Improvements for Some Historic Properties on MacDonough Street

57 MacDonough Street, Bed Stuy, Brooklyn

Earlier this summer I snapped a some photos around MacDonough and Tompkins, where quite a bit of work was going down on a few historic properties. One of my favorite Bed Stuy buildings, the United Order of the Tents mansion at 87 MacDonough Street, has some scaffolding up. There’s a permit out for structural and facade repairs. If you’re not familiar with this gorgeous property, I encourage you to read up on its fascinating history and current owners. Hopefully it’s a job done well — there have been a number of violations issued against previous work here.

75 MacDonough Street, Bed Stuy, Brooklyn

75 MacDonough, a landmarked eight-unit apartment building next door, is also getting some TLC. The building was up for sale last year asking $3.2 million and it sold last summer for $3.15 million. This May, the DOB approved permits for exterior work — new paint on the decorative metalwork and fire escapes, as well as re-pointing and repairs to the brick. It’s a striking Renaissance Revival facade (built on 1902) so it’ll be great when the scaffolding comes down to see the improvements.

Buying Boom Continues in Bed Stuy

Bed sTUY, Bed Stuy development, Bed Stuy construction

For a few years now, there’s been talk about the Bed Stuy boom. Development’s going up, buyers are snatching up properties, record prices are being recorded. And here’s one more data point to add to the conversation. For the second sales quarter of 2015, Bed Stuy saw the most home sales activity of all Brooklyn neighborhoods. REBNY released data for the quarter and found sizable average price increases of 9 percent year-over-year in Brooklyn and Queens. Bed Stuy had the most sales of any Brooklyn neighborhood — 183 transactions! — followed by 137 sales in Bay Ridge/Fort Hamilton. The average selling price for Bed Stuy properties is $874K, up 21 percent from last year. The median price is $850K. Condo prices average at $651K, a 15 percent jump from last year. Three-family homes average at $937K, up 25 percent.

Speaking of booms, I snapped this photo of demolition underway at 410 Tompkins Avenue, off of Hancock. The three two-story brick buildings will be replaced by a 35-unit luxury building that looks atrocious. According to signs on the construction fence, demolition will last through August.

Rents Up 63% In Bed Stuy Since 2002

An ugly new rental rises in Bed Stuy

An ugly new rental rises in Bed Stuy

Yes, rents are crazy throughout New York City. But they’re even worse in certain neighborhoods — and one of those happens to be Bed Stuy. The NY Daily News reported that Bed Stuy rents have jumped 63 percent since 2002. Talk about depressing: a recent mover who faced a median rent of $921 in 2002 now faces a median rent of $1,500. (I was recently wondering if it was insane that a two-bedroom apartment here costs $2,850. Guess not.) For comparison, rents rose about 32 percent citywide since 2002. In Harlem, there was an insane 90 percent jump.

So where to go if you’re priced out (again)? The Daily News says rents went down in Canarsie by 1 percent, in Bay Ridge by 3 percent and along the South Shore of Staten Island by 5 percent.

This Stuyvesant Avenue Property Is Asking More Than $6 Million

325 Stuyvesant Avenue, bed stuy, brooklyn

More news for the prominent mixed-use building on the corner of Macon and Stuyvesant. (The place where plans for a Thai restaurant fell through, and where a stop work order was issued for work without a permit.) This listing just popped up for the entire property — it’s asking $6.3 million, a very high price indeed. There are seven units total with the ground-floor commercial space. Oddly enough, Streeteasy also shows that three of the apartment units are on the market, with a three bedroom asking $3,295 a month, a two bedroom asking $2,850 a month, and another two bedroom asking $2,595. Are rents really that expensive in this area? Yeesh.

The selling price of the building will really be a test of how much the market’s boomed in the last year — it sold for $2.5 million in 2014.

What Would You Like to See on the Corner of Stuyvesant and Macon?

325 Stuyvesant Avenue

There’s a great commercial property that’s up for rent on the corner of Stuyvesant Avenue and Macon Street. That immediate area is pretty quiet restaurant-wise so we suspect any type of food business would do very well. A trusted source told us that a Thai restaurant was coming but negotiations went bad. The signage up now suggests that the owners are back to square one, and are also considering retail tenants.

What would you like to see here? And if you have any intel on tenants eyeing this space, email us at UPDATE: A stop work order was filed by the DOB in late April due to work without a permit. A commenter also noted that there’s a bar built inside.

Isaac and Stern Architects Have Two Big Projects Planned for Bed Stuy

627 Dekalb Avenue, bed Stuy, Isaac and Stern

So I stumbled across this construction site on the corner of Dekalb and Nostrand. The Department of Buildings approved a new building application this month for seven stories, 28 units and 25,215 total square feet. Construction should last through the spring of next year. The architect, Isaac and Stern, have fancy renderings up at their website:

627 Dekalb Avenue

627 Dekalb Avenue, renderings by Isaac and Stern Architects

Looking through the architect’s website, I also found a rendering for a massive project they are designing right on the border of Bed Stuy and Clinton Hill. This one is at 168-184 Franklin Avenue, on the corner of Willoughby:

184 Franklin Avenue

180 Franklin Avenue, rendering by Isaac and Stern Architects

The DOB issued a new building permit for this last month. It will be a five-story building with 118 units, 104,000 square feet, and a garage at the first floor. I like this design more than the one proposed for 627 Dekalb Avenue, which is a little more bland. Do you have a preference?

Two (Yeah, Only Two) Affordable Rental Units on the Market in Bed Stuy


A few years ago I applied for an affordable rental unit at the new Navy Green development, down off Flushing Avenue. I made it past the initial lottery, and basically was required to hand over every piece of my soul (including access to my bank account, statements of all kinds, pay stubs, etc. etc.) to be considered further. I had to trek to an out-of-the-way building way uptown, wait for a long time, provide the info, and then wait months upon months to hear that I had been rejected. In short, I wouldn’t do it again — and I was lucky enough to find a relatively affordable rental in Bed Stuy through some serious Craigslist scrounging.

There’s a lot of talk about affordable housing in NYC these days, with Mayor de Blasio promising to build lots of it. Problem is, most of the affordable housing comes as an “extra” in primarily market-rate development. There isn’t enough of it, and it really is like winning the $34 million lottery if you actually nab a unit.

That brings me to the announcement above made yesterday by the HPD. There are two – TWO – affordable rentals available at the new development 296 Throop Avenue. I don’t care if it’s only a six-unit building, it’s just flat-out crazy that in a city of 8 million people, we have its foremost housing agency putting out a notice for two affordable housing units. And I don’t even wanna know how many people are going to apply.

If you do want to go for it, there’s a better process set up at NYC Housing Connect since I last tried. (Back then — and it wasn’t that long ago — you just sent in a postcard to be entered into the lottery.) The one-bedroom rentals are priced at $947, and you can only apply if you’re making between $32K and $36K as an individual. Just typing that, my list of complaints about the city’s affordable housing program got longer.

I also recommend following the NYC HPD Facebook page, those guys are really great about posting notices when affordable housing throughout New York becomes available.