Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Platinum Member Closing Today: 230 Washington Avenue

When this huge Clinton Hill 5-story corner property (with parking!!) at 230 Washington Avenue hit the market for $4M last year with Corcoran, it kind of scared the daylights out of people.  A 5-Family building, even delivered vacant, listed with one of the biggest retail brokers in town, for a price that's been a record in the neighborhood for on and off-market deals.  Was it "monkey-see, monkey do" pricing?  Was it poised to join the record breakers?  Once it's with Corcoran and once the price is that high, most people (including us) kissed it good-bye and gave it the "vaya con Dios" treatment.  Even when it dropped to $3.2M months later, and people were chatting it up to us, it still didn't quite sink in.

But the market response was relatively right on.  It was too expensive for an investor, and it wasn't really nicey-nicey enough for an end-user as-is.  Although a totally solid building in its own right...

With generic rentals like these, $1,700-$2,000/month has been the underwhelming level here over the past few years.  But sometimes the tweener spaces are where savvy people can really step in and do a great deal.  So when the house got shopped to us at much lower price, we knew it was deal time and put out the bat signal.

And today the folks who brought you gems like Crown Heights' first proper $2M townhouse listing at 1234 Dean Street are closing 230 Washington Avenue for $2.47M.  The plan is to restore the building to its historic glory days and condo convert it into pimped-out slices that more retail buyers can get their heads, their taste, and their budget around.

We're told the current plan is for 5 condos:

-2 bedroom layouts each with 3 exposures.
-Individually controlled high-efficiency central heat and air conditioning for each apartment
-New gas fireplaces with custom surrounds
-W/D in each apartment
-Radiant heated bathroom floors
-Custom, locally made kitchen cabinetry from a shop in Red Hook, BK
-High end stainless steel appliances
-Restoration/re-creation of historic detail throughout
-Parking for 2 cars
-Outdoor space for garden and parlor floors
-Stroller storage
-Private storage cages in cellar
-Roof rights for top floor apartment

And these guys are doing quality work in areas to capture that true premium a house is capable of.  With townhouse reno's in Prospect Heights pushing $1,300/sqft, this project is still a winner even if it sells out significantly less than that.  File post-facto murmurs of "I would've bought that at $2.47M!" in the "Woulda/Coulda/Didn't" folder.  We can't wait to see the results from those who are really doing it.  If they deliver a product that makes people melt even half as much as their kitchen in 1234 Dean, the market will reward them for it.

Pro's:  historic 5-story corner piece with 3 exposures and parking, delivered working and vacant, curb appeal, hefty discount on a retail listing, great project with in-demand condos to come, perfect for the right buyer

Con's:  no huge green backyard, no amazing original details inside, tweener play and mis-pricing scared most away, gone already, took timely cash & decisiveness, cash intensive, lots of work to be done to optimize

Ideally:  another look at why you can't write off the easy to find retail broker listings either.  Platinum Members just locked up another fixer-upper pre-market gem in Park Slope for even less than this!

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