What Happened on Brownstoner This Week: Sea Gate Reno Kicks Off, Contractor Throws a Tantrum, Tall Towers Get Taller, and More


    Renovation madness

    The first installment of our new Sea Gate Renovation Diary kicked off with “before” pictures showing delightfully horrid wallpaper, pink bathrooms, and more. Located just beyond the end of the Coney Island boardwalk, this 100-year-old beach house remained largely unchanged since the 1950s. Until now. Stay tuned to follow the trials and triumphs of this gut renovation by the sea.

    Let’s hope that the home’s contractor stays in better spirits than the one who “just threw a tantrum and quit” in the middle of another reader’s gut reno. Check out the original post in the Brownstoner Forum to weigh in and read other cranky-contractor stories.



    Original details or a modern makeover?

    Readers were split over this enormous, ornate brownstone in Carroll Gardens — some calling the $6,250,000 asking price “crazy-craze” and others noticeably drooling over the lavish original details. The home is currently arranged as four apartments but with enough extra cash, could be converted into a single-family. Do you think the columns, stained glass, crown moldings, scrollwork, and inlaid floors are enough to tempt a buyer to bite?

    On the opposite end of the style spectrum, this significantly smaller standalone Bed Stuy home has a renovated minimalist interior with modern lines. An open glass staircase leads from the open-plan main floor to two smaller bedrooms and a master above. The yard even features a horizontal fence.


    2015_07_26 250 Ashland Place 17

    Towers towers everywhere

    We checked in with the FXFOWLE-designed tower steadily rising at 250 Ashland Place, aka BAM North Site 1. The building — which has fewer than 10 floors to go before it tops out at 52 stories — will have 10,000 square feet of retail and 8,000 square feet of arts space in addition to 586 residential units. Almost half of the units (282, to be exact) will be one- to three-bedroom affordable apartments for low- and middle-income families.

    Mayor Bill de Blasio’s new plan could add even more affordable housing to future Brooklyn mega projects. The new “mandatory inclusionary zoning” will make developers build affordable housing in exchange for exceptions to zoning requirements. These rules will mostly affect large developments, since a rezoning is an arduous undertaking and small developers tend to work within existing zoning.

    Speaking of mega projects, speculation recommenced this week about a 1,000-foot+ tower from developers Michael Stern and Joe Chetrit after the duo purchased the landmarked Dime Savings Bank and its nearly 300,000 square feet of air rights for $90,000,000. Stern and Chetrit could use the air rights to build the tallest NYC tower outside of Manhattan.



    Community and building boom in Bed Stuy

    Bed Stuy’s Bainbridge Street between Malcolm X Boulevard and Stuyvesant Avenue won this year’s Greenest Block in Brooklyn contest. Residents spoke of the sense of identity and place created by the shared goal of winning the competition. “It’s a real tight block association,” former resident Anna Baker told Brownstoner. “Everyone participates, even the children.” The Brooklyn Botanic Garden has been hosting the contest for more than two decades.

    Just ten blocks from the award-winning street, a large apartment building under construction at 75 Ralph Avenue reached its full height. The 57-unit apartment house designed by architect Charles Mallea is one of the largest new buildings under way on this side of the neighborhood.

    Also in Bed Stuy: a reader’s adorable kitty.


    Inside Brooklyn businesses

    Brooklyn menswear makers are taking it back to the borough’s DIY roots. Brownstoner highlighted five artisanal haberdashers this week, including Bushwick’s Knickerbocker Manufacturing Company and Martin Greenfield Clothiers — one of the country’s best tailors.

    We also took a sneak peek of Brooklyn Roasting Company’s rad new headquarters in the Navy Yard. The 32,852-square-foot industrial space is a former power plant recently renovated as part of the Yard’s new Green Manufacturing Center. Company co-founder Michael Pollack told Brownstoner: “What we work with is the original power plant — coffee trees and beans. So this is the perfect place for us to call home.”

    If you’re looking for a Brooklyn destination to visit this summer, you should read our guide to Red Hook’s secret oasis. Pioneer Works is a place where anyone can wander in off the street, take off their shoes, and contemplate art. The sprawling complex is buzzing with resident artists and scientists at work, and features galleries, an extensive library of arts-related publications, and a well-maintained flower garden with sculpture outside.

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