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There’s no question what sold Eric Liftin, founding principal of Dumbo-based MESH Architectures, on the three-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath top-floor condo that was to become his family’s home. It was the view and the view, not to mention the view.

Liftin and his wife, Elizabeth Schmidt, noticed the seven-story building under construction in 2012, a few blocks south of Brooklyn Bridge Park in the Columbia Street Waterfront district. They’d sold their apartment in lower Manhattan and were biding time in a rental. “We went up to the roof and looked out over the harbor, and immediately said, ‘We have to live here,’” Liftin recalled.

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Some of Brooklyn’s most charming blocks are those one or two block little streets that are tucked in just about every neighborhood. There are all kinds of reasons why they exist; some are developer-designed enclaves that were added to the street grid, while others are streets that were created to accommodate a specific business or industry. Still others were added because the topography allowed for just one more small street in order to make sense in directing traffic or creating lots of a certain size. Whatever the reason, they are great, especially if few people outside of the neighborhood know about them. Who wouldn’t want a secret street?

The bisection of Red Hook by Robert Moses’ Brooklyn Queens Expressway created some new streets, and made others harder to get to. But even before the highway was cut, the neighborhood once known as South Brooklyn already had a few one block streets. It is home to four “places”: Tompkins Place, Strong Place, Cheever Place and Tiffany Place. The first three are purely residential streets in Cobble Hill, but Tiffany Place, on the other side of the BQE cut, has long been a mixture of residential and manufacturing.

Tiffany Place…what a great name. It must have been named after one of the great Tiffany’s of Gilded Age fame. If not Louis Comfort Tiffany, than surely it was named after his father, the founder of the famous jewelry store in Midtown Manhattan. That Tiffany, the one whose bling inspired thousands of people to name their daughters for a fabulous emporium of gold, silver and expensive jewels. The name means quality and riches. Who wouldn’t want to live on a street with the Tiffany name?

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This fourth-floor condo at 138 Sackett Street has been for sale since last summer, which is a pretty long time in this market, especially for a place as nice looking as this. All we can come up with is that the asking price of $1,195,000 for 1,062 square feet has been too high for the Columbia Street Waterfront District. Anyone checked this place out?

138 Sackett Street, #4B [Real Direct] GMAP

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A new report says the Port Authority should sell off two of its Brooklyn ports to developers to build housing and help generate some cash, Bloomberg reported. Selling the two money-losing shipping terminals would help the bloated agency make up the $80,000,000 in revenue it lost last year while operating New York City’s ports.

The two ports are the Brooklyn-Port Authority Marine Terminal, just south of Brooklyn Bridge Park, and the Red Hook Container Terminal next door, according to the report by nonprofit watchdog group Citizens Budget Commission. Both are located in the Columbia Street Waterfront District, west of Cobble Hill, and the Red Hook Container Terminal also extends south into Red Hook. They lost $205,718 and $184,788 per acre last year, respectively, but only support 9 percent of New York’s cargo volume.

Obviously any housing built right on the water would go for megabucks and raises the possibility of a variance for extremely tall luxury towers, a la Williamsburg and Greenpoint. No doubt affordable housing will be part of the mix — somewhere. There’s also the question of flooding.

The CBC also suggested the Port Authority could convert some of its existing buildings to a “modern industrial park” with space for light manufacturing, like the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

What do you think?

Port Authority Should Sell Brooklyn Marine Terminals, Group Says [Bloomberg]
Photo by Manuel Ascano

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The original details are the main attraction at 29 Tiffany Place in the Columbia Waterfront District. This fifth-floor pad sports beautiful wood columns and ceilings (which are 11 feet high). The kitchen has also been well renovated recently. One drawback of the 862-square-foot unit is the fact that it has only one bathroom. The common charges are fairly low though — and it’s just around the corner from Pok Pok.

29 Tiffany Place, #5I [Halstead] GMAP

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A waterfront site at 96-98 Degraw Street has just sold for $2,100,000, according to TerraCRG, the agent on the deal. The property between Columbia and Van Brunt streets is 3,500 square feet, and the sale price works out to $326 per buildable square foot.

There are already plans for two three-story single-family homes clocking in at 3,000 square feet each, which were filed and disapproved in October 2012. “Townhouses in the neighborhood are in high demand, with sales in the area achieving well over $1,000 per square foot,” TerraCRG Senior Vice President Melissa DiBella said in a press release.

Photo via Google Maps

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Row houses
Address: 74-76 Union Street
Cross Streets: Van Brunt and Columbia streets
Neighborhood: Columbia Waterfront District
Year Built: 1850s
Architectural Style: Gothic Revival
Architect: Unknown
Landmarked: No

The story: The Atlantic and Erie Basin docks, less than a block from these houses, brought prosperity and jobs to what was then called “South Brooklyn.” Goods came overseas and down the Hudson from the Erie Canal to Brooklyn’s piers, making this one of the busiest seaports in North America. The size and scope of Brooklyn’s waterfront activity cannot be emphasized enough – it was the fuel that made Brooklyn one of the largest and richest cities in America.

While the piers and ports were still relatively new, some of those who owned businesses on or near the water wanted to live close to work. The lower end of Union Street, which was named for the Union Stores, a warehouse complex near the docks, was developed initially as homes. The first houses were built in the late 1840s and early 1850s, and include these two houses. By 1887, city maps show masonry row houses stretching along this side of the street in one uninterrupted line from one end of the block to the other. Today, these houses are almost lone survivors.