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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Year in Review: A Look Back at the 10 Biggest Brooklyn Stories of 2015
Your Most Burning Real Estate and Renovation Questions of the Year
5 Interior Design Trends That Will Be Big in 2016