Brooklyn native and artist Katie Merz has already started to adorn the intersection of Flatbush Avenue and Schermerhorn Street with one of her distinctive black-and-white hieroglyphic-style murals, whose words and imagery are based on conversations with locals.

Merz was selected from a group of 60 applicants for the mural commission at 80 Flatbush Avenue in Downtown Brooklyn by the site’s developer, Alloy Development. She will receive a grant of $50,000 to cover materials, equipment, and other expenses related to the piece’s creation. The mural will stand for about two years until construction starts.

brooklyn art 80 flatbush avenue katie merz

Photo via Alloy Development

“It’s incredible being a part of an experience that pays homage to the evolution of Brooklyn,” said Merz in a prepared statement. “I grew up here and experienced the evolution first hand. The most amazing thing, which has always been true, is that the street talks to you. The street life here is like no other – it’s a huge conversation that keeps moving and changing. This mural is a living monument to the voices and stories that Brooklyn endlessly tells.”

The murals are going up on two existing buildings at 90 and 94 Flatbush, both of which will be demolished before Alloy starts construction. Merz is documenting the interactive project and the people who are part of it on Instagram.

Alloy is planning a massive development at the site, with nearly 900 apartments, two schools, and cultural space in Downtown Brooklyn, an area that’s already seeing tons of growth. Included in these plans is the preservation of two 19th-century buildings on the site, which will be kept through adaptive reuse.

@muralat80flatbush With Diana. #portrait80#bklynportrait#artsat80flatbush #mural80 #bklyn #katiemerz

A post shared by katie merz (@katiemerz) on

However, the proposal isn’t without controversy. Locals protested the size and height of the complex in August, NBC reported at the time, and the Boerum Hill Association has launched a petition against the complex, saying the 74-story, 925-foot-high skyscraper — if built, it will be one of the tallest in Brooklyn — doesn’t “respect the scale and design of our adjacent brownstone neighborhood” or the nearby landmarked and iconic Williamsburgh Savings Bank clock tower.

Alloy is seeking a waiver for the development, which will have to go through the public review process known as ULURP.

Map of the 80 Flatbush site. Rendering via 80 Flatbush website.

Diagram of the 80 Flatbush site. Image via Alloy Development

Dumbo-based Alloy Development is a prominent Brooklyn development firm whose projects include 1 John Street in Brooklyn Bridge Park, which now houses the Brooklyn Children’s Museum Annex, the Dumbo Townhouses on 55-57 Pearl Street, and conversions at 192 Water Street and 185 Plymouth Street.

In addition to Merz’s mural, Alloy is making further efforts to promote the arts at 80 Flatbush. The will donate 2,700 square feet of space in the complex to BRIC’s visual artist residency program, BRICworkspace, and house a program called Assembly, which attempts to get “court-involved youths” into the arts, the developer said.

brooklyn art 80 flatbush avenue katie merz

Photo via Katie Merz

Merz often uses white oil stick on black roofing paper, she told Brownstoner in March. It started when she was a farm residency in Nebraska where conventional art materials were scarce. “It’s low budget — all I need is my mind and $30 to change a site,” she said.

Merz’s many Brooklyn installations include one at 173 St. James Place in Clinton Hill, the exterior of the Ice Cream Factory apartments at 347 Berry Street in Williamsburg, and the inside of a parking enclosure at 67 Dean Street in Boerum Hill.

At 173 St. James place bklyn between Gates and Fulton #protest #roofing paper#street #diy #bkstreetart #katiemerz. To be real

Merz also participated in this year’s Fort Greene and Clinton Hill Artwalk.

It’s not unusual for Brooklyn developers to commission murals and other artwork at development sites. For example, Barrett Design and Development commissioned a temporary mural for the construction fence and a permanent installation by artist Tom Fruin for Broken Angel in 2014. The same year, Domino developer Two Trees and Creative Time exhibited artist Kara Walker’s notable temporary site-specific installation “A Subtlety, or the Marvelous Sugar Baby,” at the landmarked Domino Sugar Factory.

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This one-bedroom Fort Greene co-op is attractive and has ample space, a renovated kitchen and a private entrance with a front garden. It’s on the first floor of the Griffin, a 1931 building with 204 units, at 101 Lafayette Avenue.

To get the biggest negative out of the way: nobody’s going to call it light-flooded. The only sources of sunlight are a sliver of a kitchen window and a glassed door and window in the bedroom. Consider that said glassed door faces the street and that one might well want to cover it for privacy and the picture gets darker still.

That aside, it’s a nice looking unit, with beamed ceilings, original moldings and new wood floors.

The bedroom is good sized, and separated from the living room by frosted-glass sliding doors. It lacks a closet, but there are large ones in the living room and foyer, which also sports a wall of built-in bookshelves.


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The kitchen’s a nice one, with beige shaker-style cabinetry, black granite countertops, a tile backsplash and stainless steel appliances, including a dishwasher and microwave.

The building has no board interview and a “liberal sublet policy,” which potentially means one could buy it as an investment. There’s a 24-hour doorman, a live-in super, laundry room, and storage units available. The Barclays Center, BAM and Atlantic Terminal are a short walk.

Listed by Rory Bolger and Beth Readlinger of Citi Habitats, the unit’s asking $699,000; maintenance is $837 a month. Like it?

[Listing: 101 Lafayette Street #1H | Broker: Citi Habitats] GMAP

Brooklyn Apartments for Sale in Fort Greene at 101 Lafayette Avenue

Brooklyn Apartments for Sale in Fort Greene at 101 Lafayette Avenue

Brooklyn Apartments for Sale in Fort Greene at 101 Lafayette Avenue

Brooklyn Apartments for Sale in Fort Greene at 101 Lafayette Avenue

Brooklyn Apartments for Sale in Fort Greene at 101 Lafayette Avenue

Brooklyn Apartments for Sale in Fort Greene at 101 Lafayette Avenue

Brooklyn Apartments for Sale in Fort Greene at 101 Lafayette Avenue

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Have you RSVP’d yet for Brownstoner Open Houses? The networking event happens Wednesday, September 13.

A group of designers and makers will talk about what Brooklyn stands for and where it’s going. Guests can tour the Sky House South unit and a staged penthouse unit at 338 Berry in Williamsburg, where the soirée will take place.

Panelists include interior designer Fanny Abbes, JAM Architecture cofounder Joe McGuier, furniture designer Robert Sukrachand, and founder of creative agency The Future Forward Nick Hoag. James Davison, co-managing partner of real estate design and development company The New Project Group, will moderate. The evening’s sponsors are 338 Berry and the Barak | Blackburn Team at Compass.

A living room at 338 Berry

A living room at 338 Berry

The event, which will include drinks and appetizers, is the third in the free Brooklyn real estate networking series, Brownstoner Open Houses.

The gathering will take place Wednesday, September 13 from 6 to 8 p.m. at 338 Berry Street in Williamsburg. The panel runs from 6:30 to 7 p.m.

To RSVP now, click here. To learn about hosting/sponsorship opportunities for Brownstoner Open Houses, get in touch here.

An affordable housing lottery has launched for 107 affordable housing units in one of the buildings in Prospect Plaza, a massive affordable housing complex in Ocean Hill, starting at $558 a month. The lottery will take place for units in the building located at 428 Saratoga Avenue.

The 107 units in the lottery are broken into to three brackets of area median income — 40, 50, and 60 percent. There’s six apartments in the 40 percent AMI bracket and 13 in the 50 percent AMI bracket. The remaining 88 are in the 60 percent AMI bracket.

The details get a little complex, but eligible incomes range from $21,600 for households of one to $66,420 for six people. Check out details of the income requirements and household sizes for eligible lottery applicants below.

The city notice promises “exquisitely finished kitchen and bathrooms” — probably the first time an affordable housing lottery has mentioned aesthetics.

Features in the building include security cameras, a video intercom system, live-in super, coin-operated laundry, energy efficient appliances and fixtures, a community room, an outdoor recreation area, and parking (for an extra fee).

The address, also known as 1845 Sterling Place and the Saratoga Site, will stand five stories and house 123 apartments. It will have a parking garage, a ground-floor grocery store, and a two-story community center topped with a greenhouse on the roof.

As of August, the building had not quite topped out and work had not yet begun on the community center.

Photo by Susan De Vries

The complex under construction in August. Photo by Susan De Vries

Prospect Plaza is being developed by NYC Housing Authority (NYCHA) and Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), alongside Pennrose Properties, Blue Sea Development, Duvernay + Brooks, and Rosenberg Housing Group. The architect is Dattner Architects, which has designed many 100 percent and 80/20 affordable housing complexes in Brooklyn, including Fort Greene’s Caesura and East Flatbush’s Camba Gardens Phase II.

The mostly low-rise development replaces troubled NYCHA apartment blocks. The old Prospect Plaza complex was emptied in 2000 — 17 years ago — with the promise that families could move back in after renovations, but the renovations never happened, the complex was eventually demolished, and families never got a chance to return to their homes.

An affordable housing lottery for another building in the complex, 1760 Prospect Place, launched in 2016.

The lottery is open through October 30. You can get more info and apply at NYC Housing Connect. For more on affordable housing, check out our Brownstoner guide.

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A tenant is considering building a deck in the backyard of their rental, and is looking for advice. Assuming the landlord is on board with the project, what should the tenant know before proceeding? If the deck is floating just a few inches above the ground, would a permit be required? How can rats be deterred from taking up residence underneath the deck?

Please chime in with your advice.


Need a professional opinion? Try Brownstoner Services, where you can talk to a concierge (it’s free) or browse our community of pros. >>


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Ideal for an artist, investor or owner-occupant, this prewar brick building with two apartments over a commercial space offers a variety of options for both living and earning. It’s located at 65 Waverly Avenue in the Wallabout section of Clinton Hill, with a ground floor that could serve as studio, retail or office space.

The corner building has three exposures for lots of light, a roof deck, tin ceilings, and separate entrances for each unit.

This open, loft-style space on the first floor features a studio or work space in the front, with a hallway that leads to a long open kitchen and dining area in the back. It has high ceilings, hardwood floors, and a large tiled bathroom.

The second and third floors are occupant-ready apartments. Both apartments have hardwood floors, high ceilings and moldings.

The second floor unit is the larger of the two. It has 1.5 bedrooms facing the front of the building, with a spacious eat-in kitchen with a window.

What sets this floor-through apart is the sizable 11-by-23-foot roof deck at its rear, set up for outdoor entertaining and barbecuing.

The interior on the top floor mirrors the one below. It has a well lit, windowed kitchen and tin ceilings. It also has 1.5 bedrooms and two closets.

Mechanicals, including a gas furnace, roof and windows are in condition.

Nearby are the G train, Washington Hall Park, Fort Greene Park, City Island Seafood and the Candy Factory art gallery.

Listed by Jerry Minsky of Douglas Elliman, the property is asking $1.995 million.

[Listing: 65 Waverly Ave | Broker: Douglas Elliman] GMAP

Building for sale in Brooklyn 65 Waverly Ave Clinton Hill

Building for sale in Brooklyn 65 Waverly Ave Clinton Hill

Building for sale in Brooklyn 65 Waverly Ave Clinton Hill

Building for sale in Brooklyn 65 Waverly Ave Clinton Hill

Brooklyn-buildings-for-sale-Clinton-Hill-65-Waverly-Ave-FP

This Bed Stuy brownstone needs work and may come with other issues as well, but its original details are intact and awaiting someone ready to take on a restoration project. It’s at 596 MacDonough Street, between Ralph and Howard avenues.

To get right to the “other issues” — it’s a four story with three units, a lower duplex and two upper floor-throughs, and the listing allows that one “may not be delivered vacant.” So that’s a major question mark. (Interested buyers are invited to contact the brokers — Christine Toes Muldoon and Nancy Robbins of Compass — for details.)

There are plenty of blanks to fill in as far as the overall condition as well. The photos show a garden floor that’s in need of some attention, a single shot from another unit that looks to have been renovated, with a new floor, and then a few close up shots of details from the parlor floor, which is otherwise not shown.


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Details include fireplace mantels, mirrors (all painted white), pocket doors, tin ceilings, waincoting, built-in cabinetry, moldings and front-hallway fretwork. The backyard is also pictured; it has not seen the loving touch of a gardener in some time.

On the plus side, the yard is extra spacious, as the lot is 127 feet deep. (The house itself, 18.75 by 45 feet.)

So if it’s a turnkey you’re after this is definitely not your place, but for those willing to get their hands dirty there’s potential here. The ask: $1.75 million. What do you think?

[Listing: 596 MacDonough Street | Broker: Compass] GMAP

Brooklyn Homes for Sale in Bed Stuy at 596 MacDonough Street

Brooklyn Homes for Sale in Bed Stuy at 596 MacDonough Street

Brooklyn Homes for Sale in Bed Stuy at 596 MacDonough Street

Brooklyn Homes for Sale in Bed Stuy at 596 MacDonough Street

Brooklyn Homes for Sale in Bed Stuy at 596 MacDonough Street

Brooklyn Homes for Sale in Bed Stuy at 596 MacDonough Street

Brooklyn Homes for Sale in Bed Stuy at 596 MacDonough Street

Brooklyn Homes for Sale in Bed Stuy at 596 MacDonough Street

Brooklyn Homes for Sale in Bed Stuy at 596 MacDonough Street

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