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.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

When It Becomes Profitable To Do So

You hear a lot of talk about whether this home or that building will disappear during the big Flatbush Development Rush (FDR) of the middle teens. There seems to be misconceptions aplenty. For instance, one might assume that you wouldn't tear down a single building in the middle of a row of 10 conjoined townhouses. Or that a certain apartment building would have too many units to discard. Or that perfectly fine Victorian homes might be raised. Some unprotected blocks, like the cute one on Sullivan (tween Rogers and Nostrand) are losing conjoined single-family homes of the variety that Lefferts I has in spades...with those narrow driveways between and second floor decks above the foyers, and often a carriage house/garage out back. You know, like this:

262 and 264 Sullivan, soon to bite the dust. More from DNAInfo
Interestingly, just like my block, this soon demolished structure is zoned R7-1, the same distinction as the 23-story buildings going up 'round these parts. These two houses will be worth more than 16,000 s/f to the new owner, and will likely tower over the rest of the block. For now. Until more of the same, probably a row of the same. When? Why, when it becomes profitable to do so! Don't expect homeowners to hold out for the lowest bidder, either. This is simply how things are done.

Is this a bad thing? Depends on your perspective. Are you one of the incoming renters? Are you selling and retiring? Are you a neighbor? Are you someone who fears height and density? Are you someone who bemoans yet another lost opportunity to demand more affordable units from developers? Is this the sort of block that deserved protections, or is density better suited here than, oh let me just throw one out there at random...Empire Blvd? I'm just taking a piss of course, because we all know we'd be wrapping up a Planning Study around now if it hadn't been for...she who shall not be named. Seriously, she won't. Not gonna do it.

The other day someone was telling me that the worst of the development boom was over, because there just weren't that many more spots to build. Hilarious. Basically, anything is possible. For instance, one wouldn't think you could take a perfectly good building full of rent-stabilized apartments and go condo with them, during an affordability crisis and all...but guess what! You absolutely can. 35 Clarkson was about as affordable as you could get on my block...til the stabilized apartments started going for north of $350K two years ago (they've jumped in price since). The AG even signed off on this giant puppy up in uber-trendy Crown Heights:

382-90 Eastern Parkway Goes Condo. Story here from Real Deal.
The dealmakers expects to sell the units for more than $700K a piece. (So buying or forcing out tenants becomes simply part of the math).That is to say, there is a price point for every deal. Numbers don't lie. Zoning doesn't lie. And your favorite building, location, store, home, piece of land...except where landmarked of course, and even then...

They will disappear, if, and when...(all together now):

It becomes profitable to do so.


Alex said...

Sad to know that AB duped Sullivan St residents into thinking that she was fighting for them.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Alex,

That's "Sullivan Place". Sullivan Street is out in Red Hook. :)

roxv said...

that's such a good point alex. but of course she's curiously silent on this issue..

Anonymous said...

Not that too many people will miss it, but the striking dilapidated building on the corner of Bedford and Church seemed to come down over night.. Was hoping the city owned it and would fix it. No money in that though. Money talks and you know what, walks.


Jamesy said...

2BRs are selling for 600k+ in 35 and 41 clarkson. Here is the thing - it is still a percieved deal. 750 to 800 bucks a sq ft only 2 blocks off the park has buyers all sorts of hot to buy. So it might sound crazy to most of us, but 'The Leff' (as i now hear it called) seems to be one of the final ticks of the clockwise progression of property spikes around the park.

Kenny said...

It's farfetched, but what about approaching affordability from the opposite end? Once upon a time, affordable units were simply market rate units in older buildings. But, because of all the costs in both money and time, to build or renovate or raze-and-build-again, that cycling of buildings is almost entirely broken.

It sure seems counter-intuitive that allowing a lot more expensive buildings to be developed would – eventually – result in actually affordable units being available. But that's exactly what, for example, Jane Jacobs described in her writing.

Certainly all parts of the city should bear the burden of the disruptions of development, but as it is there are only two classes of winners: those that already enjoy all of the protections that keep people in their current houses or apartments, and those able to afford the small fraction of housing subject to something like a market.

I wrote "actually affordable" above because what is now currently labeled 'affordable' is really just game prizes won thru luck (or fraud). Affordability via lotteries is a sham.

Nora Rawn said...

Kenny is right--only by having more units can the stock grow larger and the crunch ease. So getting rid of single homes is a no-brainer. And if the CBs could get behind MIH, then there would be an easing in the middle of the market that would reduce competition for existing affordable slots. Since developers can't afford to build for truly low income residents, vouchers will need to pick up the slack--that means more enforcement against landlords who refuse them.