Crown Heights

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The four-story house at 915 Sterling Place is a little on the narrow side (17 feet) but makes up for it with an extra-deep lot (120 feet). The listing claims that the house is “loaded with original details” but the one interior photo included isn’t too convincing; the fact that it’s divided up into four units also doesn’t bode particularly well for the preservation of interior details, but this part of town does have some great woodwork so maybe there’s something to it. And what about the asking price of $895,000? We suspect it’ll go for a little less, especially since the seller is already being touted as “motivated.” Anyone been inside?
915 Sterling Place [Elliman] GMAP P*Shark

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North Crown Heights may be luring more affluent buyers with its gorgeous—and recently landmarked—rowhouses, but some of the newbie homeowners think the area’s shopping scene leaves a lot to be desired. According to an article in today’s Sun, as more buyers see the neighborhood as an affordable alternative to Prospect Heights, they’re also anxious to see a retail renaissance on thoroughfares like Nostrand. A Wall Street worker who recently closed on an $870,000 Hampton Place home, for example, says he’s ready to see more restaurants in the ‘hood: “If there was something to patronize, I’d willingly spend money there. I’d like to see more amenities. People have money here. Somebody has to be the pioneer and open up something. It’s just a matter of time.” Think he’s right?
Retailers So Far Fail To Follow Homebuyers to North Crown Heights [Sun]
Photo by ultraclay!.

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Calling all history buffs! After narrowly escaping destruction when LPC designated it an individual landmark in record time last October, the Civil War-era woodframe house at 1375 Dean Street is in need of some serious love. Recognized by LPC as “one of last vestiges of the suburban past in the northwestern section of Brooklyn’s Crown Heights neighborhood,” the George B. and Susan Elkins House, as it is known, is back on the market for $875,000 $799,000, a year after the stymied developer paid $800,000 for it. There aren’t enough interior photos to get a good enough feel to comment accurately on the $875,000 asking price, but we suspect this is going to have to be a labor of love not of profit anyway. The one-family wood-frame house is 40 feet wide and sits on a lot that’s 50-by-114 feet. There’s some original detail left (“The house has retained many of its historic features and characteristics, and remains a unique surviving example of a type of house that is believed to have all but vanished from northwestern Crown Heights,” according to LPC) and what a great front porch and yard combo this could be! Not only is the house an individual landmark, but it’s within the Crown Heights North Historic District boundaries, so whoever buys this place will have to work closely with the Landmarks Preservation Commission on the exterior. Maybe Adrian Grenier‘s looking for another project.
1375 Dean Street [Corcoran] GMAP P*Shark
Landmark Status for Elkins House [LPC]
Photo by Gregg Snodgrass for PropertyShark

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Something’s afoot at the corner of Franklin Avenue and Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights. The one-story commercial building that stood on the site for years is toast—but no plans have been filed yet for the building that will rise in its place. There’s one red flag out there already though: The contractor on the job is MMG construction. Remember them? Anyone know what’s going to be built here?

Update: A commenter steered us toward a rendering and description on architect Gene Kaufman’s website that sounds about right:

This new corner residential condominium building includes ground floor retail, medical offices and parking. Adjacency to a subway station and the irregular lot complicated the design and approval process. The 8-story steel-framed building contains 80,000 square feet and 61 apartments. A metal panel facade encircled by curved metal balconies gives a polished look to the first new building in the neighborhood in many years.

Is this the most upscale building that this neighborhood will have seen in recent times? GMAP P*Shark DOB

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There’s no reason for Park Slope to be running circles around Crown Heights—at least as far as the neighborhoods’ respective armories are concerned. That’s the case Councilwoman Letitia James has been making lately by saying the armory on Bedford and Atlantic, which currently houses a men’s homeless shelter, should be revamped with a youth-oriented athletic center a la the Park Slope armory’s recent renovation. James stumped for the idea when she met with Deputy Mayor Patti Harris last week and is also trying to rally broader community support for the proposal. The councilwoman envisions a track-and-field facility aimed at young adults that would further benefit the community by improving the area’s social milieu. It’s offensive to me to drive by Atlantic and Bedford and see all the panhandlers outside, she says. It’s an eyesore.
The Future of the Atlantic Armory? [Brownstoner]
Last Lap for Park Slope Armory Renovation [Brownstoner]

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We were out of town, so we’re dying to hear how the First Annual Crown Heights North House Tour went on Saturday. So far, we’ve only gotten one email from a reader who attended. Here’s what she had to say:

This was a different kind of house tour. It was not a tour to showcase the latest renovation. It, instead, featured the original details of most homes. Several of the homes were a bit run down in my opinion but others were knock-your-socks off worthy. In particular two Crown Heights sisters have the most complimentary taste. The pair, who split a home at 9 Hampton Place (one of CH’s most charming enclaves), have taken the homes original details and added some great antique pieces without feeling stuffy. On the top floor, there is a tin ceiling with a skylight and free standing counters and it is wonderful. In the apartment downstairs, the glass tile and a 1950s lime green stove are whimsical and stunning all at the same time. Lots of preserved wood work and exposed brick help unite the new and the old. Also loved 829 Lincoln Place (photo). It’s owned by a younger couple who have renovated but maintained many original details. The added a parlor floor kitchen with a great counter top made from recycled materials and have a hidden top story. It’s also extremely colorful but still tasteful. One suggestion to the planners for next year, ALLOW PHOTOGRAPHY…

Any other feedback?
House Tourers, (Re)Start Your Engines: Crown Heights Next [Brownstoner]
Photo by Krista Kujat for PropertyShark

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This two-family house on a 131-foot lot at 432 Prospect Place will likely appeal to many in the market: Nice original details, modern kitchen, landscaped backyard. One unusual twist is that the floor-through rental unit is on the top floor as opposed to the bottom, raising unaddressed questions about the need for an internal staircase in the owner’s triplex. As for the asking price of $1,725,000, were it a block or two to the west, it would be a lay-up. Not that neighborhood boundaries are the most important thing when it comes to pricing, but it’ll be interesting to see whether a house that’s technically in Crown Heights can command this kind of number.
432 Prospect Place [NY Times] GMAP P*Shark

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The late spring/early summer house tour schedule can get pretty intense. But by now you’ve had plenty of time to rest up for what’s coming down the pipe the next two weekends. On Saturday, October 6, the Crown Heights North Association is hosting its First Annual Crown Heights North House & Garden Tour. Celebrating the area’s recent designation as a Historic District, the tour will feature ten houses, two churches and one community garden. There’s a kick-off event (at which public officials are expected) from 10:30 to 12:00 at St. Gregory’s at 991 St. Johns Place; this is also where you pick up tix and start your tour. We’ve seen some of the descriptions of the houses on the tour and it sounds sweet. Here’s a taste: “the intact fretwork screens over the stained glass transom windows, the intricate detail in all of the door frames, fireplaces and columns, and the stairwell bench flanked by columns, framed with more intricate fretwork carving, all on perfect parquet floors. There’s also a house that was renovated using almost exclusively salvaged materials. Tickets are $25; the tour ends at 5 p.m. Also, we’ll have more on it next week, but, for planning purposes, the Prospect Heights House Tour takes place on Sunday, October 14.
House Tour Info & Tickets [CHN]

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Timberrrrr! The asking price of the house at 1265 President Street continues to drop precipitously. The four three-story brick-and-limestone house in Crown Heights started its journey back in May on Craigslist praying for a miracle at $1,450,000. We called it “a bit aggressive” at the time; a commenter more astutely referred to it as “fantasyland.” At some point this summer, Corcoran got the listing and tested the waters at $1,195,000. The result? Still no takers. So this week, in a sign of the times, the price was cut to $995,000. This’ll be very interesting to watch. In this environment, given that the interiors lack the original detail of many of the houses in the area, this is hardly a lay-up even at two-thirds of the original price. Thoughts?
1265 President Street [Corcoran] GMAP P*Shark
House of the Day: 1265 President Street [Brownstoner]