Crown Heights

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The developers of 384 Maple Street, a six-unit condo building in Crown Heights, were trying to flip the project back in 2006 before it had even begun. Too bad for them that they didn’t find a buyer back then. So far, the end-product has not been moving so well: After four months on the market, six units are still available and one just got a big price cut. We’re a little unclear how many units there are in all—the new building application called for 10 but the Elliman site lists only six. Prices range from $550,000 for a 1,566-square-foot three-bedroom to $799,000 for a 1,834-square-foot three-bedroom. There’s an open house on Sunday from 12 to 2.
384 Maple Street [Douglas Elliman] GMAP P*Shark
Development Opp: Karl Fischer, Off The Rack [Brownstoner]

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Here’s a new listing that probably would have been priced $100,000 or $200,000 higher a few months ago. It’s a three-story, two-family limestone at 905 Lincoln Place in Crown Heights. The block is lovely and the house has amazing wood moldings and floors; no word on the bathrooms and kitchens. Anyway, there’s something refreshingly solid about this one: Beautiful but not grandiose house priced at a level that a non-Wall Street family can afford. Think it’ll go for the asking price?
905 Lincoln Place [Corcoran] GMAP P*Shark

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A little later to the game than some other neighborhoods, Crown Heights has seen some new developments get underway recently. Last week, we took a look at the 8-unit building going up at 717 Prospect Place; this week, we stumbled upon a much larger project at 840 Bergen Street. After purchasing the one-story warehouse for $5,250,000 in 2005, the owners are in the middle of putting up a five-story, 67-unit building. The design, which isn’t far enough along to get a feel for yet, is by Manhattan-based Kutnicki Bernstein Architects. Anyone know if this has an affordable component? If not, this would have to be the biggest market-rate project in the area yet, no? Any other big Crown Heights developments underway that we should check out? GMAP P*Shark DOB

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There aren’t a ton of new buildings going up in Crown Heights, a function, we assume, of the relative lack of empty lots as compared to, say, neighboring Bed Stuy. One new effort is an eight-unit residential building at 717 Prospect Place just east of Rogers Avenue. When all’s said and done, the new development will be about 9,000 square feet across five floors. It’s too early to opine about the aesthetics but let’s just say we don’t have particularly high hopes. Maybe we’ll be surprised. GMAP DOB

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This one’s not for the faint of heart. This one-time beauty queen at 679 St. Marks Avenue in Crown Heights is ready for a gut and asking $400,000 for the privilege. This is priced at about $80 per buildable square foot. (The house is only 2,700 square feet but the 2.43 FAR allows for another 2,300 square feet to be built.) Is this a good deal? If you think you could condo it and sell the finished square feet for, say, $450 a foot, there’s gotta be some room for profit in the equation, don’t you think?
679 St. Marks Avenue [Douglas Elliman] GMAP P*Shark

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Endless Summer Arrives in Williamsburg
“They’re a couple of months later than anticipated, and they don’t yet have set hours, but bless ’em, Bad Wizard front man Curtis Brown and The Jewish front man Jeffrey Jensen have finally parked their Endless Summer taco truck on North 7th Street and Bedford.” [Grub Street]

Now Open: Henry’s Bagel & Espresso Bar
520 Henry Street, Cobble Hill
“The bagel shop on the corner of Union and Henry has been Aroma Bagel and Everything Bagel. The new owners are apparently banking on the addition of the word “espresso bar” to the spot now named Henry’s Bagel & Espresso Bar… Anybody been? I found Everything Bagel to be only so-so and I never got the vaguely southwestern decor.” [A Brooklyn Life]

Brooklyn’s Own Winery?
Alie Shaper of BOE (Brooklyn Oenology) talks to LennDevours about her plans for a Brooklyn-based winemaking business:
“Right now the business consists of sales and distribution operations in Greenpoint, and the production operation on the North Fork. I will probably next open a small tasting room in Brooklyn, along with a warehouse, after the portfolio expands. Ultimately, I want to transplant the winemaking operation, and make bona-fide Brooklyn wine. Maybe I can even convince Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz to let me grow grapes in Prospect Park!”

Now Open: Fiore
284 Grand Street, between Roebling and Havermeyer, Williamsburg
Chowhound rumor: “I just heard today that the people who run Bianca on Bleecker has opened up an outpost in Willamsburg called Fiore.”
Confirmed by Williamsboard: “We’re opening on Moday, 1/7/2008… Try it out, it just might not suck.”

After the jump: One fearless food writer finds the cheapest eats in Brooklyn, the Times talks up Salvatore Bklyn Ricotta and Fort Greene’s restaurant scene, and the L Magazine hits up Radegast Hall

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Faced with a growing frustration among Clinton Hill residents over a host of quality of life issues associated with the methadone clinic at Waverly and Fulton, Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries and Councilmember Letitia James held a sit-down recently with several officials from the state agency that oversees such operations and established a task force to try to remedy the problems. Of particular concern was the combination of loitering, peripheral drug trade and aggressive behavior of clinic visitors and their hangers-on. The high concentration of such clinics in the immediate vicinity was also discussed. (The three clinics above service roughly 1/3 of methadone patients in Brooklyn.) According to Councilmember James, the people running the Fulton clinic have been extremely unresponsive to her overtures about addressing the problems, which are impacting not only the residential character of the neighborhood but the ability to revitalize an entire stretch of retail along Fulton Street. “Assembly Member Jeffries and I are hopeful this taskforce will serve as the proper vehicle to address issues that could threaten the commercial viability and success of Fulton Street,” Councilmember James said. “If matters persist, then I will renew my call for consolidation, downsizing and/or closure.” A community-wide meeting is being planned for late January. More details to come.

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Citing some of the discussions on this blog, real estate mag The Real Deal puts the Crown Heights market in its place this month with an article entitled, “Sellers Swallowing Their Pride in Crown Heights.” While not dismissing the nabe’s merits, the basic thesis is that the market got ahead of itself and there’re are lots of homeowners with a deluded sense of what their places are worth. (Yesterday’s HOTD is further proof of that phenomenon.) Several brokers are surprisingly frank about clients who insisted on slapping ridiculous prices on their houses, only to have them languish on the market. Here’s a great anecdote:

Kevin McNeill, a senior vice president at Corcoran, is all too familiar with this phenomenon. He points to a three-story townhouse he helped put on the market for $1.2 million back in June. “It was overpriced, but her next-door neighbor had listed at $1.4 million,” says McNeill. “Hers was similar [to her neighbor’s], and when she saw $1.4 million it was hard to talk her off the ledge.” For two months the home languished. Then in August the seller agreed to drop the price by about $100,000, but still it sat. It wasn’t until McNeill convinced her to lower the price below $1 million that the house sold. “The minute we brought it to $995,000, we sold it within days,” says McNeill. “We closed at $960,000.”

The implicit conclusion of the article, which we’d agree with, seems to be that in the new, post-subprime paradigm, $1 million is a huge psychological barrier in Crown Heights, as it is for most of Bed Stuy. But as Corcoran’s McNeill says, “When people talk about price reductions in these neighborhoods, it’s not about the market, it’s about improper pricing.”
Sellers Swallowing Their Pride in Crown Heights [The Real Deal]
Photo by gkjarvis

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As careful a renovation as the owner of 1230 Dean Street did, this place had no business being listed at $1,650,000. Which is why, after six weeks, the asking price has been reduced to $1,499,000. Unfortunately, we suspect that the three-car garage and landscaped garden won’t be enough to get the deal done at this price. But don’t feel too bad for the sellers—after all, they bought the place for $427,450 back in 2004.
1230 Dean Street [Corcoran] GMAP P*Shark

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The St. Johns Heights Condominiums at St. Johns and Classon have been on the market for a few months now, and business doesn’t seem to be all that bad: Six units that were priced in the $600- to $700-a-square-foot range are in contract. Now, it seems, comes the real test of how high-end product is going to fare in northern Crown Heights. Of the seven units Corcoran is currently marketing, two are in the million-dollar zone (the 1,506-sf triplex penthouse with a private roof deck and other posh amenities like a wood-burning fireplace is priced at $1.15 mil, and the 1,127-sf three-bed, two-bath duplex is asking $999,000). The building is near the subway and Corcoran’s touting its views. Still—$1 million for a Crown Heights condo in today’s market? We’ve gotta assume these babies are going to take a while to move, and that price cuts are going to be involved. Anyone more optimistic?
St. Johns Heights [Corcoran] GMAP