This Prospect Heights firehouse at 735 Dean Street is up for rent at $4,500 a month. It’s been gutted and the bedroom is a loft, making three levels in total. The original doorway to the firehouse was converted into a huge window, definitely our favorite element of the redesign. But despite all that space, there’s only a single bedroom. Is it all worth the monthly fee? It’s worth noting the apartment comes furnished, but after four months the space will only be available unfurnished.
735 Dean Street [Corcoran] GMAP P*Shark
In a Wall Street Journal article yesterday focusing on Brooklyn’s only artisanal mayo store, there was this note, at the end: “By this time next year… they’ll have converted the storefront to a sandwich shop. And thus will end the saga of the city’s first — and likely last — artisanal mayonnaise store.” The Prospect Heights storefront, located at 564 Vanderbilt Avenue, opened in April of last year. The owners, who called the store “a Portlandia skit,” are currently using the space for mayo production. They’re now looking for a bigger space to expand production, double their output, and supply national retailers. Can’t wait to see how they’ll squeeze a sandwich shop into the 300-square-foot store!
Yes, Artisanal Mayo [Wall Street Jounral]
Mayonnaise Store Now Open in Prospect Heights [Brownstoner]
Who is confused by the border line between Crown Heights and Prospect Heights? Neighborhood old timers know it is Washington Avenue, pictured above, but for real estate agents, newcomers and Yelp, confusion reigns, according to an article in DNAinfo. “The boundaries are simple,” said Atim Oton of Community Board 8. Washington Avenue is the dividing line, she said. As Crown Heights becomes an increasingly popular place to live, the tendency to call its western edge Prospect Heights is lessening, said Nick Juravich, the I Love Franklin Ave blogger. Earlier this year, Yelp moved its border west to Washington. Yelp’s “boundaries were just wrong before,” said a Yelp spokeswoman. The borders are “arbitrary and dynamic,” city officials and residents quoted in the story agreed. Maybe DNAinfo should look into the border between Boerum Hill and Cobble Hill, which it seems no one agrees on.
Swath of Central Brooklyn Ceded Back in Neighborhood Border War [DNAinfo]
The Blue Smoke Cigar Lounge opens this Saturday night at 593 Washington Avenue, between Dean and Pacific streets. This Brooklynian post says that it will be a “bring your own” setup — that’s how cigar bars get around the city smoking regulations. There isn’t much commercial activity here on the northern end of Washington Avenue approaching Atlantic, but there are a few developments under construction so the area should see a lot more life soon. But how do you think a cigar bar will fare in the Prospect Heights and Crown Heights areas? GMAP
The South Slope blog IMBY ventured north to Prospect Heights and nabbed this rendering of 313 St. Marks Avenue, a future 76 unit rental development. The architecture firm in question is S3 Architecture, which is also designing two buildings in the Clinton Hill Historic District. The new building application for the four-story development is now pending at the DOB. This lot is actually the weirdly shaped, 31,000-square-foot parking lot between Underhill and Washington Avenue. It sold last summer for $5.75 million. We spoke with S3 architect Christopher Dierig about working with such an awkward space:
We are planning a very exciting building at St Marks. In order to accommodate the lot, the building has an unusual shape. It includes interior courtyards, and yards facing various massings and wings of the building. Parking will be underground.
He also addressed the carriage house next door at 305 St. Marks Avenue, which IMBY expressed concern about:
The building does not block in the carriage house next door. That part of the lot will remain an open yard, so it does not impact the light or view of the carriage house. We have a very good engineering team dealing with the shoring and underpinning of all adjacent structures.
A Mediterranean restaurant is under construction at 708 Washington Avenue, between Prospect Place and St. Marks Avenue. The owner said it’ll be opening this spring. He also noted that there will be tapas “with a Moroccan touch,” wine and beer, and it will be called Kimiya. This news first emerged over the summer at Brooklynian, with word that the restaurant would open in September or October. But after peeking in the other day, it was clear there’s still quite a bit of interior work that needs to be done before that can happen. GMAP
Buyers at 659 Bergen Street (or at least the people that have signed contracts and hope to be buyers) continue to be stalled in their efforts to close on their apartments and finally occupy their homes. Many of these deals were signed in 2011 and buyers have been waiting over a year to get in. A tipster tells us that the developer of the Prospect Heights project, Boaz Gilad, has been saying that they will get the Certificate of Occupancy soon for well over a year now but it has yet to happen. On January 11, the realtor marketing the units, Aguayo Huebener, sent signers an email indicating that the building had passed all inspections and that they should start scheduling their own inspections and prepare for closing. Unfortunately, it turns out, the building had one more inspection to go. A few weeks later the building failed its gas system inspection on nine separate points. The realtor then forwarded questions from the signers to Gilad and emailed them his responses (which the tipster provided to us). He complained that the inspector with the buildings department (which he calls the plumbing department) “decided he wants to check all the plumbing again, and ALTHOUGH it was approved, he didn’t like the hot water system. We have no power to stop him from failing us…” The building failed the inspection primarily due to the venting of hot water heaters.
Several frustrated buyers have reported to DOB that somebody (the tipster says Gilad himself) has actually moved into the building despite the lack of a C of O. Several complaints (here, here and here) have been filed with the DOB on this point and though inspectors have visited the building they have been unable to gain access and therefore no action has been taken. The gas inspector also noted in his report that he was unable to access the fifth floor, the unit that is allegedly being occupied. In addition to all of this, our tipster says a few signers have been allowed to backed out of their contracts–but not to flip them for current market values. Instead, the units have been getting relisted for quite a bit more than the original asking price and our tipster says some have gone back into contract. For example, our tipster tells us, and Street Easy appears to confirm, that Unit 2D went into contract when the asking price was $369,000 in 2011 and was in contract again in December when the asking price was $449,000. Our tipster says it went into contract for $460,000.
Gilad is out of town and could not be reached for comment, however a representative from the marketer’s firm did say that the developer very much wants to obtain the C of O and close on the sales, that he is trying hard to make that happen and that there is no advantage to not closing on the properties. See a picture of the top unit with the lights on after the jump.
Buyers in Limbo at Prospect Heights Building [Brownstoner] (more…)
If you don’t mind a few modern touches, check out this two-bedroom, floor-through apartment on top of Pequenia, at 601 Vanderbilt Avenue. The renovation here doesn’t look half bad. But if the living room and kitchen share the same space (it’s hard to tell from the listing photos), we’d say that $3,400/month seems high.
During an October 27th show at the Barclays Center, “Sensation,” a group of Dutch dance and techno-music DJs were so loud that they violated city noise regulations inside apartments at the Newswalk condos more than a block away. A city Department of Environmental Protection inspector found that sound inside an apartment hit 74 decibels, far above the legal limit of 62. Forest City Ratner was issued a $3,200 fine. However it was dismissed because the summons should have been written to the subsidiary that runs the arena. A new ticket has been issued and a hearing is scheduled for April. One Newswalk resident told the New York Post, “It was so loud that night that I had my headphones on watching TV — and I could still feel the vibration and hear the noise from the show.” The city also tested for noise during the Jay-Z and Justin Bieber shows but found no violations. That wasn’t surprising to the Newswalk resident who said that the city tested the noise levels for both concerts when no one was performing. Atlantic Yards Watch has compiled a map of noise complaints that stretch a block or more in nearly every direction from the arena. You can also read Atlantic Yards Report’s comprehensive coverage of noise issues here and more about Sensation here. Any readers being kept up late by thumping bass from the arena?
We like the look and feel of this two-bedroom co-op in the converted public school at 279 Sterling Place in Prospect Heights. The main living space, with its large windows and high ceilings, is lovely and helps compensate for the fact that a portion of the apartments 1,268 square feet is on the mezzanine level. Maintenance is a relatively low $915 a month and the asking price is $899,000. Thoughts?
279 Sterling Place [Corcoran] GMAP P*Shark
Despite postponements, the Flatbush Avenue Capital Streetscape project moves ahead little by litte. Tomorrow morning, the broken clock at the 6th Avenue and Flatbush triangle will be taken down. According to the North Flatbush Avenue BID, the clock will be replaced by a new Madison Victorian clock, although it won’t be installed until 2014. The Flatbush “triangles” are all due for major upgrades. Pictured above is the rendering of the 6th Avenue Triangle with more pedestrian seating and landscaping.
Rendering by W Architecture and Landscape Architecture, via the Architect’s Newspaper
A vacant, three-story brownstone with a commercial space on the ground floor at 75 St. Marks Avenue, just three blocks from the Barclays Center, sold for $1,640,000 earlier this month. The 3,270 square-foot building last changed hands only months ago in September of 2012 for $965,000. That’s a whopping 70 percent increase in just four months. From the outside it doesn’t appear that the new owners did much, if anything, to improve the property that would warrant such a massive increase in value. The listing indicated that the apartments needed a gut renovation and there are no new permits pulled with the buildings department. It’s possible that the sellers got a very good deal when they bought last year–they did purchase it from the estate of the previous owner who had held onto the property since 1970. When the home was on the market in 2011, it had the asking price cut from $1,650,000 to $1,350,000 without any luck in moving the property. The broker, Ofer Cohen, founder of TerraCRG says, “this sale is an example of the tremendous growth and transformation that the area surrounding the Barclays Center has seen and its effect on the immediate neighborhood. Properties in this area especially with retail spaces are gaining considerable notice from investors who are willing to pay a premium for the location.” What do you think? Has the arena really boosted the value of commercial properties, or is this an outlier?
Price Cut on Prospect Heights Mixed Use [BK to the Fullest] GMAP P*Shark
Tonight the owners of al di la and Bar Corvo open their third restaurant venture, a fancy take-out joint called Lincoln Station. It’s located at 409 Lincoln Place, right around the corner from Bar Corvo. According to earlier reports, they will offer take-out, prepared foods such as rotisserie chicken and growlers to-go. There’s also a 30-seat dining room (without a waitstaff) where you can order casual, American food like breakfast egg sandwiches, meatballs and hamburgers. No doubt this will be a popular addition to the neighborhood.
Photo by the Washington Avenue-Prospect Heights Association
The residential development under construction on Bergen Street just off Vanderbilt Avenue has topped off. According to building department records this is only a three-family project so it’s safe to assume they’ll be marketed as three-story private “town houses.” Construction started up here in the fall.
Development Begins Rising on Bergen Street [Brownstoner] GMAP
What do you make of these two new Dean Street developments in Prospect Heights? On the left, we have 731 Dean Street, which should be complete by this spring. On the right, 739 Dean Street, which looks finished but isn’t listing units yet. No. 731 has three units and No. 739 will have two duplex units and one luxury simplex. Both of these buildings are right near another newish condo development at 727 Dean. Busy block!
More Construction on Dean Street in Prospect Heights [Brownstoner]
Today the Shelby White and Leon Levy Information Commons opened at the main branch of the Brooklyn Public Library at Grand Army Plaza. It’s a 5,500-square-foot space full of technology available for public use. That means 25 workstations with desktop computers, seven private meeting rooms with electronic whiteboards, a recording studio, a wireless learning lab, and seating and outlets for 70 laptop users. This is the first “information commons” in any New York City public library, and the idea is to provide library users with technology-rich resources, accompanied by private areas for collaborative thinking. The library will also host workshops and classes in the learning lab; several are already planned for the next few weeks. BRIC Media will also offer classes in digital photography, podcasting and video. As Anthony Crowell, the chairman of the Brooklyn Public Library Board of Trustees, told the crowd this morning, “This is a hallmark project that will showcase the power of public libraries.” He called the design, which was handled by architect Toshiko Mori, “fun, challenging, and collaborative.” The library’s CEO Linda Johnson, Marty Markowitz, and donor Shelby White also spoke. White was responsible for the $3.25 million donation that made this space possible. She grew up in Brooklyn herself and attended this branch as a kid. “I hope this is a gathering place for those who want the latest technology and resources, and for those who just want to read a good book,” she said. We think the focus on media creation, in addition to research and information access, is interesting. Sign of the times. Click through for tons more pics of the space. (more…)
Maps not working on your smart phone? No problem. The Department of Transportation is coming to the rescue with a city-wide pedestrian wayfinding system in March. Crown Heights and Prospect Heights will be the first neighborhoods in Brooklyn to receive the outdoor maps and signs. Wayfinding stations are planned for Prospect Park (at the zoo and Brooklyn Botanic Gardens), on Washington Avenue, and near the Brooklyn Children’s Museum. According to Jon Orcutt, the project manager for this program, the DOT will install all this in May. The signs, pictured above and after the jump, will show pedestrian walkways, the public transportation layout, and neighborhood destinations. According to the article in today’s New York Observer, the maps are laser printed directly onto the glass signage, and the ink can be wiped away and the glass reprinted as the map changes. Unlike the wayfinding signage now up in Downtown Brooklyn, this program will be city-wide and uniform. The other pilot programs are slated for Long Island City, Midtown and Chinatown. The DOT will also install maps at the forthcoming bike share stations. The Heart of Brooklyn and the Brooklyn Children’s Museum teamed up with the DOT to make it happen in Crown Heights. The Heart of Brooklyn has been pushing for a wayfinding system in the neighborhood for almost a decade, and they’re excited to test it in the neighborhood. The DOT met with Community Board Eight last week and will meet with Community Board Nine later this month.
Photos by the DOT (more…)
The new year brought construction workers to 363 St. Marks Avenue, where a residential conversion is planned for the old Prospect Heights warehouse. Work’s begun on what will be a 44-unit apartment building with an additional third and partial fourth floor. You can see lots of renderings here. The developers bought this building last spring and the architect’s plans emerged in the summer. The DOB issued building alteration permits this December.
Renderings for Residential Conversion on St. Marks [Brownstoner]
Prospect Heights Warehouse Sells, May Go Residential [Brownstoner] GMAP