Real Estate Market


Today our anonymous embedded columnist delivers the second installment in his (or is it her?) now-monthly report on the state of commercial real estate in Brooklyn…Downtown Brooklyn & DUMBO office leasing is heading south. A veteran Downtown landlord broker privately bemoans slower business. Asking prices at 16 Court were cut 10% in April and the building made a $36 deal for a prime space. Three very good 5,000-RSF (rentable-square-foot) spaces are sitting on the market 32 Court, 177 Livingston and 31 Washington Street. Two Trees lost a $23 deal on a primo corner space facing the Bridges at 20 Jay, # 820 (above). Morgan Stanley is putting 225,000 square feet of their space at One Pierrepont Plaza on the sublease market and everyone is waiting for the other shoe to drop Bear Stearns’ 290,000 square feet at One MetroTech. Although CUNY has a 200,000-square-foot office lease working, and another huge government tenant is also negotiating space, the market is not at all where our experts thought it would be this summer. If the worst-case scenario finance job predictions now being made come true, will there be any financial services tenants left in Downtown Brooklyn?

At least the small tenant market is still vibrant. And tiny tenants are the rage shared office space desk rental facilities are popping up in DUMBO, Downtown Brooklyn and Gowanus. Designed funky Brooklyn style, they charge $300 to $500 for a cube or an open desk, serving the one-person company wanting out of their home offices. May these budding tenants grow to take real space soon!

Feed me Brooklyn’s densest concentration of food is the Downtown Brooklyn area. Morton’s Steakhouse is now under construction for a fall opening. With the laid back Californiapaced Trader Joe’s now moving ahead well, we must ask when the heck will Amy Ruth’s fire up?

Trend to fancy fills the area’s boogie gap. Clover Club, Kai Sushi, Morton’s, Jake’s Walk, and finally a nice Chinese sit-down (Szechuan, on Smith). Why eat trout when you can have oysters and champagne.

Atlantic Avenue noise – all this talk about the new apartment building next to Trader Joe’s begs the question which elected official said he’d support one more story on the building and then changed his mind at the last minute?
Commercial Klutch: Downtown & Dumbo Edition [Brownstoner]


All about the Slope this week.

1. PARK SLOPE $2,855,000
590 2nd Street GMAP (left)
House originally listed for $3,200,000 late last year and then reduced to $2,995,000 this spring. Two-family, four-story brownstone. Deed recorded 7/02.

2. BROOKLYN HEIGHTS $2,792,500
69 Joralemon Street GMAP (right)
Can’t find a listings trail for this one. Property Shark has it as a 3,040-sf two-family. Deed recorded 7/03.

3. PARK SLOPE $2,788,000
130 Lincoln Place GMAP
Asking $2,995,000 when we had it as a House of the Day in early March. Two-family brownstone. Deed recorded 6/30.

4. PARK SLOPE $2,400,000
3,240-sf, 1-fam townhouse. Listing MIA. Deed recorded 7/03.

5. PARK SLOPE $1,725,000
398 Bergen Street GMAP
Asking $1,750,000 when it was an Open House Pick in February. Last sold for $1,140,000 in May 2005. Three-fam, 2,400-sf. Deed recorded 7/02.

Photo of 69 Joralemon from Property Shark.


The landmark Chase bank building on Montague and Clinton traded hands for $9,700,000, according to public records. The building was finished in 1916 and originally constructed for the Brooklyn Trust Company. Last year, Chase sold it to Brookfield Asset Management; the bank still leases 177’s ground floor. The building’s most recent owner is a Manhattan-based firm named Stahl Real Estate Company, which is reportedly building a condo on Bridge Street. No word on whether a conversion is eventually in the cards for 177 Montague, most of which is leased to the law firm Cullen and Dykman. Whatever its future, this is what the “Guide to New York City Landmarks” has to say about the building’s past:

The Brooklyn Trust Company, established in 1866, was responsible for the construction of the most beautiful building on Brooklyn’s bank row. York & Sawyer created an elegant structure modeled on Italian Renaissance designs…The building set a precedent for the firm’s largest Renaissance banks—[Manhattan’s] Central Savings Bank and the Federal Reserve Bank…The monumentally scaled space has a vaulted, coffered ceiling with enormous chandeliers, grand arched windows, and a Cosmati-work floor of intricately patterned marble mosaic.

177 Montague [Property Shark] GMAP


The CityFacts2008 section of Crain’s is full of all sorts of interesting info, like the chart above, which shows how wages stack up borough-by-borough for the five-year period that ended in 2006. Meanwhile, even though wages grew for residents of all the boroughs between 2005 and 2006, the rate of growth for Brooklyn earners, 6.2 percent, was the second-lowest in the city after the Bronx (5.1 percent) and way behind the 9.9 percent rise in Manhattan. We all need the extra dollars: The magazine’s consumer price index shows big increases in New York-area (includes the whole region) utilities, food and transportation costs over the past few years. One area showed a smaller rise in cost than most, though: Between 2006 and 2007, housing costs in the region were only up 2.6 percent, as compared to the 4 to 5 percent increases recorded in the few years prior.
CityFacts2008 [Crain’s]
Graphic from Crain’s.


Crazy asking prices don’t do anyone any good. Case in point: This three-story (four if you include the basement which has been finished to create a second duplex) woodframe house at 125/127 Cambridge Place in Clinton Hill. It’s been sitting on the market for the last 10 weeks with the silly price tag of $1,999,999; it was purchased for $950,000 in 2005. It has less than 3,000 square feet, even counting the finished basement, and the recent renovation is clearly not considered worthy of displaying in photos on the listing. Both duplexes are currently rented, so perhaps the owner’s not really serious about selling but happy to part ways with his house if a greater fool comes along.
125 Cambridge Place [Corcoran] GMAP P*Shark


Today’s Co-op of the Day at 467 Pacific Street in Boerum Hill is a FOB listing as opposed to an FSBO listing. (For those scratching their heads, that would translate as Friend of Brownstoner as opposed to For Sale By Owner.) Because of the personal connection, we’ll recuse ourselves from making any qualitative judgements and leave that to the crowd. Here are the basic stats though: Convertible two-bedroom, 700 square feet, $636 maintenance, $459,000 asking price. Think they’ll get their price?
467 Pacific Street [Douglas Elliman] GMAP P*Shark


While this video doesn’t actually show last month’s Boerum Hill House Tour, it highlights 10 of the event’s featured locations. Fun facts abound, like: “It is thought that modern Hoyt Street followed an old Native American trail to the original Gowanus Creek, where large oysters could be found at certain times of year. They were a staple of the local diet” and “Rumors abound that monkeys were kept in cages atop the facility [at 423-443 Atlantic] for testing the effectiveness of Ex-Lax.” The Boerum Hill Association put the footage together (part 2 here and part 3 here), and the audio is from a longer podcast they produced to accompany people on the tour.


These are the priciest residential sales in Brooklyn so far this year, per public records. The Heights dominated the first six months of the year, but the record-breaking One Main condo sale and the Connelly mansion closing will mean the Slope and Dumbo are near the top of the charts by the time we bid 2008 goodbye.

1. BROOKLYN HEIGHTS $6,300,000
82 State Street GMAP (left)
Listed at $6,950,000, according to StreetEasy. 26-foot wide townhouse built circa 1850. Five stories with roof deck.

2. BROOKLYN HEIGHTS $4,500,000
42 Garden Place GMAP (right)
Four-story, two-family, 3,420-sf brownstone. StreetEasy shows the pricing history was thus: Listed for $4,950,000 in September; price reduced to $4,600,000 in December; went into contract in February. Deed recorded 4/29.

3. BROOKLYN HEIGHTS $4,400,000
152 Hicks Street GMAP
4,480-sf landmark townhouse; last sold in ’06 for $3.7 mil. Deal recorded on 2/1.

4. DUMBO $3,995,000
One Main Street, 9D GMAP
According to PropShark, this bad boy clocks in at 2,477 square feet. Deed recorded 6/5.

5. PARK SLOPE $3,600,000
536 1st Street GMAP
Originally listed at $3.2 million; 4,720-sf 1-fam. Deed recorded 2/19.

Photos from Property Shark.


This four-story, three-family limestone at 64 Lefferts Place on the southern edge of Clinton Hill has some beautiful original detail (we’re particularly taken with the plaster moldings shown in the bedroom and, in this slideshow, in the stairwell). We’re less enthusiastic about how the new(ish) kitchens look, but each to his own. The asking price for the 4,200-square-foot house is a “negotiable” $1,750,000. (Taxes are less than $2,000 a year!) How much negotiation do you think the seller will actually have to do to get this deal done?
64 Lefferts Place [Marcia Clark] GMAP P*Shark


This listing at 345 Montgomery Street in Crown Heights had us at the lobby! The idea of getting a generously-sized prewar two-bedroom for just $249,000 also has a certain appeal. A couple of downers though: One, this apartment is on the first floor; two, several units in the building have had foreclosure problems in recent years, raising into question how stable the co-op may be. As for comps, it looks like the apartment above this one sold for $195,000 a year ago. In addition, one apartment on the sixth floor sold for $375,000 in early 2007 and another on the third floor went for $370,000 in February of this year. Think this one has a shot?
345 Montgomery Street [Douglas Elliman] GMAP P*Shark