Historic Clinton Avenue Villa Hits Market as Tear-Down, Wants $7.9 Million

Photo by Susan De Vries

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A historic Clinton Avenue house that has been in the same family for generations is on the market as a “prime development” site. A Brownstoner reader tipped us off to for-sale signs posted on the 1850s Italianate villa at 532 Clinton Avenue in Clinton Hill. The wood-frame house is located just outside the Clinton Hill Historic District, and therefore unprotected.

The house is listed for $9.9 million, down from a previous listing of $11.9 — and, according to one of the current owners, Yariv Bardugo, the price has dropped further to $7.9 million. The house was previously put on the market in 2009 for $3.5 million, as we noted at the time, but didn’t sell.

“There are many interesting details in the house,” Bardugo told Brownstoner. “But it needs to be renovated inside and keep the details. It’s not in live-in condition.”

clinton hill brooklyn 532 clinton avenue

The house circa 1983-1988. Photo via Municipal Archives

While the listing promotes the development possibilities, Bardugo indicated that a buyer interested in a single family home would be getting a historic property. The listing, which doesn’t include any interior photos, mentions six bedrooms and 4.5 baths spread over 3,754 square feet; it also comes with a driveway, garage and backyard, Bardugo said.

Bardugo sounded enthusiastic about the possibility that a potential buyer might want to preserve the villa, but agreed the property seems to be worth more as a development site. “That’s where the conflict is,” he said. “The land itself is the worth over here. But I’ve had some surprises in the past. Who knows what will happen? We’ll see.”

clinton hill brooklyn 532 clinton avenue

The house is indicated as a frame dwelling “lined” with brick in 1888. Map via NYPL

The site has loads of excess FAR and 20,340 buildable square feet, the listing notes. That works out to $486 a buildable square foot at the listed price, or $388 at the newly reduced price of $7.9 million.

At least three generations of a family named Warren have owned the house, with online records showing ownership going back at least to 1982. (The family initial, “W,” appears over the porch.) In November, a lis pendens for mortgage foreclosure for $74,000 was filed against the property.

In December, the heirs of James N. Warren sold the house to the 532 Clinton Avenue Corp. for $525,000, public records show. The heirs remain co-owners along with Bardugo, a longtime family friend, he told Brownstoner.

clinton hill brooklyn 532 clinton avenue

Photo by Susan De Vries

Clinton Avenue may be better known now for its grand late 19th century mansions, but the street was laid as as a thoroughfare by the 1820s. By the 1850s, villas were dotting the landscape. Hardly any of those early houses still remain; No. 532 is one of those rare survivors.

The architect is unknown, but the Italianate house — with some Gothic Revival touches — was owned by the Richard Leverich Wyckoff family from around the 1860s through the 1930s. The house was previously featured on Brownstoner as a Building of the Day.

While the porch has lost its original columns, many of the other exterior features survive, including the graceful arched and keystoned windows on the three stories of the street facade and the dormers in the peaked roof.

Another remnant of the early development period of the avenue is the Greek Revival style house built circa 1835-1840 at 136 Clinton Avenue. It is also on the market but is protected as an individual landmark.

Construction is booming all over Brooklyn, and many wood-frame houses that sit on large lots with excess FAR are being torn down to make way for new developments, especially in Bed Stuy, Prospect Lefferts Gardens and East Flatbush.

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