Real Estate Market

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This comparison is somewhat limited by the fact that neither listing provides interior photos (a sign, perhaps, of pilfered listings?) but we couldn’t resist posting because these two houses have the same broker (Bond New York who just started spending a lot of money on NY Times classifieds, it appears), are roughly the same size and are located just a block away from each other on Classon Avenue, generally considered the border between Clinton Hill and Bed Stuy. Going purely on architecture and price, we think the yellow brownstone house wins hands down. The facade is much more beautiful in our opinion, with lovely lintels and a much grander entrance. Plus, it’s $126,000 cheaper! The red brick house, by contrast, has almost no architectural detail and is marred by an ugly fire escape and ugly, non-historic window guards and metal door, none of which augurs well for what lies insider, we imagine. In addition, the yellow house is already better configured for an owner occupant with a duplex in place, as opposed to the red house that’s a four-family. We think the yellow house was on the market a few months ago, but cannot recall any specifics. Jog our memory?
Classon and Irving – Red [Bond New York]
Classon and Greene – Yellow [Bond New York]

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We’re curious to know what people think about this brick for-sale-by-owner (though this owner has a real estate license) on 15th Street between 4th and 5th Avenues. There was open house last weekend (and another one coming up) so hopefully some of you have been inside. At the $1.4 million asking price, this 1880 Federal home comes in at around $400 a foot. Cheap for Upper Slope, not for Lower Slope (and this is somewhere in the middle, right?). Either way, it looks to us like there might be a development play here: It’s a wide lot (25′ x 100′) and the FAR is 2.43 which implies there a total of more than 6,000 square feet allowed as-of-right. The existing structure is only 3,600 square feet. If you back out even $100 a square foot for the remaining buildable, this starts to look pretty attractive, no?
188 15th Street [House on 15th Street.com]

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We’re far from being experts on the Brooklyn Heights market, but it tends to catch our eye when a solid looking property in the nabe hits the market under $3 million. While not over the top, the interior looks very nice in an old-school way, certainly move-in condition we’d think. You can take the edge off that mortgage with the garden rental which should net you, what, $2,200 in this part of town? Kitchen’s new too. We’re thinking there must be a catch here. Is this block considered fringe Heights or still prime? Are we missing something?
Joralemon Townhouse [Corcoran]
39 Joralemon [Douglas Elliman]

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Hot off the press at Curbed: David Walentas’ latest product in Dumbo–the lofts at 70 Washington–are flying off the shelf, despite the fact that many of the apartments’ views could be obstructed if an adjacent empty lot is developed. Straight from the Curbed tipster’s mouth:

David Walentas and Company started selling 70 Washington St on Friday and out of 257 apts, 140 sold in 3 days! The cheapest apartment in the building is a $485k one-bedroom. Also, after 70 Washington released their pricing, a penthouse apartment in the Sweeney Building across the street raised their price from $3.5 mil to $4 mil. DUMBO real estate is crazy.

Geez, Luiz!
Frenzy at Dumbo’s 70 Washington Lofts [Curbed]

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This is admittedly way off topic and we won’t even pretend to have a clue about this market (no second homes for us–we’re all tapped out), but given that the weekend will soon be upon us and this property is tangentially related to Brownstone Brooklyn (the seller needs the proceeds to help finance the purchase of a Fort Greene brownstone) we decided to go with it. Located 90 miles upstate from Brooklyn, the 1860’s farm house sits on 100 acres of land and has views of the Shawangunk (huh?) mountain range. The 1800-square-foot house has been recently renovated; the property has lots of trails and stone walls too.
Phillipsport Farmhouse [Prudential Rand]

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This is a real head scratcher. Corcoran has had 116 Willoughby (left photo) listed at $1.325 million for a few weeks. It’s a well-renovated (albeit narrow at 17 feet) limestone with a ton of nice original details. No accepted offers yet as far as we know, but the price seems doable in this market. So then this week, Corcoran gets the listing for the house next door–118 Willoughby (right photo). Similar in all regards, as far as we can tell, except for the asking price which is a whopping $1.595 million! Now maybe there’s an explanation here, but it’s hard to see how even marginal advantages would explain the $270,000 price difference. Decide for yourself: You can get a peek at the more expensive of the pair at the open house on Sunday from 1:30 to 3:30. If we were the owners or the brokers of the cheaper one, we’d open our doors simultaneously to create some competitive side-by-side shopping.
116 Willoughby [Corcoran]
118 Willoughby [Corcoran]

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Today two similarly priced houses in Park Slope go into head-to-head competition and you’re the judge. What do you think is the better deal? Corcoran’s 3-story “dream” brownstone on “one of the Slope’s prettiest streets” for $1,750,000 or Warren Lewis’ listing for a 4-story, 3-family “North Slope Gem” for $1,850,000? We know what we think, but we’ll wait ’til later to weigh in.
2nd Street Dream [Corcoran]
North Slope Gem [Warren Lewis]

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Given that this is a Clinton Hill property and we can already hear the naysayers grumbling about us pumping up the value of our own house (too tired today, man, this newborn baby stuff is hard work!), we’re going to steer clear of opining on the $1,189,000 list price of this 2-family federal-style brick today. The house is move-in ready and definitely has some nice historic details like pine plank floors and marble fireplaces. Plus, there’s an open, modern kitchen. On the downside, there’s a little too much exposed brick for our taste and we can’t see any crown moldings in any of the photos. Overall, the scale of the house feels on the smaller side for the neighborhood, a feeling that is supported by what appears to be a shallow, albeit quite tastefully done, garden/patio area, but none of that takes away from the fact that this seems like it would be a very nice place to live.
Clinton Hill Gem [Aguayo & Huebener]

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Photo by Frank Lynch
A partnership partially controlled by Magic Johnson closed on the purchase of the the landmark Williamsburg Savings Bank building in downtown Brooklyn on Monday. The price? $71 million or $200 a foot. The group plans to convert the 78-year-old structure into a $165-million luxury condominium project, one of the largest condo conversions the borough has seen so far this year. The conversion–slated for summer 2006 completion–will result in 216 apartments, ranging in size from studios to three-bedroom units; in addition, the property will have 33,000 sf of ground-floor retail. No pricing info yet, but Corcoran Group is the marketing agent so get ready for some first-class hype. The architect, H. Thomas O’Hara, reportedly has been instructed to maintain the landmark property’s exterior facade, interior bank vaults as well as its famous clock tower. Do we hear $1,000 $1,200 a foot?
Bank Tower to Become $165 Condo Project [Globe St via Curbed]
High Hoops for Brooklyn [NY Post]
Bank on Condos [NY Daily News]