Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Déjà Vu All Over Again: 270 Sterling Place

Listed for $1.8M in 2007, dropped to $1.5M in 2009, sold for $1.2M in 2010, listed for $1.795M in 2011. Ladies & gentlemen, I give you 270 Sterling Place. This stately 2-Family brownstone in prime Prospect Heights is on a quaint, tree-lined block around the corner from bustling Vanderbilt, Grand Army Plaza & Prospect Park, and trains. We love this neighborhood, and there's only so many of these 4,200 sqft buildings that come along, especially in such manageable condition. But we're not sure if this is what you spend on a 2-Family here quite yet.

The inside's bright & open, with the classic look of original details:

We love that the old Zillow listing before the sale even boasts, "This house has been reduced from $2,000,000 to $1,500,000 to bring it in line with today's economy!"

Today, you get more value for this kind of money here than you would in Park Slope or in Carroll Gardens. But when it comes to Prospect Heights we'd still rather make a move on something like 407 Sterling Place that just dropped to $1.599M and has a comparable interior. Also compare to the much skinnier, over-priced 285 Park Place. But if you have even close to the kind of money it would take to acquire this place and fancy it up even a bit, we say you're better off with the Urban McMansion that is 287 DeKalb. There's certainly a really nice house here, it's gonna come down to pricing and what somebody wants to do with it.

Pro's: curb appeal, great block, 4,200+ sqft + FAR, delivered vacant, original details & good condition, close to everything, rare opportunity

Con's: steep price, maybe there's better value elsewhere

Ideally: This isn't our kind of play, but it stacks up nicely to some neighborhoods, and makes us consider others.


  1. This house has original stained glass even in the skylight. It has rococo plasterwork in the parlors and Birdseye maple molding and mantels on the master bedroom floor. It has different pattern parquet floors in every room except the kitchen. I knew the person who owned it since 1960 (he moved in the day before the New York Air disaster in Park Slope.) Some poorly planned renovations were executed but this is one beautiful house. The original rear parlor built in has been relocated to where the parlor floor entrance used to be but it is completely restorable. The house has many, many original details (notice the maids call bell in the hallway.) A person who believes original architecture provides a meaningful connection to the past and helps inform the future will really appreciate this place. Sadly real estate has become so political that most of the comments that I have read about this house have nothing to do with the house itself or the amenities it can provide to the lucky souls who might live in it. It has become all about the money and even the realtors who will make huge commissions don’t know the history of what they are selling.

  2. I have been to his house a few times and I agree with the above comment. I hope the new buyer will restore the first floor as a garden apartment and the upper three floors as a triplex. It seems such a shame to take this house and chop it up into a four family home. The current realtors seem to be pushing this idea, at the open house, the handout includes a proposed four apartment plan. I believe this is what the current owners bought the house for, to create four apartments, but the economy took a downturn and they let the house sit for a couple of years.