11/21/14 11:30am
235 church rd pine bush ny

235 Church Road, Pine Bush: $225,000

Even our most expensive property today is below our self-imposed affordability ceiling of $250,000 (subject to change, of course, based entirely upon whim). But just because it’s affordable doesn’t mean it doesn’t bring the charm. Seriously, look at those floors. And the French doors. And the kitchen. Beautiful. Situated on a full acre in southern Ulster County on the Orange County border. Beds: 3. Baths: 2. Square Feet: 1748. Lot Size: 1.1 acres. Est. Taxes: $7110. Distance from Brooklyn: 2 hours.

(more…)

Times Plaza, Composite

A look at Brooklyn, then and now.

Wow, Brooklyn’s changed in the last 64 years! Well, Downtown Brooklyn certainly has. This is one of Brooklyn’s busiest intersections, where Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues cross. Our “Past” photo from the Brooklyn Collection at the Brooklyn Public Library is from 1950. The Korean War was on the front page of the newspapers, the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel opened that May, and the Cold War and Russia’s nuclear capability was on everyone’s minds.

Communists were seemingly everywhere, and Jay Leno, Samuel Alito, Bill Murray and Britain’s Princess Anne were born that year, among many others. Had any of them been taken for a ride up Flatbush Avenue that year, they would have seen what the camera saw here. And like many of us, they may not have known what they were looking at. (more…)

11/21/14 10:00am

630-flushing-pfizer-112114

The New York City Council Wednesday released a report proposing three new types of zoning that could dramatically affect jobs, real estate values and the use of neighborhoods in Brooklyn, particularly in Williamsburg, Bushwick, Gowanus and Sunset Park.

The three proposed new zoning types are:

*Industrial Employment Districts  – A rewriting of the rules to close loopholes that have been driving out manufacturers in protected industrial zones.

*Creative Economy Districts — A new combination of industrial and commercial office space. Mini storage, nightclubs and warehousing of empty property would not be allowed.

*Real Mixed Use Districts — Commercial and “compatible” industrial spaces would be required alongside residential, rather than merely allowed, so that more-lucrative residential development does not displace the other uses.

Above, the Pfizer complex at 630 Flushing in Bed Stuy has been proposed as a protected industrial site and is currently being redeveloped as office and manufacturing space for “creative economy” businesses.

Potentially, the new zoning could dramatically change such areas as the protected industrial zone around the Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg, where hotels and nightclubs have been driving out manufacturers, and the Bushwick loft area, because it would allow residential development to take off while preserving manufacturing jobs and commercial space at the same time. It could also affect the character of development on Empire Boulevard in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, a hot-button issue in the neighborhood.

We think this is one of the best proposals we have heard in years, with the potential to benefit many now-competing groups and protect many desirable aspects of Brooklyn that are in danger of being lost to purely residential development. What do you think of it?

Engines of Opportunity [City Council]

colony 1209 bushwick 062014 bushwick daily

Spruce Capital Partners wants to flip the recently opened Colony 1209 in Bushwick, asking $81,500,000 for the five-story luxury rental building at 1209 Dekalb Avenue, according to The New York Observer. Spruce bought the 127-unit development in April from developer Read Property Group for $58,000,000. Rents are high for Bushwick, ranging from $1,775 for a studio to $2,975 for a two-bedroom at Colony, where amenities include a “speakeasy,” a gym, screening room, common roof terrace and a shared backyard.

The building’s marketing team has caught some flak for the name of the building and its marketing copy, which bills the development as “homesteading, Bushwick-style” and a place where one can find “like-minded settlers.” The building is located in an area of Bushwick that has been densely residential for more than 100 years, and is lined with 19th century row houses and mansions, not a “vibrant industrial setting,” as the copy claims. Massey Knakal is marketing the 120,000-square-foot building, which has 41 parking spaces and 12 years left on a 421-a tax abatement.

Controversial Bushwick Rental Building Hits the Market for $81.5 Million [NYO] GMAP
1209 Dekalb Avenue Coverage [Brownstoner]
Image via Bushwick Daily

11/21/14 9:00am

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High-rise apartment buildings with affordable housing, more parks, more schools, protected artists’ spaces, a special “super manufacturing zone” to protect factories — these are all part of a plan to redevelop Gowanus that Council Member Brad Lander will unveil Monday, according to a story in DNAinfo. “The Bridging Gowanus plan lays out a broad set of goals including flood-fighting infrastructure upgrades, affordable housing and a rezoning that would bolster manufacturing and allow new residential development, including high-rises in some places, for the first time since 1961,” the story said.

The vision, which Lander plans to present to the de Blasio administration, came out of a series of public meetings Lander convened over the last year called Bridging Gowanus. Most area residents support tall buildings from eight to 18 stories if other criteria are met, according to Lander. (more…)

11/21/14 8:30am

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Franny’s Spinoff Marco’s in Prospect Heights Is Closing
[NY Times]
A Brooklyn Apartment? Make It Postwar [NY Times]
Brooklyn Borough President Boycotts Verrazano’s 50th Anniversary [NY Post]
Wave of A and C Subway Tunnel Closures Slated for 2015 [NY Post]
Park Slope Car Wash Closed as Workers, Owner Battle [NY Daily News]
By the Sea: Bonus Brighton Beach Photos [Eagle]
A Few New Renderings for Meeker Flea Market Rental Listings [Curbed]
Q & A With Tim Thomas of the Q at Parkside [Bklynr]
Permits Filed: 806 St. John’s Place in Crown Heights [NYY]
Welcome to Cooklyn, a Brooklyn-Powered Restaurant in Prospect Heights [Gothamist]
Brooklyn Housing Commanding Hefty Prices [CNBC]

11/20/14 4:30pm

coney island parachute jump small edit

Coney Island Brewing Co. Applies for License for Surf Ave Brewery [ATZ]
Of Councilman Brad Lander and the Final Bridging Gowanus Meeting [PMFA]
Celebrate Brooklyn ARTery’s Second Anniversary With Chocolate and Wine Tonight [DPC]
What the 70th Precinct Is Doing About Robberies in Ditmas Park [DPC]
Books and Drinks: What to Read in Greenpoint’s Local Hangouts [Greenpointers]
15th Street Cafe Reopens on 6th Avenue as OS Cafe [South Slope News]
Will de Blasio’s Bike Lane Network Keep Pace With Citi Bike Expansion? [Streetsblog]
Coney Island’s Untamed Creek, Caught Between Past and Future [Curbed]
Pol Calls for Upgrades at Sunset Park’s Pier 4 [DNA]

11/20/14 4:00pm

Photo by Pixonomy http://www.flickr.com/photos/pixonomy/5216274523/

Another round of voting takes place tonight to determine how $19,500,000 in settlement money from the Exxon-Mobil oil spill will be spent on Greenpoint environmental projects. There are 13 projects looking for a piece of the settlement, including a tidal wetland project along Newtown Creek and an educational community garden in McCarren Park. Other projects include an environmental education center at Greenpoint Library, the planned Box Street Park, and developing a new city park on Bushwick Inlet.

You can head over to the Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund to read detailed proposals with the grant amounts for each project. Residents get to vote on which projects deserve funding tonight from 6 to 8:30 pm at the Polish and Slavic Center at 177 Kent Street, and on Saturday from 10 am to 3 pm at the Polish National Home at 261 Driggs Avenue.

Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund Coverage [Brownstoner]
Photo by Pixonomy

11/20/14 3:00pm

291 Cumberland St. NS, PS

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Row house
Address: 291 Cumberland Street
Cross Streets: Lafayette and Greene Avenues
Neighborhood: Fort Greene
Year Built: 1892
Architectural Style: Renaissance Revival
Architect: Parfitt Brothers
Other Buildings by Architect: St. Augustine RC Church, Grace Methodist and row houses in Park Slope, apartment buildings, office buildings, row houses, churches in Bedford Stuyvesant, Stuyvesant Heights, Crown Heights North and Brooklyn Heights.
Landmarked: Yes, part of Fort Greene HD (1978)

The story: This house is the architectural equivalent of “pimp my ride,” or I suppose a better word might be “McMansioning.” Only this time, our 19th century poseur hired one of the best firms in Brooklyn to do the deed. Is it grossly inappropriate to celebrate a house that is clearly out of context, or does the resume of the architect make this just hunky-dory? How come it’s perfectly great to celebrate this, and then turn around and damn those who do it today? What’s the difference of a hundred years? Well, taste and talent, for one thing.

Ok, if I were around back then, and this was going to happen, I probably wouldn’t be a champion. The row of vernacular wood framed houses on this block is great. There are several different styles here, by several different builders, and to the right and the left of 291 Cumberland, these are very nice clapboard houses. What’s not to like? Wide generous porches, Classical style columns and capitals, the once-high stoops on 293 and its neighbors, and gracious proportions. 291 Cumberland was also one of these; an 1850s clapboard vernacular house. (more…)

11/20/14 1:30pm

162 bergen street boerum hill 112014

The original details are a little too rococo for our tastes, and we don’t think the lovely and somewhat Japanese feeling kitchen works in this context, but we’re sure someone will go for this grand Italianate in move-in condition.

The 22-foot-wide house is set up as an owner’s triplex over a garden rental. It was gut renovated in 2009, according to the listing, and has all new mechanicals, a finished basement, original wide plank floors, radiant heat in the bathrooms, and zoned central air. Most unusually, it has an elevator.

It was a House of the Day in 2008 and sold for $2,400,000. Now the ask is $4,650,000. Do you think they will get it?

162 Bergen Street [Corcoran] GMAP