Monday, July 6, 2015

Epic Castle in Crown Heights Closed Last Week: 669 St. Marks Avenue




After many months of delays and a few false starts, Platinum Members finally closed last week on one of our favorite buildings in all of Crown Heights - 669 St. Marks Avenue.  This enormous 30' wide building on a 40' wide lot features a drive way, windows all along the unattached side...




...an extension on the parlor floor...




...a double-deep basement that's fully above grade in the back...




and a 35' wide two-story carriage house in the back.  We've been in contract on this bad boy for $1.5M with no financing contingency for over six months, and didn't even step foot inside until a few weeks ago.  That's how you roll the dice, y'all.  But we've seen this movie enough times before that the "risk" didn't even move the needle.  As soon as they brought it to us off-market, we didn't even finagle on price.  We met 'em outside the building within minutes and said, "We'll take it!"  And here we finally are.  Other buyers on the block already offered $2M for the contract and were turned down.  There's so much left to blossom on this property, it'd be hard to let it go at an as-is price.  The carriage house is what really gets us & everyone else weak in the knees...











Even if you converted the carriage house to living space, there's still plenty of room to leave a garage in it, and/or plenty of other space to park in between anyways...









We anxiously awaited the chance to get inside and check the condition of the details, and the interior didn't disappoint...










Original medallions and molding on the parlor, not pictured here, lived up to expectations too.  One room on the parlor with an original mantle is currently used only for storage...




The last time a castle this yummy in Crown Heights was copped, it was 875 St. Marks Avenue in 2013 for $1.4M and was promptly turned in 2BR & 1BR condos











All those units listed as in contract with a gross asking price just under $3.2M.  Appraisers at 669 St. Marks Avenue estimated the building value as-is between $1.75M & $2.45M.  One told us, "You know there's a total of 10,000 buildable square feet on this site, right?  Do you know how much that is as condos over here?  You're talking about $12M."  While we're not quick to call $1,000+/sqft the running price in Crown Heights for condos quite yet, the 10,000 buildable is worth exploring.  That would more than double the size of the existing building, but is ever harder to maximize with landmark constraints.  Even the brokers who sold it to us insist 669 is landmarked - afterall we too assumed such an historic 1888 structure would be - but our architect assures us it's not.  This block, while epic and full of a variety of fine architecture, is conveniently left just outside of all 3 Crown Heights North historic districts:



If you don't know your St. Marks Avenue from your St. Marks Place, don't worry, once upon a time we didn't either.  And even today's maps at the base of the Brooklyn Bridge will lead you astray...










But the OG 1800's era map at Coven Hoven didn't make the same mistake:



Recent activity on the block shows the trajectory of things over here, including the Crown Heights townhouse record breaker (east of Classon anyways...) at 672 St. Marks Avenue for $2.9M in December.  That was an astonishing price for an unrenovated building, even if it's 27' wide, unique, and full of details.  Currently undergoing its renovation...




The Aussies are gutting the 20' wide row house at 623 St. Marks Avenue down the block that they picked up in May 2013 for $1.02M...




They also picked up 641 St. Marks Avenue for $5.5M last year and have already listed it for $8M...




And they picked up 698 St. Marks Avenue for $1.5M last year, which has started its renovation this spring too:




Also the "five story 10-Family" at 692 St. Marks Avenue recorded its sale this year too at a steeply discounted price:




With studios on this block going for $1,600+/month, 20' row houses going for $1.9M even last year, and 27' record breakers going for $2.9M - it's not a bad place to be.  With the F. Scott Fitzgeraldian watchful eye of Biggie (or at least his Sprite ad) looking across Atlantic Avenue from Bed-Stuy into Crown Heights on Bedford...



Celebrating 5 years of keeping BK to the Fullest tastes that much sweeter getting our hands on a gem like this. 

Not much has changed since going into contract last year, the fruit's only getting more ripe.


Pro's:  huge, unique size & proportions, not your typical rowhouse, driveway with carriage house, great block with a variety of nice architecture, ballin' like Brooklyn Heights at Crown Heights prices

Con's:  gone already, tough to tackle, wasn't cheap, lots of work to be done

Ideally:  an historic Crown Heights castle with the potential for an epic project in the making

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