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Apartment listings are up and retailers signed for 426 Bainbridge Street, a long-empty mixed-use building in east Bed Stuy, pictured above, that was the first Bed Stuy purchase of neighborhood investor Weissman Equities. The four units are all no fee and gut renovated. They all have two bedrooms, one bath and are asking $2,100 a month. They have 10-foot-high ceilings, oak floors with an ebony finish, white subway tile, marble backsplashes and quartz counters in the kitchens, and Toto toilets.

Retail tenants include Noel Salon, which is relocating from elsewhere in the neighborhood, and Legend Pet Supply. Legend will open in a few weeks, and the salon is aiming for July. Drive by Press print shop and gallery has been open in the space for several months already, as reported.

Meanwhile, work on the previously bricked-up retail space at landmarked building 616 Halsey Street continues, and the firm plans to close on three more Bed Stuy buildings in July, bringing the total up to seven, said Weissman Equities Partner Seth Weissman. One of its properties is 216 Malcolm X Boulevard, where the bar Khemistry plans to open later this summer in a long-empty space, as previously reported.

Weissman Equities also plans to open up now-defunct retail space at two of the new properties it is purchasing. “I’m a big believer in how storefronts can activate the sidewalk and the neighborhood,” said Weissman. “We think it’s important for the long-term success of the community.” This week, Weissman Equities unveiled a Bed Stuy-only investment fund, as reported yesterday.

426 Bainbridge Street Listings [Weissman Equities]
Weissman Equities Coverage [Brownstoner]

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Another revamped retail space in a landmarked building in Stuy Heights is ready for a tenant. The second retail space at 616 Halsey Street, in the rear of the building at the corner of Malcolm X, had been closed up for decades.

Developer Weissman Equities opened it up again and renovated the interior and exterior, with Landmarks approval. The liquor store on the corner is staying, and the vintage-style exterior lights outside the apartment entrance are new.

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As readers here may recall, Seth Weissman of Weissman Equities has been buying up and renovating mixed-use buildings in east Bed Stuy with a goal toward revitalizing the neighborhood by bringing new retail into long-empty spaces, much as his firm did in the Pines on Fire Island. Now he’s created an investment company called CityShares whose first fund will be focused on Bed Stuy specifically, he told us.

To advertise the fund, he’s created a video about Bed Stuy that features local residents and business owners Brownstoner readers will recognize, including cafe owner Superfrench, Halstead agent and preservationist Morgan Munsey, and Seasons garden center owner Deborah Young. Small-time investors with $100,000 or more to invest can buy shares in the $5 million fund, which he will use to buy properties.

The fund is officially launching this week, and will close in July. Weissman already has about 20 investors, he said. Once the money is in place, CityShares will use it to buy eight to 10 buildings in the neighborhood, both mixed-use and multifamily. The focus will on cash flow from rent and improving cash flow by making improvements over time, he said.

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Developer Weissman Equities has launched rentals at its second Bed Stuy building, above, at 616 Halsey Street on the corner of Malcolm X. Two three-bedroom units are available at $2,950 a month.

The six-unit, circa 1892 Romanesque Revival building is landmarked. It was designed by Walter M. Coots. Weissman Equities is renovating four of the units, which were delivered vacant when it purchased the building for $1,500,000 in August, according to Weissman Equities Partner Seth Weissman.

Two more units will be available soon; the two upper units are rent regulated and occupied. Pending Landmarks approval, the firm is also fixing up the building exterior with new signage, lighting and plantings, and plans to re-open the building’s original second retail space, now bricked in and used as storage. The current retail tenant, a liquor store, will stay.

The renovated units, previously two-bedrooms with large living rooms, have been completely reconfigured and have new kitchens, baths, closets and washers and dryers.

Meanwhile, over at 426 Bainbridge Street, which we wrote about in August, a block print company is moving in and will have production as well as retail space. The building’s residential spaces are almost ready for move-ins, pending some renovations that have been held up due to the weather, and Weissman Equities is close to signing a lease for the second retail space.

Weissman Equities also recently picked up another mixed-use building at 216 Malcolm X Boulevard and is looking at other properties in the area.

By remaking long-shuttered retail space, the firm hopes to bring positive change to the neighborhood, said Weissman, as it has done on Fire Island, where it owns a large number of properties in one area. It also recently launched the first micro apartments in Harlem. “We are excited to be a catalyst,” he said. Click through to the jump to see interior photos of the new units.

616 Halsey Street 1R [Corcoran]
Big Plans for Bed Stuy East Retail [Brownstoner]
Photos after the jump by Weissman Equities via Corcoran

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Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Visitors Center has won the American Institute of Architects’ Institute of Honor Award, the organization’s highest recognition. Designed by Weiss/Manfredi Architects, the glassed-in structure has a zig-zagging roof that transitions into undulating green grass as it extends back into the garden. Here are the AIA’s comments on the building’s design:

“…The building blends gracefully into the landscape. On the south side, too, the design mediates the relationship between ‘culture’ and ‘cultivation’ through veiled views into the Garden from the exhibition gallery. The gallery’s curved glass surfaces are spectrally selective and fritted to minimize heat gain and maximize natural illumination.”

The visitors center was built with locally purchased materials and incorporates sustainable elements, like a geothermal exchange and a rain garden. And it includes a century-old Ginkgo tree. The building also incorporates an information lobby, orientation room, restrooms, gift shop, café, catering and kitchen and an event space.

Photo by Albert Vecerka/Esto via AIA

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An article in the Wall Street Journal yesterday looked at all the development happening in east Bed Stuy, where Weissman Equities is renovating a mixed-use building on Bainbridge Street and real estate development firm Brookland Capital recently opened an office, among other things. The article noted the area is popular with home buyers looking for brownstones under $1,000,000, and is up for landmarking. It also mentioned the forthcoming Casablanca bar and grocery store Bed Stuy Fresh and Local. The story implied there was nothing in the area “a few years ago” except Bed Stuy Fish Fry, then awkwardly mentioned community gardens and block parties.

Prices in Bed Stuy in general have risen quickly in the last year, and now nearly 80 townhouses are on the market there — despite record low inventory of 19th-century row houses elsewhere in Brooklyn, according to DNAinfo. A group called Coalition for the Improvement of Bedford-Stuyvesant (CIBS) is urging seniors there to pass down their brownstones to family rather than sell, and is hosting workshops to help them do it, the story said.

There Is Life East of Malcolm X Boulevard [WSJ]
Bed-Stuy Group Encouraging Seniors to Keep Townhouses “in the Family” [DNAinfo]

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We were excited to hear from Weissman Equities about their plans to bring “retail amenities and upgraded rental units” to Bed Stuy East, in the words of Weissman Equities Acquisitions Analyst Shay Sellars. First up is a mixed use building at 426 Bainbridge Street, where renovations will start in the next two weeks. The rendering shows an organic market or cafe, juice bar, bookstore and a wine shop. We’re guessing the retail mix is a suggestion rather than set in stone, but we love the idea. Right now the retail on these blocks is sparse as well as basic —  the occasional bodega, hair salon, and Chinese takeout — but the recent success of Delhi Heights is an encouraging sign. The firm said it is in the process of buying other properties in the area, including on Malcolm X Boulevard, as well. Click through to the jump for more renderings and to see the building as it is now.