Real Estate Market

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Not sure how we missed this one…
NY Times, April 3, 2005 — The husband-and-wife novelists Jonathan Safran Foer and Nicole Krauss have put their house up for sale in Park Slope, Brooklyn, and are in the process of buying an even bigger home on a triple lot on the same block, according to a person with direct knowledge of the deal. Their new house had an asking price of $6.75 million, but the person would not say how much the couple had agreed to pay. Mr. Foer, 28, and Ms. Krauss, 30, bought their current house, less than a block from Prospect Park, in 2003, for $1.86 million, according to city records. Last month they listed it for sale for $3.25 million with the broker Minette Stokes, a senior vice president at the Corcoran Group. Ms. Stokes declined to comment. The three-story limestone home is described on the Corcoran Web site as having a center staircase, high ceilings and bay windows. The house they are buying is even more grand. It is 20 feet across and 95 feet deep with some 7,000 square feet of space, two terraces, stained-glass windows and a conservatory. The adjoining garden takes up two full lots that extend all the way through the block to the next street.
More Books, More Room [NY Times]
646 2nd Street [Douglas Elliman]
Adventures in Power Potties [Gawker]

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Here’s another place east of Prospect Park for under $1 million. Located on Argyle Road in West Midwood, this is pushing the boundaries of how far out we’d consider living, but you do get such surburban amenities as a front lawn and a 2-car garage. This particular freestanding Victorian also has a lot of original exposed oak wodwork, original parquet floors and some stained glass windows. (For some reason, we’re not loving stained glass these days. A little too precious maybe? Dunno.) Real estate taxes look a little higher than for much of brownstone Brooklyn too. Not sure about the nearest subway service or other infrastructure either. You can find out for yourself whether this place is worth the $925,000 asking price at the open house on Sunday from 1-3pm.
766 Argyle Road [Mary Kay Gallagher]

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This week Brooklyn Papers expresses surprise that the $1,000 per square foot barrier in Brooklyn was broken in, of all places, Fort Greene. Under the watchful eye of local dynamo Jerry Minsky, 22 out of 27 units at the Greene House condos have sold, with the three penthouses going for more than $1.2 million apiece. Located at Carlton and Greene, the 11-story building is just outside the Fort Greene Historic District, so residents don’t have to worry about other equally out-of-place constructions blocking their views of brownstone neighbors. We don’t have any particular beef with the project, not having been inside, but frankly we just don’t understand paying double the per square foot price of brownstone space for characterless apartments. Sure, we understand that the convenience of condo living is preferable to many, but for $1,000 a foot? Nah.
$1G a Square Foot in Fort Greene [Brooklyn Papers]

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Barbara Corcoran’s recently publicized purchase of 293 Van Brunt Street in Red Hook is apparently already going to the local real estate market’s head. Take, for example, yesterday’s listing of a dinky three-story (if you can even count the subterranean bottom floor) brick on Pioneer between Van Brunt and Richards, only a block from Babs’s new pad. The seller is asking $1,150,000 which we think is completely nuts, especially since the recently-reno’d interior is nothing to get excited about. This place shouldn’t even be over $1 million in our opinion. Are we just being curmudgeons or are we on the mark here?
Pioneer Street [Corcoran]
Babs Stepping Up in Red Hook [Brownstoner]

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These days, anything under a million bucks that’s in a decent area really jumps off the screen at us. So it was with this 2-family brick in Kensington Windsor Terrace listed recently by Brooklyn Properties. When we start crunching the numbers on it, it didn’t look like such a bargain: Less than 2,000 square feet for $949,000. The flip side of the house’s diminutive nature, we guess, is that the backyard must be pretty big given the 100-foot lot. And the 2-over-1 layout may make this an affordable option for a couple who would otherwise be being a $600,000 2-bedroom, but would be pretty tight for raising a family. The interior looks like it’s in fine shape, but lacks the kind of historic details that usually get us excited. Basically, the exterior photgraphs well, the neighborhood is safe and the price is in the six figures. Waddya want in this market?
Darling 2-Family [Brooklyn Properties]

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We give Corcoran a lot of crap, but the thing is, they are pretty much kicking ass. We can grouse all we want about aggressive sales tactics and overpricing, but they have by far the best inventory in brownstone Brooklyn. Take, for example, this 22-foot wide 2-family on Carroll Street in Crown Heights for $825,000. If we were buying today (as opposed to a year ago) this would probably be the kind of place we would be targeting. Priced out of Clinton Hill and Fort Greene, we would opt for the architectural gloriousness of Crown Heights and Lefferts Manor over such comparably price spots as Red Hook and Kensington. Granted safety and services are certainly a near-term (and quite possibly a long-term) issue, but, man, these houses are beautiful. This one’s still got the original parquet floors as well as mahogony wainscotting, stair rails and moldings. We’d be interested to know more about the block and surrounding properties, but bet this place will move pretty quickly.
Crown Heights Jewel [Corcoran]

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Daily Heights brought the latest Scarano Architects creation to our attention on Friday. Looks like more of the same to us. Located in Prospect Heights between Classon and Grand, this design does not come as a surprise and is not likely to win over any of the anti-Scarano camp. We’d be interested in hearing what the immediate block is like. It looks okay but not great from the renderings on the website. Are there any architecturally notable buildings on that street? Anyone know anything about completion dates? Pricing?
New and Ultra-Modern [Daily Heights]
Homepage [Scarano Architects]

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Turns out that the Red Hook house that Barbara Corcoran made famous was owned by another master of self promotion, Alan Corey (along with partner Carver Farrell). Corey, as you may remember, is the part-time actor part-time real estate impressario who was written up last December in The Post for having made the Doctor Evil-like sum of $1 million investing in real estate; for fifteen minutes he was also Curbed‘s “Favorite NYC Real Estate Personality.” We’d guess he added a bit to his war chest with this sale to Babs: The building had been on the market for $1.1 million since the beginning of the year before Corcoran locked it in recently for $1,070,000. What’s next for Corey? According to his website, another development project.
Babs Stepping Up in Red Hook [Brownstoner]
Brooklyn Investment Guru [Curbed]
Tips from a Millionaire [NY Post]
Tips from a Millionaire [AlanCorey.com]

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We’re going a little further afield today and exposing a gaping hole in our neighborhood knowledge. Sunset Park, an ethnically diverse community of about 150,000 bordered by Bay Ridge in the South, Park Slope on the North and Borough Park on the East, is a market we are not too familiar with. As a result, we’re going to have to rely on our readership to evaluate this 3-family brownstone that comes with a professional office space and an above ground pool. The exterior looks nice, but, alas, the interior appears to be completely devoid of character and details. Is the asking price of $739,000 sound about right for this place? Is there a decent supply of larger 4-story brownstones in the neighborhood? If so, what do they tend to sell for? How strong have the gentrificantion forces been? Appreciate any input.
Sunset Park 3 Story [Post Properties]

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The story of the writer/historian buying and rehabbing a 152-year old house in Clinton Hill certainly hit close to home for us. We can only fantasize at this point about how he felt when the entire ordeal was finished. Even though we are hopefully only four to five months away from completion ourselves, it feels like forever. The riskiest part of his entire deal, in our opinion, was buying a place that had tenants in place. We think he was quite lucky to have been able to get them all out. Having been through the latter half of the process of converting an SRO, we know first hand of the numerous pitfalls–and the extent to which the City stacks the odds against you. We couldn’t tell whether the renters in this particular house were protected by rent control or SRO status. Hats off the Nathaniel though. Sounds like he ended up with a great place.
Row House’s Four-Story Renovation [NY Times]