07/29/14 2:00pm

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We had wondered if the Unity Democratic Club at the corner of Ralph and Howard was still active, but hadn’t seen any signs of life since Obama’s first election. Now it looks like the old sign at 203 Ralph Avenue is coming down, perhaps for a new tenant or repairs. What would you like to see go into this space? GMAP

07/16/14 2:00pm

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Macy’s is contemplating selling its downtown Brooklyn store and building another nearby, according to a report in Women’s Wear Daily reblogged by Racked. Alternatively, the store could “redevelop the existing structure with apartment units on higher levels and a shrunken version of the department stores on the first few levels, á la the forthcoming Nordstrom,” as Racked put it. (more…)

06/26/14 2:00pm

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We were shocked to see Circa Antiques will be closing up shop after 40 years in business when we passed by 374 Atlantic Avenue yesterday. The store will continue to sell online, a notice in the store window and on its website says. Circa is selling all its furniture at 20 percent to 50 percent off and plans to close in two or three months or at the end of 2014. Will you miss it? GMAP

06/18/14 2:00pm

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Brown paper has gone up in the windows and workers were busy setting up the interior at 312 Atlantic Avenue this morning, where retail mogul Andy Spade and partners are preparing to open a new home goods store later this month. Boerum House & Home will be “laid out like an apartment — albeit a totally fabulous one,” according to New York Magazine, which first reported on the plans.

Spade teamed up with Anthony Sperduti to found a new company, Partners & Spade, which in partnership with architecture and development firm Flank created the store. There will be accessories, tabletop, custom furniture, art, and whimsical objects such as children’s coloring books, said the story.

We’re not surprised by this new direction, considering the bag-upstaging decor at the original Jack Spade store in Soho back when Spade owned it, where there was a ripped-up leather couch, rare books, quirky vintage objects and interesting art on the walls, including paintings from thrift stores.

A Jonathan Adler store down the street closed a few weeks ago, but home goods store Layla Brooklyn, clothing retailer Steven Alan and plenty of other stores are nearby. GMAP

06/12/14 2:00pm

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The Bed Stuy office of the Brooklyn Cooperative Federal Credit Union is moving a few blocks to a new building designed by architect Nataliya Donskoy. When we passed by 832 Dekalb Avenue earlier this month, paper was up in the window touting the credit union’s imminent arrival.

The last day at the old Bed Stuy office will be June 23; the new location opens June 30, according to the firm’s website. As well as providing basic banking services, the firm gives loans to local businesses and homeowners. Its other office is in Bushwick, where it started in 2001. Anyone here a member? GMAP

06/12/14 11:30am

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Bed Stuy coffee shop Bread Love is searching for new space, perhaps a pop-up shop, after a fire gutted its cafe in the stable behind 375 Stuyvesant Avenue last month. In the meantime, the outfit is still selling baked goods and coffee at the Lewis Avenue flea market every Saturday, reported DNAinfo.

The fire has also displaced other tenants at the building, because the caretakers of the mansion, Gather Brooklyn, “will no longer manage the space,” according to the story. So the community groups and nonprofits there, including a Capoeira group, will no longer have space in the building. Presumably the Freebrook Academy school is still operating in the mansion, though the story didn’t specify.

The cause of the fire is still being investigated. Above, the backyard space and stable as it appeared the morning after the fire.

Bed Stuy Mansion’s Caretakers Bow out After Bread Love Fire [DNAinfo]
Fire, Vandalism, Robbery Damages Bread Love [Brownstoner]

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Apartment listings are up and retailers signed for 426 Bainbridge Street, a long-empty mixed-use building in east Bed Stuy, pictured above, that was the first Bed Stuy purchase of neighborhood investor Weissman Equities. The four units are all no fee and gut renovated. They all have two bedrooms, one bath and are asking $2,100 a month. They have 10-foot-high ceilings, oak floors with an ebony finish, white subway tile, marble backsplashes and quartz counters in the kitchens, and Toto toilets.

Retail tenants include Noel Salon, which is relocating from elsewhere in the neighborhood, and Legend Pet Supply. Legend will open in a few weeks, and the salon is aiming for July. Drive by Press print shop and gallery has been open in the space for several months already, as reported.

Meanwhile, work on the previously bricked-up retail space at landmarked building 616 Halsey Street continues, and the firm plans to close on three more Bed Stuy buildings in July, bringing the total up to seven, said Weissman Equities Partner Seth Weissman. One of its properties is 216 Malcolm X Boulevard, where the bar Khemistry plans to open later this summer in a long-empty space, as previously reported.

Weissman Equities also plans to open up now-defunct retail space at two of the new properties it is purchasing. “I’m a big believer in how storefronts can activate the sidewalk and the neighborhood,” said Weissman. “We think it’s important for the long-term success of the community.” This week, Weissman Equities unveiled a Bed Stuy-only investment fund, as reported yesterday.

426 Bainbridge Street Listings [Weissman Equities]
Weissman Equities Coverage [Brownstoner]

reclaimed home hot seat

Welcome to the Hot Seat, where we interview people involved in real estate, architecture, development and design. Introducing Phyllis Bobb and Emilia DeVitis, bloggers and owners of Reclaimed Home, an architectural salvage and antique store in southern Crown Heights. Bobb has been blogging about renovation, upcycling and recycling vintage items at Reclaimed Home since 2007. She’s also a longtime Brownstoner commenter who goes by the username “rh.” She teamed up with her good friend DeVitis, a visual artist and studio manager, to open their shop in April.

Brownstoner: Where do you live, and how did you end up there?

Phyllis Bobb: I live in the southwest corner of Bed Stuy or “Bedford Corners Historic District,” as some like to call it. In 2003, my husband and I sold our Park Slope home and moved upstate to our weekend place in Ulster County. After a year of living in the woods, we decided that wasn’t for us but we still didn’t want to return to the city just yet, so we moved to Beacon, thinking that there was more going on.

I got involved with real estate up there and started looking for an investment property. After a deal in Newburgh fell though (thank heavens!), I started looking closer and closer to the city…Rockland County, Yonkers…The Bronx. Then my husband said “What if you look in Brooklyn?” And that was the beginning of the end of Beacon for us. We bought the two-family house as an investment, full well knowing that one day we would return. And so we did a couple of years ago!

As far as how I chose Bed Stuy, I just drove around the affordable areas to get a feel for them. A lot of my research came from Brownstoner. Back then, it was Bed Stuy, Crown Heights, Greenwood Heights, Gowanus and Sunset Park. Going south of where we were in South Slope (15th Street) would have been a step backwards, so I literally drew a radius around lower Manhattan and went for the 15 minute commute. A train only.

Emilia DeVitis: I’ve lived in Bay Ridge for a year now. I had lived in Manhattan since 1987, but the rent just got too expensive. Bay Ridge was the cheapest I could find in Brooklyn and I actually love it there.

BS: Can you talk about how the blog first began?

PB: The blog actually started when I finished my Bed Stuy renovation. There wasn’t enough time to do it during. At that point, I had 3.5 DIY renovations under my belt (Beacon was half finished) and I was looking for my next career, having semiretired from photography, my day job. The blog started as the face of my new business venture, which was selling repurposed items online and at markets. And of course that came out of my experience with restoring older homes. My first market was the Brownstoner Salvage Fest, and I remember that my blog had just launched around that time.

After the jump, Phyllis talks about the advantages of being in Crown Heights, her favorite salvage spots and how to avoid being ripped off while renovating. 

(more…)

06/03/14 9:30am

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The new location of the Pratt post office formerly on Myrtle and Grand will indeed be at 609 Myrtle Avenue at Kent Street, a tipster confirmed. When he saw workers in the retail space of the condo building over the weekend they told him the space was going to become a post office.

The Nabe had a story earlier this year saying the post office had proposed the location. We’re not sure when they plan to open.

Photo by Nicholas Strini for PropertyShark

05/30/14 2:00pm

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While everyone else seems to be moving to Brooklyn these days, Jonathan Adler is moving out. A reader spotted employees cleaning out the store at 378 Atlantic Avenue yesterday afternoon, and a note on the Jonathan Adler website confirms the closing. The photo shows the shuttered store this morning.

Anyone care to speculate what this means for this stretch of Atlantic Avenue? 

Jonathan Adler Stealth-Opens on Atlantic [Brownstoner] GMAP
Jonathan Adler Coming to Atlantic Avenue! [Brownstoner]

05/12/14 9:30am

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Sad news. Moon River Chattel, a Williamsburg institution since 1995 that sells building salvage, antiques, housewares, and new furniture it makes out of old and new parts, will close by the end of the summer, according to a sign posted in the store window Saturday. We wouldn’t be surprised to learn that they, along with Diner and Dumont, had invented or at least heavily influenced the Brooklyn/Williamsburg look of stripped-down 19th century commercial interiors, old subway tile, gas lights, etc.

Just last week we stopped by for a few things and thought how unchanged the block looks despite the skyscrapers and development everywhere around it. Well, no more.

The similar Brook Farm General Store and Williamsburg pioneers Dumont and The Future Perfect are also gone (Brook Farm is now online and The Future Perfect is in Manhattan). We really hope City Reliquary and Crest Hardware are staying put.

Also, someone at Sprout Home said they might be getting more space on the block soon. Maybe they’re taking over Moon River’s salvage yard.

Owners Paul Sperduto’s and Christine Foley’s goodbye letter quotes Andy Warhol and Thoreau. They said, “While the retail climate and changing neighborhood do factor into our decision, it is more about assessing the fact that this was also a creative project for us, and it’s run its course. We are ready for a new challenge and to have a different life experience.”

Click through to the jump to see the farewell note. Thanks to a reader for the tip and the photo of the good-bye letter.

Will you miss Moon River Chattel?

Photo by Avril Loreti Modern Home (more…)