Along Three Blocks of Lenox Road in Flatbush, Development Is Happening Everywhere

315, 319 and 323 Lenox Road. Photo by Craig Hubert

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Back in March 2018, the sale of two freestanding Edwardian homes in Flatbush caused a stir.

The pair of homes, located at 100 and 94 Lenox Road, sold to Besyata Investment Group for a combined $9.95 million, according to public records. New plans call for eight stories and 62 units across both lots. The apartments will be condos, according to the developer’s website.

Since then, both homes have been demolished.

The corner of Bedford Avenue and Lenox Road. Photo by Craig Hubert

This wasn’t an isolated incident. In fact, the sale is part of a larger trend in the neighborhood. Within just three blocks of Lenox Road and the surrounding streets, many of the same kind of houses — the few of them that are left — are being torn down, making room for larger apartment buildings.

Right next door, in fact, are mid-rise apartment buildings, including a new eight-story condo building designed by architect Karl Fisher that replaced three similar frame houses at 2100-2110 Bedford Avenue, which were demolished in 2015.

One block over, between Bedford and Rogers Avenue, a wood frame house at 154 Lenox Road was demolished in 2015. New building permits were filed for an eight-story residential building, but construction has yet to begin. A rendering was released in 2018.

Demolition permits were filed in August 2018 for two more properties on the same block, located at 150 and 152 Lenox Road. In January, a new building permit for an eight-story residential building was filed for 150 Lenox.

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An empty lot at 154 Lenox Road on the left and 152 and 150 Lenox to the right. Photo by Craig Hubert

Two homes, one of which is now boarded up, were sold in 2013 to a company called Launch Development. The firm purchased the home at 157 Lenox for $129,000 and another home at 161 Lenox for $425,000. In April 2018, two of the men in charge of the company pled guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, according to the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, “in connection with their scheme to fraudulently induce distressed homeowners to sell their homes for little or no consideration to a company they owned and controlled.”

In 2016, Launch Development sold the home at 161 Lenox to IDS Development for $3.45 million. IDS filed demolition permits for the property in February.

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153, 157 and 161 Lenox Road in November 2018. Photo by Susan De Vries

Another block down, between Rogers and Nostrand, there are renderings for a planned seven-story residential building that will take the place of a two-story home at 250 Lenox that was demolished sometime in 2017.

Near the end of the block is the 16-story Hello Lenox, which was completed in the fall of 2017.

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Hello Lenox at 271 Lenox Road in November 2018. Photo by Susan De Vries

The blocks between Rogers and New York Avenue in East Flatbush are seeing the most significant change. Of a stretch of five freestanding wood frame houses from 309 to 325 Lenox, one has already been demolished and is currently for sale as a development site (with approved permits for an eight-story residential building), another will soon be demolished with plans for another eight-story residential building, and two more will be demolished and the two lots combined into one to make way for a seven-story residential building.

One house, at 315 Lenox Road, is the remaining holdout. It has been in the same family since at least 1978 and will soon be flanked by a much larger building on either side.

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319 Lenox Road. Photo by Craig Hubert

The change doesn’t end there. Just down the block, two more freestanding homes, at 339 and 341 Lenox Road, are currently for sale, together, with an asking price of $5.5 million. Presumably, if purchased, it will be to tear down the houses for a future development site.

And near the end of the block, Health Science Center at Brooklyn Foundation has scooped up two homes, at 359 and 368 Lenox, and two more around the corner, at 774 and 778 New York Avenue. Demolition permits were filed for all four homes in November 2018. This could be part of an affordable housing initiative announced in November by Governor Cuomo.

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368 Lenox Road. Photo by Craig Hubert

Between the houses the organization purchased is a large, seven-story development, currently under construction, with an address of 369-371 Lenox Road — although a majority of the building hangs over New York Avenue.

369-371 Lenox Road. Photo by Craig Hubert

These blocks, to be fair, are already dominated by mid-rise apartment buildings from the 1920s and 1930s. And much larger developments on both Clarkson Avenue and Linden Boulevard, which run parallel to Lenox, hover in the distance.

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146, 144, 150 and 152 Lenox Road with 135 Linden Boulevard under construction in November 2018. Photo by Susan De Vries

But large freestanding Victorians and Edwardians on oversize lots are being torn down to make way for apartment buildings all over this part of Flatbush. The loss of these houses, in quick succession, means that a link to what the neighborhood was once like will disappear.

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Lenox Road between Flatbush and Bedford avenues in 1929. Photo via New York Public Library

One house still standing is 219 Lenox Road. It’s been in the same family since at least 1985. Below is a picture of the house in 1932.

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219 Lenox Road in 1932. Photo via New York Public Library

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Here is 219 Lenox Road today. Photo by Craig Hubert

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