The Q at Parkside

(for those for whom the Parkside Q is their hometrain)

News and Nonsense from the Brooklyn neighborhood of Lefferts and environs, or more specifically a neighborhood once known as Melrose Park. Sometimes called Lefferts Gardens. Or Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Or PLG. Or North Flatbush. Or Caledonia (west of Ocean). Or West Pigtown. Across From Park Slope. Under Crown Heights. Near Drummer's Grove. The Side of the Park With the McDonalds. Jackie Robinson Town. Home of Lefferts Manor. West Wingate. Near Kings County Hospital. Or if you're coming from the airport in taxi, maybe just Flatbush is best.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Interesting Twist On Lefferts Home Razing

272 Hawthorne
From Rebecca and Brownstoner comes news that a developer has purchased an old wood-frame house with a wide lot and is planning on building two side-by-side row houses in its place - presumably two-family townhouses.

Yet another standalone Victorian in Prospect Lefferts Gardens is going to bite the dust, but instead of the usual multi-family apartment building, two new townhouses will rise in its place. Demolition applications were filed in early August to knock down the existing house, a two-and-a-half story single family wood frame with a turret at 272 Hawthorne Street.
The Q finds this fascinating, even bewildering. Why? Well...in the rush to build apartment buildings, it would seem that someone has done the math and determined they can make as much or more money building smaller dwellings that could be presumably be owned rather than rented.

Thinking like this can burn you of course, if things head south. By paying more than a million bucks for the house and property, then paying to have it demolished, then paying to have houses rise in its place, you're counting on selling the finished homes for...well, a lot. Unless you build super-duper cheap (which I wouldn't put it past someone), you'd have to sell these for close to $2 million to clean up. Help me out real estate experts...ain't I right? At LEAST $1.5...

Needless to say, it ain't affordable housing. I suspect this home will go from housing many low-income tenants to housing fewer super high-income tenants. Or, more accurately, super high-net-worth tenants. And so it goes.


13 comments:

Alex said...

One word: FEDDERS

boleroid said...

actually, more like
FEDDERS FEDDERS
FEDDERS FEDDERS
FEDDERS FEDDERS
FEDDERS FEDDERS

FlatLen said...

Why do you think it housed many low income tenants? It seemed to have been a single family house. It is plausible that it was owned by a moderate income family that might have bought in the early days when housing there was cheap. Now, it will likely house more people in a town house environment: four families in two separate homes.

babs said...

According to PropertyShark it is a one family house, so if there were many non-related tenants they were living there illegally. If it was all members of an extended family sharing the house that would be OK. The Brownstoner post mentions that the developer plans two three-story two family houses, consisting of a garden floor though plus a duplex, which doesn't sound too terrible to me, although the mention of a curb cut and parking for one car is somewhat redolent of a cement front yard (ugh!). Nicely done, with central A/C and better-than-Home Depot fixtures, you could easily get $1.5 million each or more, compared to recent surrounding sales. My guess would be closer to $2 million. But if they're ugly, cheap crap they'll have a problem.

babs said...

And given this new owner's background in flipping distressed properties (including possibly stolen ones (check out the mention of Kamran Badkobeh about halfway through the article): http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/17/nyregion/17house.html?pagewanted=all) I'm not optimistic.

babs said...

And the seller actually bought it in 2006 for $424K, although it doesn't look like he every actually lived in it. There were four adults living there according to voter registration records (none of them the seller), though that proves very little about how many people actually lived there. A string of HPD violations from May, 2013, mentions an apartment 1, so presumably it was used illegally.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

I don't know what y'all do up in the Manor, but down here in the foothills of Lefferts I can think of only a couple of these houses that haven't been turned into multi-apartment dwellings, judging by the number of mailboxes and direct-TV dishes. On my block, what it says on "Property Shark" is hardly the way we roll. So I stand by my analysis in general if not the specific.

However, yes, there are a few single family residences run like single family residences. Mine for instance. And just so you don't think I'm getting all high and mighty on you, my family of (now) four replaced anywhere from 12 to 16 SRO renters back in 2003 who were living without heat or electricity for more than a year. In, yes, a single family residence. And no, none of those people were related (as far as I could tell.) Actually, we're now one of the few single family houses that house a single family.

And I frankly couldn't give a damn. You do what you gotta do, as long as you don't run an SRO, which I honestly feel is something that needs to be permitted. It's just too many people and too few exits, like multiple rooms without windows.

babs said...

And that's exactly why it's important to give a damn - because if the situation is illegal, it's probably so the owner can avoid installing all the necessary multiple-dwelling safety equipment, like sprinkler systems and fire escapes (as well as evading real estate taxes). Additionally, tenants in illegal apartments have very few legal rights - once the HPD and DoH get wind of it, like via an eviction proceeding or HPD complaint investigation, they'll condemn the property and you're out - and good luck getting any payment from the landlord; that only happens in the most egregious, highly-publicized cases. As for illegal conversions in the Manor, check out the north side of Fenimore between Flatbush and Bedford - although I think many of them claim to be "family" precisely to avoid any trouble with the LMA.

People have a right to safe, clean, well-maintained dwellings, not these illegal firetraps.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

My not giving a damn is about perfectly large houses being rented out by the floor to make the mortgage. Someone's getting some extra income; someone's getting a place to live. Buildings department has better things to do that slam that. Hell I wouldn't have been able to move to Brooklyn in the first place if I hadn't an illegal place to live and make some music.

babs said...

However, you mentioned in your case a house rented out to 12 - 16 illegal occupants with no heat or hot water. That's a little different than renting out a floor of one's house to one family. Additionally, this is a wood frame house (as are the illegally converted houses on Fenimore) - much more of a fire hazard, and most likely without the necessary safety installations.

babs said...

Here's a new built neighbor (276 Hawthorne St. - was a 40' wide vacant lot sold for $1.4 million in 2013). Looks like the same deal - two 20' wide townhouses, this one going for $1.55 million: http://streeteasy.com/sale/1124971-multi-276-hawthorne-street-prospect-lefferts-gardens-brooklyn Utterly characterless interior and exterior from the look of the photos, but a step up from Fedders. And the owner is (surprise, surprise) the same Kamran Badkobeh, so I guess it'll be more of the same here. Looks like 274 hasn't hit the market yet.

babs said...

Check out the floor plans - the "owner's triplex" is really a finished basement, the ground floor, and half of the floor above. The broker projects getting $1800/mo. for the tiny, half-a-floor one bedroom (with a bedroom under 8' wide!) and $2800/mo for the three bedroom floor-through above (again with three tiny bedrooms). I really don't see the value in paying $1800 for a half floor of a townhouse, when you could get the same thing in Brooklyn Heights for not much more. The three bedroom will no doubt go to three kids sharing, because where else can you get your own bedroom for under $1000? Sad.

Cate Corcoran said...

Wow, Babs, that building is not half bad looking. I had no idea this was already built. I agree the broker's rent projections may be optimistic. Could see this building selling to an investor rather than an owner occupant.