovation, the 2,400-square-foot home has three and a half baths, a blindingly white chef’s kitchen, gas fireplaces and a double-height master bedroom on the third floor. It hit the market with renderings in the fall of 2013 and sold for its aggressive asking price, $2,649,000, last December.

Click through to see photos from before and after the renovation. What do you think of how it turned out?

Major Renovation in Works at 463 Carroll Street [Brownstoner]
Photos by OPerA Studio

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We were intrigued to see this wood frame house at 650 Decatur Street in Bed Stuy had lost its stoop when we passed the other day. We are looking forward to seeing the new one and will post a picture of it hopefully in a few weeks.

It sold in November for $235,000, according to public records. No matter what condition the house was in, that’s an astonishing low price these days.

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It seems that every time a brownstone is listed as a House of the Day, the debate begins. How much will it cost to renovate and decorate? Estimates of $500,000 and over a million are common numbers thrown around. But what about those of us who want to renovate a brownstone and aren’t sitting on $2,000,000?

The naysayers will say if you don’t spend several hundred thousand dollars, then you’ll be living in a Home Depot special. I will say that renovating and decorating a brownstone can be done nicely and on budget with a lot of research and patience.

I also understand that having this entire debate is from a position of privilege — if you’re in the market for a brownstone in Brooklyn these days, whether your renovation budget is $50,000 or $2,000,000, you’re doing fine. But with that being said, here are some tips to help with renovating and decorating. (more…)

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The restored facade of the long-suffering wood frame house at 580 Carlton Avenue, one of the oldest in the Prospect Heights, can now be seen above the construction fence. “580 Carlton has a new facade! And dare I say, it looks pretty nice!” said Cara Greenberg of CasaCARA, who sent us this photo.

Longtime readers may recall the ups and downs at this landmarked property, whose renovation caused the partial collapse of the landmarked twin house next door. By the end of 2012, No. 580 had been reduced to merely a facade, like a movie set. At some point, architect Rachel Frankel, known her ability to create historically correct looking new buildings, got on board, and is now handling the Landmarks-approved restoration of both properties.

Way back when 580 Carlton was for sale in 2011, Cara toured the open house, and had to sign a waiver before entering. It had beautiful mantels and original windows and doors. You can see all the details on her blog here. Let’s hope the owners were able to salvage something to use in the rebuild.

How do you like the way the facade is looking so far?

580 Carlton Avenue Coverage [Brownstoner]
Photo by Cara Greenberg

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The two-story addition to Green Desk coworking space has most of its windows at 147 Prince Street in Downtown Brooklyn. The company run by landlord Jack Guttman is doubling the size of its two-story building, for a total of four stories and 52,694 square feet, per alteration permits.

Besides the corner of Prince and Fleet Streets, Green Desk has locations in Williamsburg and Greenpoint, as well as three different buildings in Dumbo. How do you like the look here?

Greendesk Coworking Space Gets an Addition in Downtown Brooklyn [Brownstoner] GMAP

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New York YIMBY found two so-far-unpublished renderings for 247 Bedford, perhaps best known as the future home of Apple’s first Brooklyn store. The renderings shows an additional story at the north end and, notably, big square windows. The building previously had distinctive arched windows. These also appear in a previously published rendering.

It’s not clear which of the designs will actually be built — or if both sets of renderings are obsolete. BTW, Apple will occupy the southern corner of the building, closest to Metropolitan Avenue, at one time home to a bagel store. The late, lamented mom and pop shop Kings Pharmacy until recently occupied a large space on the northern end of the building.

Marin Architects is the designer. The firm has designed Duane Reade pharmacies and a Muji store, among other retail projects.

When we stopped by the construction site in late December, the unoccupied southern part of the building had been completely demolished. The part of the building that houses a Corcoran real estate office and former apartments above was still standing. A green construction fence and scaffolding covered the building.

Click through to see more renderings as well as a photo of the property we took in December.

First Look: Williamsurg Apple Store, 247 Bedford Avenue [NYY]
241 Bedford Coverage [Brownstoner]
First two renderings by Marin Architects via NYY; third rendering via The Real Deal

Update: We’re thinking the two new renderings may actually show the North 4th Street side of the building. That would explain why the smokestack is missing.

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187 7th avenue park slope rendering

Plans and renderings have been revealed for the conversion of the dilapidated 19th-century apartment building on a prominent Park Slope corner across from P.S. 321. The Times reported that developer Sugar Hill Capital Partners will spend $6,000,000 revamping the five-story building at 187 7th Avenue into four condos and hopes to finish construction in the fall.

Two of the three-bedroom, two-bath condos at “2ND7th” hit the market last week for $3,198,000 and $3,500,000 respectively. Both of the pricey pads are just over 2,000 square feet, and the more expensive one is a penthouse with a private roof deck. The building will also have a common roof deck with cabanas and a communal kitchen for grilling, according to the listings.

While we’re happy the building is being revamped, we think it’s unfortunate the pressed-metal turret and its older-style windows will be lost. (Click through to see an old photo of the building.) It looks like they plan to match the old brick and keep the cornice.

What do you think of the rendering?

Restoring a Park Slope Wreck [NYT]
187 7th Avenue Listings [Corcoran]
187 7th Avenue Coverage [Brownstoner]
Rendering by New Amsterdam Design Associates via NY Times

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The Brooklyn Army Terminal has announced plans to renovate another building in its massive, formerly abandoned complex in Sunset Park, the Times reported. The NYC Economic Development Corporation, which runs the terminal, is going to rehabilitate 500,000 square feet on seven floors in Building A, which stretches between 58th and 63rd streets along the waterfront.

Revamping the building, which has been abandoned since the ’60s, is expected to cost $100,000,000. The EDC plans to remove asbestos and install new freight and passenger elevators, electric service, life-safety systems, plumbing, heating and windows.

The terminal is also in the middle of renovating its former administration building, a 55,000 square-foot structure located just north of Building A along 58th Street. The military officially closed the terminal in 1966, transferring 3,200 civilian and military jobs to Bayonne, N.J., according to the Times.

Next Phase of Renovation to Begin at a Vast Military Remnant in Brooklyn [NYT]
Brooklyn Army Terminal Coverage [Brownstoner]
Photo by Nicholas Lemery Nantel

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Developer Jacob Toll gave us a tour of the nearly complete rentals at the Lewis Steel Building, which stretches a full block on North 4th Street between Wythe and Berry in Williamsburg. Construction at the former steel mill at 76 North 4th Street is 95 percent done, he said, and he expects the 83 luxury rentals, ranging from studios to three bedrooms, to hit the market in May. Asking rents for the Hustvedt Cutler-designed apartments will start around $3,000 for one-bedrooms, $3,500 for studios and $4,500 for two-bedrooms, according to Toll.

You can glimpse the building’s industrial past in the lobby and amenity areas, which still sport original brick, and the parking garage, which was one of the factory’s loading bays. Wood joists salvaged from the floor line the hallway ceilings every few feet, and several apartments feature original brick. The elevator shafts were converted to three one-bedrooms, and the elevator doors and brick were preserved in those units. Many apartments also have private terraces or roof access, and some of the ones on the top two floors have gas fireplaces. The largest (and priciest) unit is a 1,300-square-foot three-bedroom, two-bath duplex with a gas fireplace and roof access.

There will also be some nice retail: Blue Bottle Coffee, Steven Alan Home and bookseller McNally Jackson have all signed leases for ground floor retail in the building, as we reported earlier this month.

Click through to see the apartments!

Lewis Steel Building [MNS]
Lewis Steel Coverage [Brownstoner]
Steelworks Loft Coverage [Brownstoner]

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The Landmarks Preservation Commission has approved the proposed renovation plans for the historically significant 1839 Greek Revival house at 70 Willow Street in Brooklyn Heights, we hear from readers who attended the hearing this morning. Two caveats: The LPC asked the owners, Grand Theft auto creator Dan Houser and his wife Krystyna, to retain the existing ironwork and the front door, shown in the recently revised and approved front and side elevations, above. The rear porch, however, is history.

70 Willow Street Coverage [Brownstoner]
Rendering by Bories & Shearron

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At the last minute, as the Landmarks Preservation Commission prepares to hear more testimony about the proposed alterations at historic Heights’ home 70 Willow this morning, more information has come to light about the history of the highly contested porch on the rear of the building, which the current owners would like to remove.

Last night we received documents and an email exchange between preservationists about the porch. The most important of these is the 1887 Sanborn map, above, which appears to show the porch is much earlier — or much later, depending on your view — than previously thought. (On these old fire insurance maps, pink indicates brick and yellow shows wood — in this case, the porch.) An earlier map, the 1855 Perris map, does not show a porch, according to the historic consultant for the renovation, Patrick W. Ciccone.

Ciccone had previously thought the porch dated from about 1900 — and it was replaced entirely in the early 2010s, he told us last week. (Click through to see the porch in 1958 – with Truman Capote leaning against it.)

This new information doesn’t affect the proposed renovation, Ciccone told us. The design “is based on the historic signficance of the 1839 Greek Revival design as the basis of restoration. It didn’t have the porch according to the 1855 map — and we argued that alteration, including those in the 19th century, lacked signficance on their own.”

The Historic Districts Council, a coalition of community groups from designated historic districts, feels otherwise. The group received documents about the porch from an anonymous source and forwarded the information to Landmarks yesterday with a strongly worded email arguing the porch should remain.

“A glaring omission in the applicant’s original presentation was the absence of the rear ‘tea porch’ in the 19th century. For this reason, the applicant purported that the current porch has no historic value, and therefore lending a green light for demolition. The attached packet provides documentation of an extant rear porch in 1887 via a Sanborn map (the earliest map the applicant provided of an extant porch was 1922) and also photographs of the porch throughout the years, showing a consistent and historic configuration that remains today. One final consideration is that this house’s porch is visible from the street, as there is a wide driveway. In short, the demolition of the porch would be a crucial loss.”

Owners Plan to Restore Historic Heights Home 70 Willow Inside and Out [Brownstoner]
Landmarks Sends 70 Willow Reno Plans Back to Drawing Board [Brownstoner]
Landmarks to Consider Alterations to Truman Capote’s Old Brooklyn Heights House [Brownstoner]
Image above via Historic Districts Council; image below via New York Magazine

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