Gentrification, Mega-Projects and Bonkers Home Sales: Brownstoner’s Top Stories of 2015

Photo via Halstead


    In 2015, luxury-apartment renters got upset about “insane” ConEd bills, Michelle Williams bought a mega-mansion in Prospect Park South, and Brownstoner pondered whether Brooklyn’s real estate boom is coming to an end.

    Here are the 11 most popular stories we published this year.

    Crown Heights Brooklyn 500 Sterling Place

    Photo via Halstead

    11. Renters Upset About “Insane” ConEd Bills to Heat Crown Heights Luxury Building
    The heating bills at new luxury rental building 500 Sterling Place in Crown Heights have been “insanely expensive,” according to one renter there. She said said her January bill was $598 and February $700 to heat a two-bedroom, two-bath apartment of about 1,000 square feet — and that was with the heat off in one of the bedrooms. (For comparison, this is about what we pay for a three-story row house.)

    Co-Living Startup Common Crown Heights

    Photo by Barbara Eldredge

    10. Tour the 19-Bed Crown Heights House That’s Trying to Disrupt Brooklyn’s Rental Market
    Would you pay $1,950 a month to co-live in this Crown Heights townhouse? The space at 1162 Pacific Street is the first co-living location launched by Common, a Brooklyn-based startup offering month-to-month rentals and an atmosphere of creative community. It’s a place where renting a bedroom among interesting people is supposed to be as easy as renting a desk in a bustling co-working space.

    Bed Stuy Brooklyn House for Sale -- 361 Quincy Street

    Photo via Corcoran

    9. Bed Stuy Brownstone With Pool, Movie Theater Asks $1.995 Million
    This newly renovated Bed Stuy brownstone offers something you don’t see every day — a swimming pool. And not one of those low-rent above-ground round numbers, either, but an actual in-ground heated swimming pool in the rear, laid out with stone-tile decking and a white canopy.

    Michelle Williams Brooklyn House

    Michelle Williams photo via Wikimedia; house photo by Kate Leonova for PropertyShark

    8. Actress Michelle Williams in Contract on Prospect Park South Mega-Mansion
    Golden Globe-winning actress Michelle Williams is the buyer of Prospect Park South’s most prominent house. The gigantic Colonial Revival mansion at 1440 Albemarle Road had been on the market for about a year, most recently asking $2,450,000.

    Pacific Park Brooklyn

    Pacific Park rendering by SHoP Architects

    7. Seven Residential Mega-Projects Changing the Face of Brooklyn
    Brooklyn has been home to a massive wave of development over the last decade that has transformed the borough. Some of the biggest changes occurred in Dumbo, Downtown, along 4th Avenue, and in Williamsburg, where luxury high rises have replaced industrial and commercial uses.

    Park Slope Plane Crash

    A trapped car burns under the tail of the jet. Photo by Paul Bernius for the New York Daily News via Getty Images

    6. Remembering the Park Slope Plane Crash on Its 55th Anniversary
    Fifty-five years later, there is nothing to immediately suggest that the intersection of Park Slope’s Sterling Place and 7th Avenue has born the brunt of more than a Brooklyn street’s typical quantity of death and tragedy.

    Community Bookstore Cobble Hill Brooklyn Closes

    Photo via Melville House

    5. Court Street’s Community Bookstore Will Close, for a Great Reason
    For years, this charming eyesore at 212 Court Street has been a staple of Cobble Hill life, but if you didn’t know owner John Scioli’s story, you couldn’t help but wonder how long it would be before Scioli was forced to close — if not by the health department, then certainly by a rent hike.

    Crown Heights Dean Street

    The intersection of Dean Street and Rogers in Crown Heights. Photo by Cate Corcoran

    4. Gentrifying Crown Heights Is Losing Its Black Community
    Crown Heights is changing, and high rents and landlords’ aggressive tactics are pushing out longtime tenants, typically African-Americans and Caribbean immigrants. Familiar businesses — bulletproof bodegas, fried chicken joints, video stores — are being replaced by expensive eateries, cocktail bars and national chains. Property values are rising, with 19th century townhouses now commanding prices in the millions.

    Clarendon Road Brooklyn

    Photo via Clarendon Meadows Civic Association

    3. The 14 Most Affordable Neighborhoods in Brooklyn
    There are only two neighborhoods in Brooklyn where the median price per square foot is less than $200. And you’ve probably never heard of either of them. Where can a Brooklyn buyer on a budget buy a home for less than $200 a square foot these days? That works out to be a whole house for less than $500,000 or an apartment for less than $200,000.

    Slave Theater Brooklyn Bed Stuy Icon Sold

    Photos via Save the Slave Theater

    2. Bed Stuy’s Iconic Slave Theater Sells to Developer, Already Hit With DOB Complaints
    Bed Stuy’s historic Slave Theater — a bastion of Afro-centric culture and activism since the 1980s — and two adjacent lots were sold to developer Eli Hemway for $18,500,000, according to The Real Deal. Permits have yet to be filed for development or renovation at any of the three sites: 1215 Fulton Street, 10 Halsey Street, and 16 Halsey Street.

    Brooklyn Real Estate Boom

    Photos by Barbara Eldredge

    1. Has the Real Estate Boom Come to an End?
    Has the New York real estate market peaked? Agents are reporting a slowdown that started at the end of the summer: Sparsely attended open houses, properties sitting on the market with no offers, price cuts. “Prices kept climbing and climbing, and the market started not being able to handle it. Sellers weren’t listening and just went too far, and now everybody’s taking a step back,” said a manager of a Brooklyn office for a major firm who requested anonymity because he wasn’t authorized by his company to speak on the record.

    Related Stories
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