Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Holes in the Ground in Crown Heights

In case you've been living under a rock for the past few years, Brooklyn's hottest cross-over neighborhood "Pro-Crow" is literally on fire, and we don't just mean the corner of Washington Ave & St. Johns...

Which is now just a hole in the ground poised for a mixed-use project to come with apartments above.

Down the street, another hole in the ground is 564-570 St. Johns Place, which we tolja' sold for $177/bsf last year, no longer just a decaying garage...

It too is another hole in the ground ready for its tens of thousands of prime buildable square feet to be built.  You thought $48M was a big number for the fully-rented 500 Sterling Place with it's neighborhood-shattering rental numbers, try $24M for a piece of dirt at 564-570.  But pieces of dirt don't last forever.

Not quite matchy-matchy with what's across the street?  Who cares?

"Oh, but that pesky S train track is right there!"  Who cares?

This is the same block as Crown Heights' beloved once-outpost Franklin Park, people!

Which requires just once glance at practically any time of day to know that the hipster blessing have been received in this nabe.  No wonder everyone else on the block is getting into the act.  Like the now-unified front across the street...

Even the 20' wide dirt next door at 615 St. Johns Place sold for over a million last year and has its plans underway...

No wonder the commercial on Franklin continues to turn over...

No wonder owners on this same St. Johns block held out for every last penny on a 6-Family delivered vacant at 557 St. Johns.  No wonder 2 more projects on the same block as 790 Classon Avenue around the corner are following the same play book of gutting and building up and building back.

In the field of dreams of post-Slope Brooklyn, if you build it, they will come.  Then when they come, you can build some more.  And that fire?  It'll have its day in the sun too...

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Closings of Note: Tell It Like It Is

It's still not a game out in here in Brooklyn as prices continue to go to higher heights.  But don't take our word for it.  Let's sit back & relax, and let the market "tell it like it is."  With $2M being surpassed for the finest 4-stories from West Bed-Stuy to Stuyvesant Heights, brace yourself for a deceptively 4-story 17' wider with a $1.9M handle on it like 340 Putnam Avenue.  Closed in March.  Manhattan buyer, for the win!  No wonder off-market bids came in at $2M for a 20' wider around the corner a few weeks ago.

With ~$2M townhomes becoming more than just the outlier in Bed-Stuy, no wonder mortgageable Clinton Hill homes, no matter how generic, can shoot over asking price.  422 Grand Avenue closed in March for $2.5M with 50% down to buyers from Boerum Hill.

Available on first, this nifty renovated 3-story at 73 Chauncey Street closed for $1.495M to a buyer from Manhattan in March.

As seen first on last summer, 99 Kane Street was a great 5-story 2-Family house on the edge of Carroll Gardens with amazing views of the harbor.  It wanted just over $3M, and came down a little after listing publicly.  It closed for $2.8M last month to buyers from Brooklyn Heights

As seen only on, 658 Dean Street in Prospect Heights sold for $1.83M last month after their latest price drop to $1.9M in February.  Not a bad look for a turnkey place with a nice yard in a neighborhood that's been neck & neck with Park Slope for a while.

71 Bleecker Street in Bushwick got the green light from our main Bushwick expert.  Platinum Members pushed an accepted offer & contract at $870K to the brink and got scooped the next week by a much higher offer.  This neat little 2-Family closed last week for $970K.

BoCoCa's 465 Warren Street closed for $400K in March (with some additional costs you won't find as easily) and now will gladly sell to you for $2.3M with an open house this Friday.  Probably goes for even less without a big broker on the scene.  We've got an even more diesel place coming to market soon in South Slope around this price with no big broker on the scene.

373 5th Street in Park Slope was a no-brainer even with issues and requiring a cash buyer.  It closed in March for $1.525M.  Now that same price is coming in even further down in South Slope on an off-market cash deal.

292 16th Street in South Slope ('cause who wants to really call it Greenwood already if they don't have to?) even this small frame house only 25' deep closes for $1.225M in March.  Over $750/sqft for a house that'll probably undergo everything to max it out.  Today we're checking out a new project nearby coming soon to that wants as much as $2.35M for a totally renovated finished product.

Speaking of $1.2M in Park Slope...  on asking $1.25M months before it hit the open market with a big broker, the North Slope 2/2 condo at 392 Bergen Street, #2 sold for $1.36M last month.  And on the BoCoCa side, another Bergen Street 2/2 condo closed for $1.45M to buyers from Manhattan.

This frame house in Lefferts on a huge lot at 194 Hawthorne Street closed for $1.4M in March.  16 residential units is what's next.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Another Experience: 420 Franklin Avenue, #1

Available only on, it's a Clinton Hill / Bed-Stuy duplex condo with private backyard asking $1M.  420 Franklin Avenue, #1 is a 2BR/2 bath garden floor condo with finished basement and laundry in the unit, grossing almost 1,500 square feet and almost 700 square feet of private outdoor space.  We were impressed when we first saw it a few weeks ago...

Totally renovated and first rolled out the door last year, the owners have made some tasteful additions since; including taking out some heinous accent tile the developer put in the bathroom, and adding some custom made bookshelves fashioned out of plumbing pipes...

Just in the time for the warm weather, wall AC units in every room.  With relatively low common charges under $400/month, this apartment works as a Franklin Avenue townhouse alternative for those who can't handle fixer-uppers in the $1.35M-$1.8M range.  And you still net the backyard action that townhomes are loved for...

With $700K 1BR's flying off the shelves heading towards Franklin, this is a much larger piece for not that much more money.  We'd rent the finished basement as a legit bedroom ourselves, but whether you count it or not, it makes a great man-cave is nothing else.  Not to mention the laundry...

Some people tell us "a condo that nice for 'only' a million is a no-brainer".  The peanut gallery will obviously point out the owner's cost basis, but the market is the market.  Apple's gone up 25% since last September...

Why can't one of Brooklyn's Finest condos?  For those who want townhouse feel on Franklin Avenue at a relatively affordable slice, this is the move.  But we'll see what the market has to say.  With an open house coming up, it's easy to find out for yourself.

Pro's:  true 2 bedroom & 2 bathroom duplex with laundry, AC, and private backyard, low common charges, ON Franklin Avenue, great Bed-Stuy/Clinton Hill/ Crown Heights tweener play, no big broker commission on the scene, nice owner updates since purchase, shows great, not a huge multi-unit

Con's:  not a garden/parlor duplex, finished basement isn't true square-footage in everyone's book, more expedient than grand, uptick since last season 

Ideally:  if you can find a better 2/2 with private yard, buy it!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Good, Better, Best: 475 Sterling Place, #2E

The old adage, "Good, better, best.  Never let it rest.  Until your good is your better and your better is your best" rings true in this seemingly-endless bull market in Brooklyn property.  Not long ago we documented the $700K condo game a few times, back when $700K got you a 2BR in neighborhoods like prime Boerum Hill, prime Park Slope, more Park Slope, even more Park Slope.  Until finally the $700K condo game came to the Prospect Heights/Crown Heights border for a new construction 2BR.  But back then we were still selling townhome beauties in Crown Heights in the $700K's too, like 894 Sterling Place.

The rising tide has continued to lift all boats.

Nowadays the 1BR's are feeling the uptick.  475 Sterling Place, #2E hit the market for $699K, and in the time it took for the "Just Listed" post cards to arrive via snail mail, this condo is already in contract within a week.

At almost $1,000/sqft, it is no joke in Crown Heights these days!  The pricepoint makes it more palatable, but you can clearly see that the good is now better, and the better is now best in Brooklyn's unstoppable real estate market.  475 Sterling's 2BR's went from $775K, to $815K, to $850K to $995K, to $1.025M like #3C that closed last month.  No wonder Platinum Members pounced pre-market on a 1BR here at the end of 2013 for $550K.  First the 2BR condos on Sterling & Washington start selling for the price of townhomes on Sterling & Nostrand.  Then the 1BR's on Sterling & Washington start fetching that price.  We can only imagine what the townhomes are worth today.  And it puts the $48M sale of 500 Sterling Place across the street (which we tolja' 'bout in February) in perspective at just over $600K/unit.

Coming up on, we've got a 2BR/2 bath duplex with private backyard on Franklin Avenue asking $1M as this condo goes for re-sale.  Price sounds right in line with the market to us.  (Did we mention the backyard??)

Pro's:  new construction condo in prime Pro/Cro with roof, gym, parking, floor to ceiling windows with great light, relatively low common charges, under $800K perhaps?

Con's:  little on the generic side, pricey ppsf, is this really what 1BR's cost now

Ideally:  a great little place in Pro-Cro pocket still on the rise that rolled right out the door in a flash

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Bed-Stuy Mixed-Use Available Only on HomeCanvasr: Gates Avenue & Nostrand Avenue

Available only on, it's a mixed-use property in Bed-Stuy that's asking $1.25M.  This building has 2 turnkey apartments and a commercial space currently used as a trendy gallery.  One of the apartments is a true 2BR with a balcony over-looking the garden...

The other apartment is a 1BR plus office.  Market rents between $1,750-$2,000/floor for the apartments, and the gallery on the ground floor is pretty sick...

With a new roof, tenants paying their own heat & hot water for each unit, and the gallery doing some landscaping & coy pond to come in the backyard, this building is optimized for hipster "set it & forget it" status.  Low ball cash offers under $1M were already shot down, and the owner wants a high number in this frothy market, but who can blame 'em?  We've got another one off-market on the corner at this same pricepoint in Bed-Stuy with 2 garages.

Pro's:  totally turnkey, Nostrand isn't too far anymore, lots of amenities nearby on Bedford, tenants pay all utilities, almost fully optimized, full sized 20' wide, no big broker commission on the scene

Con's:  not much value-add left at these levels, 3-stories not 4, won't settle for $1M anymore

Ideally:  if you want an easily finance-able buy & hold or a live-in investment at a relatively low pricepoint for the area, this could be the one

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

South Slope 2-Family Available Only on HomeCanvasr: 6th Avenue

Available only on, it's a small 2-Family in South Slope that wants $1.65M cash.  At 6th Avenue & 13th Street, weighing in at only 15.5' wide and 3-stories tall, this house is still live-able and delivered vacant, making it a perfect little play for investors and end-users alike.

It's probably best used as a single-family.  We've seen houses where the interior staircase means that 15.5' wide isn't the end of the world.  22 Arlington Place, for example, had full-sized rooms front and back because of its interior staircase.  And that sold for over $2M in Bed-Stuy!

This house on 6th Avenue would sell for more if it went with a big broker and full scale marketing campaign and huge open house.  But as-is, there's value to be had.  With so many Unicorn Hunters still on the prowl in Park Slope, even while fixer-uppers in Bed-Stuy exceed $1.5M now on the open market, we thought this one was worth a look.

A working kitchen with nice tin ceiling like this isn't as palatable to the picky end-users, but sends all the right signals to savvy buyers.  By the time this house looks the way you want it to look, it certainly won't cost what you want it to cost.

Pro's:  Park Slope under $2M, delivered vacant, has some details, live-able, not on everyone's radar, not a sight-unseen deal

Con's:  not much look inside so far, work to be done, super small & narrow, basically all-cash is a must

Ideally:  not a huge play, but value that's worth threading the needle for the right buyer who's set on the Slope

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Crown Heights Limestone Available only on Union Street & Nostrand Avenue

Fans of last year's Platinum Member pick-up in Crown Heights at 1196 Union Street (seen above) may be happy to hear that another house just like it is now available on the same block asking $1.299M.  Available only, this new house on this quiet block at Union Street and Nostrand Avenue, just off Eastern Parkway, is a cute barrel-front limestone with an extra-deep south facing yard.

Easily used as a single-family or a 2-Family, there are 3 full sized bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, solid wood floor throughout, original details, and a working gas fireplace.

Well maintained with some recent upgrades, including the new bathroom with the jacuzzi tub & skylight.  There's a finished basement as well.  And don't forget the 127' lot, just like at 1196 Union:

The expectation is buyers will renovate some, including moving the kitchen upstairs to the downstairs.  Renovations to 1196 Union Street and other neighbors show the potential to make the most out of these cute limestones.  And a house this solid under $1.5M is starting to look like a relative bargain with what's asking $1.85M in Crown Heights in need of at least $200K in work according to many prospective buyers.  It's almost a condo alternative at this price, with or without rental income.

We think this block is a sleeper hit in Crown Heights.  Steps from the 3 train at Eastern Parkway and the 2/5 at President Street, this is about as desirable a space you can get close to Franklin Avenue under $1.5M.  Offers came in higher than this asking price of $1.299M last year on 1196 Union, so we think the neighbor's priced their house in line with the market, given what even fixer-upper 3-stories can trade for off of Nostrand, like 798 Lincoln Place for $1.42M late last year.  And without a big broker's commission on the scene, there's even more savings buyer and seller can pass on to themselves.

Pro's:  curb appeal, cute block, pricepoint, totally turnkey, huge yard, well-situated as Crown Heights activity pushes east, can be affordably updated, not on everyone's radar

Con's:  work to be done, not quite as stunning at 1196, ostensibly wants more than last year's prices

Ideally:  this is a slam dunk for dozens of buyers with even a modest renovation budget