Real Estate Market

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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]

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NY Times, April 17, 2005 — Barbara Corcoran is one person who has been adding to her real estate portfolio despite the surging market, and in places she would not have considered a few years ago. Ms. Corcoran signed a contract this month to pay $1.075 million to buy a fully renovated three-story building at 293 Van Brunt Street in Red Hook, Brooklyn. It has two vacant apartments and an unoccupied storefront, and her colleague and broker, Beth Kenkel, is already trying to find tenants who can fill them as soon as the deal closes. The projected monthly rent roll is $5,850. Ms. Corcoran said investors can benefit from an “oversteamy” market like this one. Because there aren’t enough properties in the prime areas to go around, old neighborhoods are reinvigorated. “It drags up the fringes along with the fashionable, and that’s great for people who want to find a new opportunity,” she said.
Comment: Sound advice when the market’s going up.
Seeking Nest Eggs, Investors Buy Nests [NY Times]
When Agents Buy [NY Post]
293 Van Brunt [Brownstoner]

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This place looked cheap at first glance. Suspiciously cheap. A 4-story, 3-family limestone house in the North Slope for less than $1.5 million? Always wary of recently renovated properties, we scrutinized the photos looking for things to criticize, but it looks like a decent renovation. It’s hard to tell the exact level of architectural detail that’s intact, but, once again, it looks respectable. So what’s the catch, people? Perhaps another case of the F Train 2/3 Train running underneath the house?
Inquiring minds want to know.
North Slope 4 Story [Betancourt]

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According to today’s Daily News, the developer of the building that threatens to block views of the Statue of Librerty from historic Green-Wood Cemetary has suggested he may bow to pressure from local activists opposed to his project. “It’s definitely a possibility” that the project may be scaled down, said a sales agent working with owner Chaim Nussencweig. Considering that the height would have to be cut almost in half, from 70 feet to 38 feet, we seriously doubt he’ll end up caving. On a related note, we stumbled across the most useful photo we’ve seen yet for putting this brouhaha in perspective. Channel 7 took this shot from the cemetery looking down at the building that is slated to be demolished to make way for the controversial condo.
View Threat Shrinks [NY Daily News]
Fight Over the View [7online]