Brooklyn Ink has published a remarkable story, well worth reading, about 111 Clarkson, the famous berserk-eclectic Victorian in Prospect Lefferts Gardens that in September sold to a developer for $2,675,000. The author spoke to the seller, the buyer, our Montrose Morris columnist Suzanne Spellen, frequent Brownstoner commenter and long-time PLG resident Bob Marvin, and even an owner of the property from the 1970s.
The latter was once offered $50,000 for the windows, or half the price he paid for the house! He refused. Other revelations: The building’s third story is occupied entirely by pigeons. There is a smell of wet wood and water damage in the enclosed porch. And, incredibly, the house still has some furniture in it from the house’s original occupants. (It belongs to the seller and will not be staying with the house.)
Perhaps the biggest revelation is the identity of the buyer: Seth Brown, a small developer here in Brooklyn, whose historic restoration of 392 Dean Street in Park Slope we covered in detail. That was not a literal restoration — the exterior never had a mansard roof, for example, as it does now — but it looks authentic and fits in beautifully with the neighborhood. He rebuilt most of the structure, keeping the old foundation, and inside is a mix of new and old-looking details, such as some salvage marble fireplaces of the same type the building probably had originally.
If anyone could save 111 Clarkson, it would be Brown. He has not yet decided for sure if he will raze the building, according to Brooklyn Ink, but it sounds likely. As the paper put it, “The choice is a stark one: tear the house down, or make it financially viable. Brown said market forces will decide its fate. ‘The question becomes, can the house be restored and rented out or sold for more than what it would cost to restore it?’ ”
In the parking lot behind the house, he plans to build a five- or six-story high-end apartment building. There will be solar power, garden plots, and bike storage.
Update: We just heard from Brown. “We’re still thinking about what to do there, but there is severe water damage,” he said. “If we can’t save it, we will definitely hire a reputable architectural salvage company to photograph and reclaim any usable details.”
Death Knell for Flatbush’s Haunted House? [Brooklyn Ink]
“Berserk Eclectic” House Sold for $2.675 Million, Will Be Razed for Luxury Rentals [Brownstoner]
We Hear “Berserk-Eclectic” But Imperiled 111 Clarkson Has Closed [Brownstoner]
Berserk Eclectic Masterpiece on Market Again [Brownstoner]
Building of the Day: 111 Clarkson Avenue [Brownstoner]
“Berserk Eclecticism” on Clarkson Avenue [Brownstoner]
Photo by Nicholas Strini for PropertyShark