Crown Heights

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Call them the houses that Pacific Blue spawned…With the large number of low-lying commercial buildings and relative proximity to Prospect Heights, the blocks of Sterling Place between Classon and New York Avenues in Crown Heights are becoming fertile ground for developers. Take 792 Sterling Place. The property just changed hands for $4.65 million in March (after going for $750,000 four years earlier!) and the new owners aren’t wasting any time executing the plans the sellers already had in place for a 82-unit, 62,000-square-foot residential building. The five story project is being designed by Hugo Subotovsky.
GMAP P*Shark DOB

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As we get ready to post this, the powers-that-be at the Landmarks Preservation Commission are most likely in the process of approving the creation of the Crown Heights North Historic District, the 79th such area to date. The first phase of the landmarking, which is centered around Dean Street between Bedford and Kingston Avenues, will place 472 buildings under protection from death and disfigurement. The designation is a symbol of the area’s resurgence from several decades of poverty and decay that in the end preserved its architectural heritage. Quoth The Times:

Paradoxically, the beauty of the architecture owes much to a lack of money in the 1970s and 1980s, when — as in much of Brooklyn and the city — drugs and poverty and crime drove out the movies and the so-called doctors row. No one had the cash to make bad choices. People didn’t paint the outside all kinds of funky colors and do crazy things, Ms. Brown said. They couldn’t afford to.

The designation (if it indeed happens) will be the result of tireless effort by the members of the Crown Heights North Association who have been lobbying the LPC for years to protect the neighborhood. The blocks in Phase 1 were targeted first because the size of the lots made them most vulnerable to development. Can any CH’ers tells us what blocks will be encompassed in Phase 2?
Seeking Landmark Status, and Hoping to Lose a Label [NY Times]
LPC Proposes Historic District Designation for CHN [NYC.gov]
The Richest Architecture in Brooklyn [NY Sun]
Photo by pantsopticon

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It’s unusual to find two houses next door to each other on the market at the same time, but such is the case with this pair of very similar places on President Street at New York Avenue in Crown Heights. The house of the left, Number 1269, is a one-family asking $1.4 million that’s been recently renovated (but not very nicely); Number 1271, at right, is also a one-family and is asking $1.5 million. According to Property Shark, 1271 is 1,000 square larger, so either it has a rear addition or The Shark has its numbers wrong. (The driveway is not part of the property.) We wonder if this will appeal to a developer looking to condo the whole thing. Anyone been inside either of these?
1269 President Street [Craigslist] GMAP P*Shark
1271 President Street [Craigslist] GMAP P*Shark

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Like last Wednesday’s House of the Day, the sales effort of this two-bedroom co-op on Prospect Place just over the border into Crown Heights could benefit from a more neutral paint job. (Lest readers get the wrong impression, we like the use of color and have painted a number of rooms in our own house strong colors, but when one color dominates the entire mood of a property you’re trying to sell, it’s very risky.) The owner has recently done a clean-looking reno and while there are plenty of things we could nit-pick about, our sense is that $419,000 is a reasonable price to be asking for a two bedroom that needs no work, especially when you include the apartment’s kicker — exclusive roof rights above the apartment. Can anyone comment on the building, a 15,000-square-foot, 20-unit co-op? There was an open house yesterday. Did anyone make it?
566 Prospect Place 2 BR [Brooklyn Properties] GMAP P*Shark

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In today’s New York Sun, architectural historian Francis Morrone does a fly-over of the proposed Crown Heights North historic district (bounded, he notes, on the north by Pacific and Dean streets, on the west by Bedford and Brooklyn avenues, on the south by Dean Street and Prospect Place, and on the east by Brooklyn and Kingston avenues). First stop: Grant Square, at Bedford and Dean, which features the 1896 statue of Ulysses S. Grant by William Ordway Partridge. The statue, we learn, was donated by the highbrow Union League club (which still exists in Manhattan), whose clubhouse used to be on the Southeast corner of Bedford and Dean. Quite a reminder of the area’s former economic status. Morrone touches on a few more greatest hits, like the armory and the Montrose Morris classic at the southeast corner of Bedford and Pacific, before wrapping things up with a shout-out to the Brooklyn Children’s Museum.
The Richest Architecture in Brooklyn [NY Sun]
Photo from the Bridge & Tunnel Club

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The Courier reported last week that the 1917 McKim, Mead and White-designed structure that houses the visitors center at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden was recently awarded landmark status. It seems unique among New York buildings to have this Tuscan Revival building with the varying profile of its roofline, said garden prez Scot Medbury. It is fitting that this magnificent building receive landmark status.” LPC head Bob Tierney had this to say: With its simple ornament, extraordinary cupola and octagonal roofs, this refined building is a rare find in New York City.” While we prefer the nearby Mckim, Mead and White design of the Brooklyn Museum, this one’s certainly a keeper.
Laboratory Buiding Earns Historic Designation [Fort Greene Courier]
Photo by Elissa Corsini

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FORT GREENE $1,457,000
331 Adelphi Street
165-year-old, six-bedroom detached Greek Revival 2-family; duplex: 3 bedrooms, 1.5 baths, rear garden; other unit: 3 bedrooms, 1 bath, deck; 25-by-75-foot lot; taxes $4,025; listed at $1,495,000; 6 weeks on market. Broker: Aguayo & Huebener. Photo by Sarah Westcott for Property Shark. ARCHIVE!

PROSPECT CROWN HEIGHTS $265,000
1520 Bedford Avenue
640-sq.-ft. condo in a new building; high ceilings, hardwood floors, 2 exposures, roof deck and laundry room in building; common charge $222; 100% tax abatement; listed at $265,000. One week on market. Broker: Developer’s Group.
Residential Sales [NY Times]

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Even if the listing for today’s HOTD on Bergen Street didn’t include a photo with an easel and frames in it, one might still be able to guess that an artist lived there. The house has a very pleasing (in our opinion) vibe that is at once minimalist and respectful of its architectural history. (Either that, or the owner is using a great stager!) The listing is a little skimpy on photos though so it’s impossible to know if the rest of the house has the same feel. The fact that the 16-footer is located between New York and Brooklyn Avenues in the footprint of first phase of Crown Heights North landmark district makes the $850,000 asking price a little easier to digest, no?
1219 Bergen Street [Douglas Elliman] GMAP P*Shark

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The current owner of 1441 Dean Street paid just $626,000 when he bought the three-story, two-family house last June. Since then, he’s clearly done a lot of cosmetic work, polying the heck out of the floors and making the gorgeous wood paneling look its best. It’s unclear what else he did — nothing that required a DOB permit, that’s for sure. Given that the house falls outside the proposed Crown Heights North Historic District and is only three stories, the asking price of $849,000 feels a tad aggressive. We also wonder whether those floors might be a little too glossy in person. Waddya think?
1441 Dean Street [Corcoran] GMAP P*Shark

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Readers know that one of our pet peeves is the omission of addresses from real estate listings; that omission is particularly galling when a broker fails to respond to an email request for an address. You’d think the free publicity would be enough. Not one Brooklyn Heights Real Estate broker. The radio silence and the lack of interior photos make us wonder whether this “Grand Dame” across from the Brooklyn Children’s Museum in Crown Heights is not an exclusive. (That, and the fact that the broker thinks it’s located in Bedford Stuyvesant.) Regardless, this baby looks awfully charming from the outside, though the listing does disclose that it’s in need of “total” restoration. Given that fact and the square footage of 3,872, we’d say that the asking price of $1,500,000 is rather aggressive. Thoughts? Update: We know now that the address is 875 St. Marks Avenue and have been sent a few photos of the interior which are posted above and on the jump.
Grand Dame [Brooklyn Heights RE] GMAP