The struggling Sheepshead Bay condo complex known as The Breakers has just started renting apartments, after an undisclosed buyer bought up its 49 empty units earlier this year. The wavy-looking, Art Deco-style buildings on the waterfront have 13 one-, two- and three-bedroom rentals being marketed by Aptsandlofts.com. One-bedrooms start at $1,608 a month, two-bedroom units at $2,567, and three-bedrooms at $3,117 a month.
Each apartment in the private gated community features granite countertops, Jacuzzi bathtubs, central air and washer/dryers. Some units also have balconies or private roof decks. Amenities include an outdoor pool, gym, 43 underground parking spaces, bike storage, and a private fishing pier with outdoor seating.
Although the 75-unit development was finished in 2009, developer Jacob Pinson defaulted on a construction loan and filed for bankruptcy. Madison Realty Capital acquired it for an estimated $19,000,000 in December 2012, and the 49 unsold condos changed hands again in January for $24,500,000, The Real Deal reported at the time.
We don’t hear the work “defalcation” used much anymore because we have other words to describe this bit of malfeasance. “Embezzlement” is probably the best, “dipping into the till” is more colloquial, but “stealing” works just fine, as well. All of those words and phrases describe what was going on in Brooklyn in 1873 at the Brooklyn Trust Company, one of our city’s most successful and powerful banks. Commercial and savings banks deal with deposits and withdrawals, and can supply short-term loans and/or mortgages to individuals and small businesses. A trust is a form of commercial bank that allows the trustee (the bank) to invest and otherwise administer funds on behalf of their clients. Trusts often are the executors of estates, distribute funds in an inheritance, as in “trust fund,” and in general, manage and grow other people’s money. The operative word here is “trust,” as both a noun and a verb.
The long-time president of the Brooklyn Trust was a man named Ethelbert S. Mills. He was everything people expected a Brooklyn banker to be: he was rich, lived in Brooklyn Heights, was married to a woman who came from another old, rich family, and they and the kids had a summer home in Nantucket. Mills belonged to a socially acceptable church, Second Unitarian, and all of the best men’s clubs. He sat on the boards of other banks, corporations, musical organizations and charities, and he, to the outward eye, was a respectable and trusted member of Brooklyn’s Society elite.
But Mills had a dark secret. He was stealing from the Brooklyn Trust, and he’d been doing it for years. By 1873, he had helped himself to close to $200,000, an amount that would be the equivalent of $377 million today. He had invested most of the money in speculative real estate deals, and had developed houses in the growing and expanding neighborhoods of Brooklyn. He’d also dabbled in high risk stocks, and wasn’t good at it. He had also made a few bad loans in the Trust’s name to shady railroad companies, loans that could not be repaid, and these losses added up to another $150,000. To top it off, America was on the verge of a deep recession that started that year, and the economy was slowing down, and money was tight.
Perhaps Mills realized he was in too deep, and the worsening economy would make it impossible for him to replace the funds, or perhaps he knew that his theft would be soon discovered. In July of 1873, Ethelbert Mills took an early morning swim in the Atlantic, at Coney Island, only to have the waves wash his lifeless body ashore several hours later. This part of the story is detailed in Part One. As news of Mills’ death and the defalcation of Brooklyn Trust’s funds became known, it was very obvious that he had to have inside help. Money doesn’t disappear without a trace. Someone knew what was going on and had helped Mills cook the books in order to hide the losses. All eyes soon fell on the Secretary of the Brooklyn Trust, a man named M.T. Rodman. (more…)
After years of lawsuits and changing ownership, the assisted living facility at 1 Prospect Park West that was a Building of the Day has announced it will shut down in 90 days, NBC reported. The owners said they cannot afford an increased tax bill.
If the current owner, which appears to be real estate firm The Copper Group, decides to sell, we’re sure developers will leap at the chance to bid on the extra-prime property, located in Park Slope across the street from Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Public Library. It last traded for $40,097,437 in 2006.
As property values in Brooklyn rise dramatically, churches, businesses and homes — anywhere a double wide or bigger plot can be assembled — are quickly giving way to apartment towers. This 1925 Classical Revival building is not landmarked; the recently expanded Park Slope Historic District ends right at the nursing home’s property line.
As for the current residents, a reader told us, “residents and their families and caretakers are terribly upset at the abruptness of it all.”
Photo by Nicholas Strini for PropertyShark
After a few months of demolition, the Lightstone Group has filed the first new building application for its controversial 700-unit rental development at 363 Bond Street, on the shores of the Gowanus Canal. The application outlines a plan for a 12-story development with 268 units.
The 249,571 square-foot building will include 3,625 square feet of commercial space, 1,018 square feet of community space and 244,928 square feet of residential space. The building will also have 111 underground parking spaces, a basketball court, gym, locker rooms, a lounge, children’s play area, bike storage and a pool, according to the Schedule A filing.
Meanwhile, next door at 388 Carroll Street, Lightstone has just filed a new round of demolition applications to knock down a storage shed and two silos.
The City Planning Commission yesterday greenlighted Two Trees’ proposal for development of the Domino complex in Williamsburg, The New York Daily News reported. While there were no additional changes beyond what the Mayor and Two Trees negotiated earlier this week, it was no rubber-stamp step in the land use review process either.
If the City Planning Commission disapproves something, that can kill the proposal. Sometimes a yes vote from City Planning is enough to finalize a project. In this case, the development proposal will go to the City Council for review.
Now The New York Post is speculating the City Council could kill the deal if it pressures Two Trees to agree to new demands from labor that every worker on the site be unionized.
Rendering by SHoP Architects
The Hunt: A Penchant for Privacy in Williamsburg [NY Times]
Two Arrested at Brooklyn Bank With A.T.M. Fraud Device [NY Times]
Slain Brooklyn Landlord Took Nearly $3.6M From Business to Pay Personal Debts [NY Daily News]
“Girls” Bus Tour in Works Featuring Cafe Grumpy [NY Daily News]
Apartment Tower Headed to Site of Eyesore 153 Remsen Street [Brooklyn Eagle]
Investment Firm Receives CIBC Loan for Brooklyn Heights Rental Acquisition [NY Observer]
Boaz Gilad Adds 328 Central Avenue to His Development Oeuvre [BuzzBuzzHome]
ND Architecture Puts Stamp on 212 Spencer Street in Bed Stuy [BuzzBuzzHome]
Artists Plan to Convert Crown Heights Auto Body Shop Into Concert Venue [DNAinfo]
With Easter Weeks Away, Christmas Trees Still Litter Park Slope Sidewalks [DNAinfo]
East New York Residents in Run-Down Building Fed up With Living Conditions [NY 1]
Brooklyn Is Now Officially Over: The Ascendance of Brooklyn, the Lifestyle [NY Observer]
A Doll’s House: Inside a Prospect Park South Home [Brooklyn Magazine]
Gallery Space at 483 Driggs Avenue in Williamsburg to Be Replaced by Five-Story Project [BBH]
Operating Theater: Play Inside Interfaith Hospital Is an Unlikely Success [Brooklyn Paper]
Spiffy Interactive Map Reveals Brooklyn’s Participatory Budgeting Proposals [Brokelyn]
Legitimate Fundraising or Casing Carroll Gardens Buildings? [PMFA]
The Domino Sugar Plan Signals a Whole New Attitude Toward Development [New York Mag]
Brownstoner columnist Suzanne Spellen and commenter and fellow architectural history expert Morgan Munsey will lead a tour of the Stuyvesant Heights Expanded Historic District Saturday, March 15. Organized by the Municipal Arts Society, the tour will explore the area’s history and architecture.
Tickets cost $20 or $15 for Municipal Arts Society members. The tour starts at 2 pm.
Brooklyn, one building at a time.
Name: The Cathedral Basilica of St. James
Address: 223 Jay Street
Cross Streets: Cathedral Place and Chapel Street
Neighborhood: Downtown Brooklyn
Year Built: 1903
Architectural Style: Neo-Georgian
Architect: George H. Streeton
Other work by architect: Former St. Ambrose Catholic Church, now Mt. Pisgah Baptist, Bedford Stuyvesant. In Manhattan: St. Charles Borromeo, Harlem; Church of Saints Cyril & Methodius and St. Raphael, at the base of the Lincoln Tunnel at West 40th Street, and other churches
The story: There are hundreds of Catholic Churches in Brooklyn, but very few are elevated to the status of Cathedral, and even fewer are designated as a Basilica. This storied church is both. A cathedral is a church that contains the seat, or chair of a bishop. This is both a literal chair, as well as the seat of power from which the bishop issues his authority over his diocese. A basilica is an important church that is given special ceremonial rights by the Pope himself. This important Brooklyn church went through several incarnations over its long history, and is an important part of the history of the Catholic Church in Brooklyn and Long Island.
The parish of St. James began in 1822, when it was founded as the first Catholic Church on Long Island. Irish Catholics began settling in the Vinegar Hill area to work in the new Brooklyn Navy Yard, beginning in the early 19th century. There was no Catholic church in Brooklyn, and worshippers had to cross over to Manhattan to attend mass. The first mass in Brooklyn was celebrated in the home of Daniel Dempsey, on Fulton Street.
As more and more Catholics settled in the area, a local man named Peter Turner, who also lived on Fulton Street, and worked at the Navy Yard, began organizing a committee to build a church in the neighborhood. By 1822, with the encouragement and support of the New York Bishop, Brooklyn’s Catholics raised enough money to buy a plot of land on Jay and Chapel Streets. For all of many charitable activities within St James and Brooklyn throughout his life, today Turner is remembered at St. James as “the pioneer Catholic layman of Brooklyn.”
The ground was consecrated by Bishop Connolly, only the second Bishop of Manhattan, and building began. St. James was the first Catholic Church in Brooklyn, the third Catholic Church in New York City, and the sixth Catholic Church in the entire state of New York. Turner and his committee asked for a full-time pastor to be assigned to the church, and Rev. John Farnan became Long Island’s first official Catholic priest. For the next four years, he travelled on horseback from here to Montauk, the only priest for the increasing pockets of Catholics on Long Island. (more…)
Over the weekend, we noticed La Nonna had opened a fancy new outpost at 184 Kent Avenue. The Bedford Avenue pizza and pasta joint will be adding some upscale dishes at its prominent new location, including octopus, steak, lamb chops, and sea bass, according to the Village Voice.
It opened last month. Anyone tried it? GMAP
It looks like a very high end renovation of 115 St. James Place is in the works, and the listing promises it will be completed “shortly.” Could this be the same renovation we wrote about in 2008?
There’s a kitchen with carrara marble and walls of windows, custom cherry cabinets in the dining room, and more walls of windows in the master bedroom. It could be cold, though, and the split level parlor floor with a column in the middle looks awkward to us.
It’s set up as an owner’s duplex (the “triplex” mentioned in the listing includes the cellar) with two large, potentially high-income rental units above, including a duplex whose top floor is set back and not visible from the street.
In 2007, the owner filed to convert the house from an SRO to a four-family; the permit was issued in December. We could not find a new C of O, but perhaps it’s coming.
What do you think of it for $3,600,000?