Do you long for that day when ALL you had to mock in Williamsburg was hipsters? Tired of nannies with double wide baby carriages headed to pop-art baby toy stores? Tired of Land Rovers replacing bikes? Tired of specialty pickle shops, artisanal napkin stores and Pilates studios on every block? Tired of condos blocking out your view of Manhattan? Are you just sick and tired of watching sports bars take over your favorite neighborhood dives AND douche them all up?
The event, called “I Am The New Williamsburg!,” features bands, a DJ, and guest performers. Wonder what the effigy is going to look like…
Photo by zachvs
If you’ve got Brooklyn property to sell, fantastic. It’s a seller’s market. People are clamoring for Brooklyn property. Your listing may even ignite a bidding war. You will probably be sitting on a lot of cash after you sell. But then what do you do? Hopefully you’ve got plans to move to, say, Kansas, because buying another place or even finding a rental in Brooklyn is going to be very, very, very difficult, according to DNAinfo. ”Right now is a horrible time to be a buyer or a renter,” said Catherine Witherwax, director of sales for Stribling’s first Brooklyn office. ”There’s very little on the market. We’re seeing unprecedented interest in Brooklyn and people staying in Brooklyn. And we’re seeing a large international component. The borough’s popularity goes beyond New York City and the metropolitan area.” Buyers will need perfect credit and enough funds to win a bidding war with all cash. The story gives an overview of the market in four neighborhoods with tips and deets on prices in each: Crown Heights, Bushwick, Bed Stuy, Dumbo. Crown Heights, for example, “is really starting to boom” with prices for renovated homes in the $1.2 to $1.5 million range. Rents are 10 to 30 percent cheaper than in Manhattan, with studios going for $1,200 to $1,500. Depressed yet? The article has some advice: If you’re priced out, try Queens.
Rent vs. Buy: Navigating Brooklyn’s Tight Real Estate Market [DNAinfo]
Have any hipsters been sighted on Pitkin Avenue in Brownsville? No. But it won’t be long, according to the New York Observer. The evidence: “East Bushwick” is “again heating up,” and during the last boom, developers made it out as far as the Halsey Street L train stop. Plus, there was that DNAinfo story Friday about renters searching for more space and lower rents along the Crown Heights-Brownsville border. (That’s Pitkin Avenue above, which in the 1950s was one of Brooklyn’s biggest shopping districts, and the recently revamped Pitkin Theater, now Brownsville Ascend Charter School.) FWIW, our two cents: We live one stop away from Brownsville’s Broadway Junction, and plenty of “hipsters” or whatever you want to call them have moved here in the last year or so. So, yeah.
Closing in on Brownsville: Brooklyn Gentrification Nears the Final Frontier [Observer]
The borders of “emerging” Brooklyn neighborhoods are moving further out as prices rise across the borough. DNAinfo profiles one couple who recently moved to the border of Crown Heights and Brownsville in search of more space and reasonable rents.
As pricey “Williamsburg” rents trickle deeper into Bushwick and the once affordable blocks ringing Crown Heights’ booming Franklin Avenue fill up with renters eager to shell out $1,500 and up for studios, people like the Davidsons are looking south to Prospect-Lefferts Gardens and east to the stretch of avenues between the Crown Heights’ Hasidic enclave and its border with Brownsville.
The drawbacks: No dry cleaner, no Seamless Web delivery, no Thai, and no sushi. But there is one restaurant that delivers and plenty of shopping on Utica Avenue.
Bigger Spaces, Smaller Rents Lure New Faces Eastward in Crown Heights [DNAinfo]
This interactive Times feature contrasting the Brooklyn hip hop scene of the ’80s and ’90s with Brooklyn now doesn’t contain any revelations, but it does have links to relevant videos on YouTube. The story starts off with The Notorious B.I.G.’s childhood apartment for sale, and continues on to Jay-Z selling his Nets stake and to Foxy Brown, still living on the block where she grew up in Prospect Heights. Above, a contemporary shot of the block where Biggie Smalls used to live.
Brooklyn, the Remix: A Hip-Hop Tour [NY Times]
Photo by Google Maps
Alarmed by a boom in construction, new businesses, and a rapid rise in rents, Bushwick Community Board Four has requested a downzoning to keep a lid on development, DNAinfo reported. However, much like the request for capping bar sales at midnight, it has no power to force a rezoning. The rezoning would prevent high rises from springing up in residential neighborhoods and address “the proliferation of bars, nightclubs, liquor stores on the main streets and avenues, and box storage warehouses,” as a letter from the community board to elected officials put it. ”The last thing Bushwick needs is high rises. It needs affordable housing,” said Bushwick resident Rolando Guzman, who worked with the nearby non-profit St. Nick’s Alliance during Williamsburg’s rezoning in 2005. “And there needs to be some rule to prevent the displacement of local businesses and residents.” Any rezoning would require ”lengthy analysis and public engagement,” said a spokesman for the Department of City Planning. Do you support a downzoning?
Bushwick Housing Boom Spurs Locals to Rein in Redevelopment [DNAinfo]
Photo by philipjohnson
Now there is no money in the state budget for SUNY Downstate, the Central Brooklyn parent of Cobble Hill’s Long Island College Hospital, which SUNY Downstate officials just last week voted to shutter. “The state’s new budget — which the Senate began adopting Sunday — contains no new funds for the ailing Brooklyn hospital…SUNY officials…must submit a restructuring plan for the hospital by June,” said The New York Daily News. SUNY Downstate, located in East Flatbush, is the only academic medical center in Brooklyn and the borough’s fourth largest employer. SUNY Downstate is just the latest of Brooklyn medical centers to experience financial difficulties recently: Also troubled are Interfaith Medical Center in Bed Stuy and Wyckoff Heights Medical Center in Bushwick. Meanwhile, the Daily News reports, developers are salivating to get their hands on the prime Cobble Hill waterfront site currently occupied by SUNY Downstate’s Long Island College Hospital, and SUNY officials admitted real estate played a role in their decision to sell off the property. What do you think is ailing Brooklyn’s hospitals, and will we have enough to support the growing number of Brooklyn residents?
State Nixes Bailout for Ailing SUNY Brooklyn Hospital [NY Daily News]
Developers Licking Chop Over Cobble Hill’s LICH Site [NY Daily News]
Photo by Jim.henderson via Wikimedia Commons
Already showing signs of acceleration, Gowanus could potentially be transformed into an area similar to Williamsburg when boutique hotel Gowanus Inn and Yard and Whole Foods open in the next few years. The Real Deal has the scoop: It interviewed six residential and commercial brokers about the future of Gowanus. “The area is clearly on the fast track to gentrification, with trendy stores and restaurants like Littleneck clam shack, Fletcher’s Brooklyn Barbecue and the bakery Four & Twenty Blackbirds attracting attention, as well as new retailers like Whole Foods, Dinosaur Barb-B-Que and, yes, the hipster-sounding 40,000-square-foot Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club gearing up to open,” said The Real Deal. Despite destruction by Hurricane Sandy, prices have already spiked in the area in the past year: “Townhouses are now hitting the market for at least $1 million, whereas last year they had asking prices in the $800,000 range.” If a proposed rezoning to allow more residential development goes through, “prices will skyrocket,” according to Brenton Realty President Ruthanne Pigott. How do you predict the neighborhood will change? Will the infamous polluted canal put any damper on development?
Gowanus Gets Ready [TRD]
Regular readers of this blog will not be especially surprised to read in The New York Times that gentrification is pushing further into Brooklyn.
The subway commute to Manhattan is longer, and organic markets and stylish boutiques are fewer. But those are the trade-offs as the search for more affordable real estate in Brooklyn pushes deeper into neighborhoods that for some New Yorkers still evoke images of burned-out buildings, riots and poverty. Many Brooklynites, priced out of Williamsburg, Boerum Hill, Carroll Gardens and Park Slope, are heading farther in. They are turning to neighborhoods like Sunset Park, Crown Heights, Bushwick and Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, bringing a willingness and an ability to pay more for housing than the waves of residents who came before them. Brokers and developers say the cross-Brooklyn migration has picked up in recent years, as recent college graduates, artists and families, mostly white, seek new affordable neighborhoods.
It’s all pretty accurate, although we’re surprised Bed Stuy wasn’t included. (Maybe because the Times already wrote about that in 2011.) Some may quibble (indeed, Gothamist has) that this has been going on a long time. It certainly has, and we think it’s jumped to another level in the last six months or so. Witness the mainstreaming of Williamsburg (Madonna dined at Antica Pesa!), the rise of once-affordable rent prices in Crown Heights and Bushwick, and bidding wars over Bed Stuy townhouses. The article cites rising prices in brownstone Brooklyn, and notes that Williamsburg is now more expensive than Gramercy Park. Unfortunately, readers may not find many bargains left in the emerging neighborhoods cited by the Times, where gentrification is already well under way. Why, just last week, we were asking where people will move to next.
Brooklyn’s New Gentrification Frontiers [NY Times]
Photo of Roberta’s in Bushwick by A. Williams via Google Earth
Welcome to the Hot Seat, in which we interview folks involved in Brooklyn real estate, architecture, development and the like. Introducing Su Friedrich, the filmmaker behind Gut Renovation. Gut Renovation chronicles Su getting priced out of Williamsburg after the 2005 rezoning. The film is now showing at Film Forum in Manhattan.
Brownstoner: What neighborhood do you live in, and how did you end up there?
Su Friedrich: I currently live in Bed Stuy. We moved from Williamsburg in June 2009 after an eight month search through various neighborhoods. We ended up in Bed Stuy because the loft in which we had lived for 20 years in Williamsburg became totally unaffordable due to the 2005 rezoning of the neighborhood. In other words, I’m happy to have found a nice home, and I think Bed Stuy has a lot to offer, and we’ve gotten very involved with our neighbors and our block association, but it isn’t where I would be living (nor is any other place…) if I hadn’t been forced out of the loft, and the neighborhood, which I had grown to love so much.
BS: Can you talk about the premise of your film, and what inspired you to start shooting?
SF: My film is a record “from the inside” of what happened to Williamsburg in the five years following the rezoning. It isn’t a conventional, objective documentary. Instead, it creates a more visceral experience as one witnesses the experiences that I had, and which I shared with countless other residents, when we found ourselves invaded by developers and engulfed by demolition and construction. The rezoning was announced in May 2005. Within a short time, the invasion began, and within a few months after that, I started recording what was going on, and continued filming until 2009.
After the jump, Su gets into the specifics of the rezoning, the presence of artists in gentrifying neighborhoods, and her favorite business and building that survived the redevelopment of Williamsburg… (more…)
Rents rose dramatically — nearly 20 percent — in Bushwick in one month, even while they dropped in other Brooklyn neighborhoods, a report showed, according to a story in DNAinfo. Average rents are now $2,400 for a studio, $2,800 for a one-bedroom, and $3,000 for a two-bedroom, according to real-estate firm MNS, which authored the report. For those not keeping track, consider that in 2009, a Bushwick studio ranged from $900 to $1,200 — and that was up from $500 to $800 just a few years before. “It was very, very abnormal …incredible,” remarked MNS Chief Executive Officer Andrew Barrocas of the February increase. The reasons for the sudden jump include low inventory, new buildings coming on the market, and the increasing popularity of Bushwick. In particular, “the February opening of brand new apartments on 949 Willoughby Avenue had helped push rental averages up,” noted Barrocas. Another neighborhood popular with recent college graduates and other new arrivals to New York City because of its relatively affordable rents, Crown Heights, has also seen an increase in prices in the last few months. Where do you think people will go next? Is Brooklyn running out of cheap neighborhoods?
Brooklyn Rental Market Report February 2013 [MNS]
“Abnormal” Leap Hikes Bushwick Rents by Nearly 20 Percent, Report Says [DNAinfo]
Photo by chicapoquita
The rumors you heard are true: Anthropologie is moving into Williamsburg. “It’s a match made in hipster heaven,” said Crain’s New York, which broke the story. They’re negotiating a lease for a 10,000-square-foot store at 242 Bedford Ave., the same retail complex where Whole Foods will be located between North 3rd and North 4th streets. (Above, an old rendering of the formerly stalled complex.) But that’s not all: Urban Outfitters has already signed at 102 North 6th Street between Berry and Wythe streets, next door to American Apparel. As you may recall, J. Crew is also rumored to be looking nearby. Other potential tenants for the Bedford complex, which will open next year, are Joe Fresh, New York Sports Club, and — drumroll, please — Citibank. (For those keeping track, Crain’s notes rents range from $185 to $225 a square foot on Bedford and from $70 to $100 a square foot on the side streets.) Well, there goes the neighborhood. Now we won’t ever need to leave Brooklyn again.
Hip Retailing Duo Flirts With Billyburg [Crain's]
Details are scarce, but real estate firm MySpace NYC Monday filed suit against a group identified as Crown Heights Assembly, The New York Daily News has reported. Apparently a group of that name organized a protest in November outside the Crown Heights office of the real estate firm, according to an announcement posted on the I Love Franklin Ave blog. A press release purportedly authored by the group and posted on the blog took issue with the real estate firm for supposedly brokering apartments whose landlords kept them in poor repair and overcharged for rents under the rent stabilization laws.
Real Estate Firm Files Suit Against Crown Heights Activists [NY Daily News]
Last week a story in The Observer looked at a large development site for sale in east Bushwick. The site–several lots over a few blocks around 386 Weirfield Street near Wyckoff (mostly the large empty lot and the u-shaped building with the red roof in the center of the image above)–includes 87,000 buildable square feet for residential development as well as some commercial space. The potential development is near the Halsey stop on the L train, a few stops past the Morgan Avenue and Jefferson Street stops where Bushwick has undergone the most intensive gentrification. Massey Knakal is marketing the site for $8.5 million. The article pointed to the success of another nearby rental project, the loft apartment building at 550 Irving Avenue, just a few blocks away. That 65-unit rental building building offers amenities like an indoor pool, rooftop lounge and a garden with a jacuzzi despite the location and its industrial neighbors. Noel Caban of Winick Realty Group told the paper: “Dropping a few of these types of projects totally changes the market dynamics of not just retail rents but the kind of shops that are there, the kind of restaurants that are there, and even how the locals feel about this implosive gentrification that’s happening.” What do you think, is this part of Bushwick, about as close to Cypress Hills as Flushing Avenue, ready for this type of project? If it does happen, will the other changes necessarily follow?
Photo Via Google Maps
A story yesterday in Atlantic Cities, the city-focused offshoot of The Atlantic magazine, pins the high cost of Brooklyn real estate on zoning restrictions. As the argument goes, zoning restricts housing supply, causing demand to exceed availability. While it’s certainly true that demand is high in the parts of Brooklyn closest to Manhattan, the author unfortunately chooses Williamsburg as his leading example. Apparently he is unaware of the new-construction building boom in Williamsburg and the rezoning that led to it. What do you think is pushing prices up in Brooklyn?
Brooklyn’s Affordability Crisis Is No Accident [Atlantic Cities]
More than 50 businesses have opened on Franklin Avenue in Crown Heights north since 2008, rents in Crown Heights are rising rapidly and new people, many of whom are young and white, are moving into the area. Narratively, a site that publishes in-depth stories about New York, takes a long look at the what and why of the changes happening in Crown Heights. Their explanation: Local community groups who have worked hard to improve the area, more policing (often at the request of the community), and real estate firms. We agree that areas such as Crown Heights and Bed Stuy have become safer, more desirable places to live because of the hard work of the people who have lived there for decades. Might broader forces also be at work, namely the decades-long disappearance of well-paid jobs with benefits and the reversal of white flight?
Note: The publisher of Brownstoner is one of the development partners at 1000 Dean, mentioned in the article.
A Look Below the Surface in Gentrifying Crown Heights [Narratively]
Photo by Mo Scarpelli for Narratively
Overwhelmed by the influx of hipsters into and gentrification of Brooklyn, the anti-hipster blog Die Hipster has ceased publication after six years, as we learned from a story in The Brooklyn Paper. You can read the scathing farewell letter from the still-anonymous blogger behind the site here. In his letter, he said one of the goals of the site was to “prevent the spread of hipsters into southern parts of Brooklyn.” However, in 30 years, he predicted in the Brooklyn Paper, “Brooklyn will be one giant flea market under a tent made out of flannel and beard hair,” he said. “Us natives will be living in the sewer tunnels for only $1,200 a month.”
The documentary “My Brooklyn,” which examines the gentrification of Downtown Brooklyn and the Fulton Mall, has popped up in screenings around the borough since the summer, but you can catch it on an extended run this week at ReRun Theater. ReRun, located on Front Street in Dumbo, will screen two showings every week night until Thursday. The film takes a hard look at the effects of the 2004 rezoning of Downtown Brooklyn, especially on the small business owners along the Fulton Mall. You can read a good review of the film over at Atlantic Cities.
Photo via My Brooklyn
Gothamist points out that PropertyShark’s latest map of sales price increases and decreases in Brooklyn since 2004 is a perfect guide to gentrification. For our part, we’re surprised to see how large is the gray-shaded area where prices have stayed flat or decreased. In fact, those areas seem to take up slightly more than half of Brooklyn. Maybe it’s not completely fair that areas where prices increased “only” 10 percent in eight years are colored gray — by most normal measures, a 10 percent increase in that amount of time would be considered healthy growth. One real puzzler, though, is Prospect Heights, where prices have decreased 4 percent since 2004, according to the map.
Image from PropertyShark via Gothamist
It seems the long-troubled and notorious former factory building in Greenpoint known as the Sweater Factory Lofts may get a free pass for renting out the building for residential use under the new loft conversion law, according to a story in yesterday’s New York Times. In case you have not been keeping up, here’s the backstory: After the landlord illegally converted the building at 239 Banker Street to apartments and violated a stop work order, residents were evicted by the city in September 2009. But that didn’t stop the owners, who shortly thereafter continued to advertise and rent units in the building. This year, the tenants filed for protection under the new loft law and the building was sold in October. The pending application protects both the current tenants and the landlord. Now, instead of trying to evict tenants, the Department of Buildings “will work with the loft board on this situation to try to legalize the conditions,” said a spokesperson. And, notes the article, the relatively low rents are so appealing many tenants wish to stay.
At Loft Conversion, Stop Work Order Failed to Stop It for Long [NY Times]
Greenpoint’s Sweater Factory Lofts on Banker Street Sells [Brownstoner]
Lofty Aspirations at a Notorious Greenpoint Building [Brownstoner]
DOB Shuts Down Sweater Factory [Brownstoner]
Photo by Gregg Snodgrass for PropertyShark
GMAP P*Shark DOB