This might only be a project for a brave or experienced rehabber as the once lush interior details of this 1880s Bed Stuy row house are in serious need of restoration. Any buyer interested in 680 Greene Avenue will also need to be able to make an all cash deal or have a construction mortgage at the ready, according to the listing.
Despite the crumbling plaster and coverings over the floorboards, there’s plenty of detail to be found on the interior, and the exterior offers a fair bit of charm also in need of some attention. The brick Queen Anne-style house is one of a pair constructed by prolific builder Paul C. Grening. The circa 1940 tax photo shows the pair in their original glory, with a shared columned portico topped with cresting, a faux mansard roof and matching towers with more cresting. While the portico is gone, No. 680 still retains its tower and there’s a bit of cresting still to be found on the faux mansard roof.
Records show the houses were completed by March of 1885 and an ad for one of them describes it as “elegantly finished” and “with extra improvements.” The architect responsible for the design hasn’t been uncovered although records show that Grening frequently worked with the prolific Amzi Hill.
Some of the elegant finishes are still visible on the interior, including seven mantels — some of them elaborately carved and with overmantel mirrors — wainscoting, painted woodwork, encaustic tile at the entry and Lincrusta wallpaper. The listing notes the house is a legal two-family but the floor plan shows it’s set up as a five-family, with two apartments with a shared bath on the top floor and one unit per floor in the rest of the house. Only one kitchen is pictured, and it has bashed-up cabinets and no appliances; presumably the rest are in similar shape. (City records reveal the house was an SRO with nine units in the 1960s, but a 1971 certificate of occupancy shows the house is a legal two-family.)
The property appears to have last changed hands in 2019 for $450,000 and, before that, for $500,000 in 2014. It’s now listed for $1.45 million with Massada Home Sales. Worth the ask?
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