Clinton Hill

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We passed by this garbage can container on Lafayette Dekalb Avenue recently and thought it was an interesting twist on the traditional shed that one usually sees. Quite an elegant solution. Any other interesting approaches people have taken to garbage can concealment?

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The Lord (and the real estate market) move in mysterious ways. The pair of brownstone storefront buildings on Fulton and St. James are getting a gut reno and we hear that they are going to be residential od some sort. If so, it will be an interesting litmus test for this stretch of Fulton. It’s conveniently located and the facade has nice bones so we could see there being demand, especially for rentals. Plus, a couple new storefronts? Let’s hope the developers don’t cheese out on us. GMAP P*Shark

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WILLIAMSBURG $1,350,000
122 South First Street
4-family, 4-story prewar wood-frame house; 3 bedrooms in two units; 1 bedroom in others; eat-in kitchen, renovated bath, wide plank floors, original molding and detail in each; full basement, new plumbing and electric systems in building; 25-by-100-ft. lot; taxes $503; listed at $1,400,000, 10 weeks on market. Broker: Kline Realty.

CLINTON HILL $635,000
135 Clinton Avenue
2-bedroom, 1-bath, 1,200-sq.-ft. duplex in a brownstone; renovated eat-in kitchen with upgraded appliances, exposed brick walls, hardwood floors, 3 decorative fireplaces, new windows; maintenance $650, 50% tax-deductible; listed at $625,000 (multiple bids), 6 weeks on market. Brokers: Warren Lewis Realty, Eychner Associates.

From the print edition of yesterday’s New York Times.
Photo from Property Shark

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Amazing. The subject of one of yesterday’s posts and the bane of Eastern Clinton Hill’s existence, the Greene Avenue broken-windowed piece of crap is still for sale after all. (That would make sense in light of one comment yesterday suggesting the light in the window was just a ruse to create the illusion of occupancy.) Since the real product itself was proving tough to sell, the developer has taken to misrepresenting the interiors. In yesterday’s Craiglist ad, he posts the above kitchen while stating that the buyer gets to pick his own kitchen finishes. (Of course, if you read the fine print he does say that “All illustrations are for representations and do not constitute a representation of any aspect of the final product.”) Almost as much of a joke as the asking price: $1.2 million. If anyone’s interested in expressing their feelings about this kind of conduct, Mordechai can be reached at 917-257-2670 or emailed at 4urealestate@gmail.com.
Two-Family Home $1,200,000 [Craigslist] GMAP
Keep Passing Broken Windows [Brownstoner]
Irresponsible Developers Try to Dump New-Build [Brownstoner]
Nothing Like A Little Lopsided Construction [Brownstoner]

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We have to admit to feeling a certain satisfaction as the developers of one of the biggest eyesores and examples of crapola design in Clinton Hill have struggled to find suckers to move into their new building. They gave up trying to find a buyer a while ago and have spent the last couple of months looking for renters. Just last night we noticed some lights on in the top unit for the first time. Still no takers for the lower triplex, which includes this broken window on the second floor (it’s been like this for several weeks). We can only hope that other developers of the Fedders variety take note of how long it has taken to get just one apartment rented here.
Irresponsible Developers Try to Dump New-Build [Brownstoner] GMAP
Nothing Like A Little Lopsided Construction [Brownstoner]

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After its surprise eleventh-hour landmarking last month, the Italianate manion at 70 Lefferts Place (which hasn’t always been yellow, as the photo from NYC archives shows) is back on the market. Unable to proceed with the condominium development he had been planning, developer Chris Morris (who, to be fair, got pretty shafted in all this) is looking either to sell the property outright or partner with someone with the vision to do something profitable within the envelope of landmark rules. Given that he’s got a $2 million mortgage, the house is probably costing him $12,000 to $15,000 a month to carry — reason enough to seek a swift solution. We looked at the house last Spring but were unable to convince a developer we know to put up the dough to buy and renovate it. And while the potential returns of dividing the existing structure into a handful of condo units may not provide the sky-high returns that many pros target, we still think there’s decent money to be made from doing a historically respectful conversion. You know, if 100 readers put of $10,000 each, you’d have more than enough equity to see this through.
1854 Italianate Villa [Craigslist] GMAP P*Shark
BREAKING: 70 Lefferts Place Landmarked! [Brownstoner]

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Fort Greene
62 St. Felix Street
Douglas Elliman
Sunday 2:30-4
$1,495,000
GMAP P*Shark

Clinton Hill
239 St. James Place
Brooklyn Properties
Sunday 2-4
$1,295,000
GMAP P*Shark

Dyker Heights
1210 Bay Ridge Parkway
Century 21
Sunday 12-3
$949,000
GMAP P*Shark

Prospect Lefferts Gardens
102 Rutland Road
Century 21
Sunday 12-1:30
$895,000
GMAP P*Shark

Slim pickings this week! Guess there’s still a holiday lag in effect.

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Some of the newer readers might not even realize what a big part of the site our renovation blog was in the early days of Brownstoner. Truth is, we miss it. Plus, we did kinda leave people hanging by not showing the finished product. It may have had something to do with a couple of harsh comments about the choice of shower curtain in the kids’ bathroom and something to do with the fact that a house like ours is never really done. Unless you have a bottomless pit of money that allows you to perfectly restore everything in the house before moving in, a brownstone reno is really a lifelong commitment. Which makes it hard to say, “Okay, we’re done now!”

With that said, it’s time to start revealing the finished product in bits and pieces. As promised last month, we’re starting with the kitchen and hoping other readers will follow suit by sending us their photos and stories to run on the main page. There are some good shots of the evolution of our kitchen in the July 2005 archive that are worth checking out as background.

The current kitchen is at the top of the stairs on the second floor where a bathroom used to be. We closed off the original doorway from the hall (where the fridge is now) and opened up the wall to the dining room. We were able to salvage enough of the old pipe molding from our demo to cover the entire opening. The counters are veiny white marble cut from a very large slab (found at Build It Green!) that had been salvaged from the bathroom of an old theater in the West 40s in Manhattan. We saved money with IKEA cabinets and splurged a bit on appliances, with the theory that we could move the appliances if we ever have the money to move the kitchen down a floor to the rear of the parlor. So we went with a Bosch dishwasher, a Bluestar range and a Jenn Air refrigerator. We capped it off with a vintage Art Deco ceiling light.

Okay, your turn. (If you emailed us last month already, please send us a reminder.)