Sunday, October 14, 2012

"Come-Lately" to Prospect Heights: 599 Vanderbilt Avenue

The Barclays Center is here and it ain't going anywhere.  At his 8 consecutive concerts that kicked off the opening of the stadium, Jay-Z marveled to the crowds, "Can you believe someone spent a billion dollars in Brooklyn?"  No matter how much Hater-ade you've been sipping about the stadium or Brooklyn at large, that kind of investment is a pretty telling sign.

Makes it hard to believe that some people with six-figure salaries and seven-figures in the bank are still trigger-shy when it comes to borrowing, say, a million dollars, leveraged as high as 20-to-1, with interest rates as unbelievably low as the low-3%'s, in an inflationary environment, for buildings that the rent roll pays all the costs of.  Mixed-use buildings on Vanderbilt Avenue in Prospect Heights stand to gain tremendously, not only from the gentrification the avenue is already knee-deep in, but also from the thousands of additional new condos that will surround the stadium...

If you didn't think 597 Vanderbilt Avenue was worth ~$1M last year, you're probably not ready to buy the next-door neighbor for a whopping for $1.8M now.  599 Vanderbilt Avenue has had the "FOR SALE BY OWNER" sign out front forever, and still does...

Yes, once upon a time, it was a lovable Latin diner, long before people could justify a mayonnaise store on this avenue...

Heck, even in 2006 New York magazine was calling Prospect Heights "the forgotten neighborhood at the heart of Brooklyn's brownstone revival, quietly evolving from seventies poverty to small-scale gentrification... populated by...increasingly, come-lately familes priced out of Park Slope—is a battleground for the meaning of Brooklyn."  This is nothing new.  Some of the neighb's latest residents were still in Tribeca, the Upper West Side, and even Michigan back in 2006!  Many residents used to commute from here to the Zaytoon's on Smith Street in Carroll Gardens, but now the Zaytoon's has come to them!

Fast-forward through a messy legal dispute involving these adjacent buildings, and you get a listing at 599 Vanderbilt Avenue that's asking top dollar for some forward-looking potential.  You can try calling the owner, as so many have, but with a $130 listing on the NYTimes from Brooklyn Properties, it looks like there may finally be a tad of motivation to actually sell this time around.  But not at any pioneer pricing.  You can't bet on the Brooklyn Nets game for the same price once the match has already started.

Pro's:  location, blank canvas, thousands of condos coming to town

Con's:  ain't cheap, make sure the legal dust has settled on this bad-boy, even 655 Vanderbilt Avenue starts to look attractive at these prices

Ideally:  for the slightly savvy, there are still deals to be made a few tree rings past the already-"No Duh" points of gentrification


  1. Come to think of it, why pay $1.8M for this when you can just pick it up at foreclosure auction next month?

  2. Supposedly up for foreclosure auction again today: