Real Estate Market


We’d been admiring these beautiful old shells on Classon between Gates and Greene for a while when we finally decided to call the number on the billboard. We already had heard through the grapevine that the two buildings on the right had been bought by a developer and were destined to be luxury condos. But wouldn’t it be fun to renovate the one on the left, we thought to ourselves. It’s about 4,000-square-feet so, given the condition, we were expecting an asking price of about $600,000. So imagine our surprise when the seller tells us he wants $1.15 million. $1.1.5 million! When we laugh in his face he lets us know that he already has an offer of $950,000 and that, between us, he’d probably be willing to part with it for $1 million or so. We bet he would.


Back in April we posted some thoughts on this townhouse development which is known as Atlantic Commons and was done by none other than Forest City Ratner a decade ago. Our take then was the same it is now: These are a decent attempt to build townhouses that respect their Fort Greene location, especially since we’re sure they were done with an eye on the bottom line. That, however, doesn’t justify pricing them on a par with brownstones that are a hundred years older and on tree-lined streets closer to the park. The fact is that this particular house, while possessing a generous yard due to its corner location, is still on Fulton Street and still only three stories. As a result, we think that $1.5 million is way too much. (These houses sold for $225,000 new back in 1994 and, according to a reader, were up to about $395,000 in 1996.) Other commenters in our original post noted the small rooms, thin walls, low ceilings and lack of stoop as negatives. We’ll be surprised if it fetches any more than about $1.1-1.2 million. Do you agree?
730 Fulton Street [NYT Listings] GMAP
Decent Townhouse Reproductions? [Brownstoner]


500 Grand Avenue
2-bedroom, 1-bath, 900-sq.-ft. condo in a postwar building; windowed kitchen, home office, high ceilings, whirlpool bath, 3 exposures; common charge $310; taxes $200 (abated); listed at $419,000, 3 weeks on market (broker: Aguayo & Huebener)

PARK SLOPE $1.85 million
138 Park Place
2-family, 125-year-old brownstone; 5 bedrooms, 2 baths in primary unit; 1-bedroom, 1 bath in other unit; high ceilings; rear deck; 20-by-100-ft. lot; taxes $4,284; listed at $1.9 million, 8 weeks on market (broker: Brooklyn Properties of 7th Avenue)

175 Prospect Park Southwest
1-bedroom, 1-bath, 650-sq.-ft. co-op in a prewar walk-up; renovated kitchen and bath; maintenance $587, 44% tax deductible; listed at $325,000 (multiple bids), 2 weeks on market (broker: Townsley & Gay)

Residential Sales [NY Times]


This $575,000 listing is the most interesting house we’ve seen in the low-priced category in a while. Unlike most places in this price range, this 2-family brownstone is on a pretty street in historic Stuyvesant Heights. The configuration is duplex-over-simplex, but the price tag may be low enough for some to be able to avoid having a rental. One question: We can’t tell from the photo whether the different material on the facade of the parlor floor is original or the result of a renovation. What do people think?
786 Hancock Street [Corcoran] GMAP


Has anyone else noticed that Halstead seems to be getting some traction in the Brooklyn townhouse market recently? How cool is the facade of this Crown Heights mini-castle? The detailing on the fourth-floor porch balcony and railing (photo on the jump) is incredible. The 2-family house is on the skinny side at 17 feet and there are no interior photos, so it could be a complete disaster for all we know. We really hope the interior detail has not been destroyed as this is one of the most interesting houses architecturally we have seen on the market in a while. As for the price of $835,000, it’s impossible to comment on without some knowledge of what lies within. It should be worth the visit for the architecture alone, though.
1199 Bergen Street [Halstead] GMAP


We try not to get too political around here, but our subject matter does end up being inextricably intertwined with local politics. So it was with interest that we attended an event hosted in Clinton Hill last night to introduce one of the three candidates for Public Advocate, Andrew Rasiej. The foundation of Rasiej’s platform, and for much of his business and public service success over the past decade, is technology. After a successful stint as the founder of Irving Plaza and the web site eMusicLive, Rasiej founded the non-profit MOUSE (Making Opportunities for Upgrading Schools and Education) which is currently supporting 89,000 students and 6,000 teachers/administrators in 100 schools while saving the city over $1.2 million per year. His call for citywide wireless internet access is part of a larger emphasis on ensuring greater transparency in the local political process. (Bloomberg’s strong-arming of the Ratner proposal had Rasiej particularly miffed.) He also sees technology as key to addressing many issues of public safety, which we couldn’t agree with more. Anyway, we thought he was an extremely impressive, no-b.s. guy who is much more likely to make the office of Public Advocate a meaningful position in New York City government. After all, how many of you can name one thing Betsy Gotbaum has done for you lately?
The Story [Advocates for Rasiej]


This 4-story brownstone on Adelphi Street just hit the market under the stewardship of Sandra Shepard at Halstead. The house is attractive and certainly has some original details but it falls short of the original perfection that we think is needed to justify a $2 million price tag in Fort Greene these days. And while some of the renovation choices aren’t quite our taste, the house has clearly been redone and lived in by someone who cared about it. Plus, the duplex-over-duplex configuration could help some lucky buyer swing the mortgage payments. We haven’t been inside, but our sense is that this is a $1.8-1.85 million house so it’s priced about right. Have any of you seen it?
Adelphi Street [Halstead]


Sorry for the lack of geographic diversity this week, but didn’t find much of interest in other hoods…

Clinton Hill
239 Washington Avenue
William B. May
Sunday 1-3pm

Clinton Hill
25 Cambridge Place
Sunday 1-3pm

Fort Greene
281 Cumberland Street
By Owner
Sunday 10am-12pm

Bedford Stuyvesant
607 Quincy Street
Park Terrace Properties
Sunday 1-2pm


If you’ve got nothing better to do tonight, you can stop by the open house at 447 Pacific Street in Boerum Hill from 6 to 7:30. There’s not much in the way of pictures to go on, so we can’t do much more than parrot the listing: Traditional lower duplex with grape leaf moldings, pocket doors, and marble mantles, all in a two bedroom unit with an open kitchen, washer & dryer, and private land-scaped garden topped by a more modern upper duplex with cathedral ceilinged living room, newly redone kitchen, a large skylight, wood burning fireplace, 2 bedrooms plus a den or home office. Price? $1.7 million.
447 Pacific Street [NYT Listings] GMAP


This beautiful 4-story place in Crown Heights just came on the market yesterday and it has us salivating over some of its delicious details. The original wood detailing and paneling is very impressive; the unusual light blue detail in the bathroom tile is also pretty cool. As for the asking price, hard to say. Judging from the view of the backyard, the immediate neighborhood has not exactly been taken over by gentrification just yet! But that’s why it’s $950,000 and not $2 million on the other side of the park. Our only serious concern is the fact that it’s an SRO. On the positive side, it’s vacant, so there are no ugly evictions to go through; on the negative side, there is a several-month process to go through with HPD to change the C of O. If the current owner has kept a decent paper trail on the former SRO tenants, that will make things much easier. Also, being willing to tackle unpleasant tasks like this is often a way to create value. It certainly enabled us to pick up our place at a discount.
Sterling Place [Ettelson RE]