Trend: New Owners Add Bedrooms, Raise Rents Across Brooklyn

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    The new owner of an Edwardian apartment building in Clinton Hill is renovating and raising rents as tenants vacate. The renovated apartments have more bedrooms and less common space than the old ones. It’s a pattern we’re seeing all over the borough in neighborhoods where rents are rising quickly, such as Bed Stuy and Crown Heights.

    At 415 Washington Avenue, two- and three-bedroom apartments with dining rooms and French doors are being turned into three- and four-bedroom apartments. One market-rate unit that was renting for $2,925 a month is now asking $4,500 or $5,000 (in two ads), a tipster who used to live in the building told us. Going by the photos in the ads, the renovation may also be replacing plaster walls with drywall. Instead of families, the apartments appear aimed at roommates, who can pay more per person, she told us.

    At 415 Washington, the larger renovated apartments also have a new second bathroom.

    At 616 Halsey Street in Bed Stuy, which started leasing earlier this year, developer Weissman Equities converted two-bedroom apartments into three-bedrooms asking $2,950 a month. There wasn’t room to add a second bathroom, but the new owner enlarged the existing one and added a sliding door separating the shower from the toilet so it could be used as one room or two.

    During the Depression, large apartments were typically split into smaller units, and whole houses often became boarding houses with rooms to let, or SROs. Now, as neighborhoods in Brooklyn gentrify and become more expensive, the latest trend is to keep apartments intact but carve out more bedrooms to boost rents.

    At the same time, the opposite is happening in owner-occupied row houses, where new owners typically reduce the overall number of people living in the building when they renovate. Typically new owner occupants like to create at least a duplex for themselves and no more than two rental units.

     415 Washington Avenue #5A Listing [CitiHabitats]
    Photo by Christopher Bride for PropertyShark

    Update: Just got some really cool new information about the history of the Clinton Hill building from a Brownstoner reader. Brownstone Detectives unearthed an ad in the Brooklyn Eagle for apartments at 415 Washington, which was known as The Dandridge and built in 1910! The Dandridge advertised “hall boy and janitor service of the best,” “all night elevator service,” and “a telephone in every apartment,” he said. Some apartments also had “the most efficient suction cleaning system in the world” — a vacuum cleaner, apparently. What were the rents? They ranged from $45 to $65 a month.

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