Thursday, August 30, 2012

You Gotta Love the Limestones: 676 Eastern Parkway

We're told Eastern Parkway was built to be the Champs-Élysées of Brooklyn after the Civil War.  We even got our own "Arc de Triomphe":

But did you know that Eastern Parkway is supposedly "the world's first parkway"? 

NYC Parks & Rec says, "The world's first parkway was conceived by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux in 1866.  The term parkway was coined by these designers as a landscaped road built expressly for 'pleasure-riding and driving' or scenic access to Prospect Park (also designed by Olmsted and Vaux).  To these ends, commerce was restricted."  And big ol' houses commenced...

676 Eastern Parkway is a barrel-front limestone home located between Brooklyn Avenue and New York Avenue listed for months now at $999K.  This 18' x 50' single-family house weighs in at a healthy 4,000+ sqft on a 127' lot, giving you a ton of FAR to play with.  Most of the extra depth of the lot is shot on the front yard setback from the street, which actually comes in handy on Eastern Parkway - even with the side roads that were intended for delivery wagons.  A single-family doesn't give ya the rental income many might be looking for, but it's used as a 2-Fam with a separate entrance, so there's that.

It may not wow you with certain original details (there are still plenty) or modern upgrades, but this house is move-in ready today - even if it doesn't all match your taste.

Is a million dollars a lot of money for what many would consider a fixer-upper? 

You bet it is!  But it's also a lot of value over what the prime neighborhood next door commands for a barrel-front limestone.  Sure, once upon a time (read "last year"), limestone fixer-uppers on the open market in prime Prospect Heights - like 154 Underhill - were valued like this.  But now ones like 412 Sterling Place want well over $1.5M.  So in today's market, a year & 1/2 after 154 Underhill, you have to go a mile & 1/2 further east for the same price?  If this were DC, or Boston, or Philly, would that be a shocker?  Sit on the exact same train you already ride for 1 or 2 more subway stops to save over 30% off your purchase price?  Cha-CHING!!  Call it "sweat equity".  It's not like we're sending you to vinyl-siding on the other side of the tracks, people.  These are nice houses with great history that certain people simply slept on for a few generations:

Brooklyn is effectively the 4th largest city in the US all on its own, and you mean to tell me all the nice mansions from ~100 years ago is where the value is in this city?   414 Stuyvesant Avenue, we're looking at you!  Were you sad to see Crown Heights prices poking past $1M for fixer-uppers this Spring/Summer?  Well, where were you last year when Platinum Members we're lining up the purchase of a turn-key limestone beauty like 931 St. Marks Avenue at a great price?  That's the type of pricing another lovely limestone like 1310 Pacific Street should be commanding in this market.

If you missed your chance on a 3-story limestone like 355 Eastern Parkway (or weren't ready to follow it well into the $900K's), then you shouldn't sleep on 676 Eastern Parkway.  Corcoran is about to drop 676 Eastern Parkway's Crown Heights cousin on ya (with an even deeper yard!) pretty soon for an even lower list price, but one that's bound to be surpassed again.  Get on the bus now because gentrification - like time - waits for no man.

Pro's:  curb appeal, high ceilings, set back from the street, move-in ready, world's first parkway!

Con's:  not everyone's taste, a fixer-upper in some people's book, paved backyard isn't deep, a few blocks deeper east than some people think they deserve to be

Ideally:  anything with a $200-handle on the price per square foot is like a no-brainer now.   Unless it's an SRO or a gut - and even then sometimes it's still okay!

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