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, January 5, 2019

Tax Payers Start Paying Off

You've heard of tax payer properties, yes? Typically squat low-cost structures that allow land owners to charge enough rent to stay just ahead of the taxman. Our neighborhood is still full of them, but they're disappearing at a faster clip as local rents hit the sweet spot that turns buy-and-hold investors into sell-and-profit investors, and developers swoop in to do what they can within current zoning rules. You need only step out along the Flabenue to see the enormous potential for builders, and we're now seeing the first projects come to fruition. The new six-story market rate rentals are opening, and trust me these places are NOT going to be affordable to longtime residents accustomed to rent stabilized leases. The Q isn't talking about the poorest now; but even working professionals, like City workers and workaday salary folk - particular those with families - will simply not be able to keep up.

What exactly do I mean?

Those of us who call The Q at Parkside our hometrain know the Flabenue as our Main Street, and a lively thoroughfare it is. The hustle and bustle may blind you to the reality though - a large number of the buildings are merely awaiting their next chapter. Look up and you'll see many boarded up windows on the upper floors, meaning that tons of potential residences lie fallow. In my many years there has always been a great deal of churn; but lately signs point to major changes.

Surely these buildings will be razed rather than rebuilt -
currently they're zoned for roughly six-seven stories,
 depending on lot size.

Cinder block buildings like this are the easiest to remove. This whole stretch is vulnerable.

It boggles the mind; perhaps these upper floors are being used for storage? Mummies?

As mentioned previously on the Q, the Caton Market is soon to rise
12 stories of all-affordable apartments.
The recently erected plywood walls suggest demo starts soon.

123 Linden dwarfs surrounding buildings; Here on Caton looking east,
it's really quite shocking, and coming down Flatbush from GAP at night, wow.

Much as I'd hate to see the wonderful Save-a-Thon go, I can't imagine owners holding out much longer.
Buying up multiple properties could mean taller buildings.
The recently complete 7-story structures stand in contrast to the more typical
 three story buildings from Flatbush's heyday.

I would imagine this is the new normal for height along all of the Flabenue,
except on large lots like 626 Flatbush, where considerably taller buildings
will allow developers to take advantage of incredible
views of the Park all the way to the harbor on clear days.

Ocean is not immune, though there are fewer straight-up tax payers.

Despite the fact I'm down on Church fairly often,
this residential at the corner of Ocean caught me by surprise.
Recently finished and ready to rent, it's anchor retail is a Bank of America.
Lots of ink gets spilled on the changes coming to South Crown Heights and the further upscaling of the Lefferts area. But down here in Flatbush proper, you can't help but see the signs of severe makeover. Community Boards 14 and 17 have been witnessing a massive uptick in permit applications. Hopefully local stakeholders will take a more balanced approach than we have, since what the neighborhood really needs is lots more of permanent rent-stabilized below-market housing, and perhaps protections for the many beautiful treelined blocks between avenues.

We will see, maybe sooner than expected.


Anonymous said...

The opening of William Styron’s “Sophie’s Choice” goes like this:

“In those days cheap apartments were almost impossible to find in Manhattan, so I had to move to Brooklyn. This was in 1947, and one of the pleasant features of that summer which I so vividly remember was the weather, which was sunny and mild…”

Chapter 2 includes this:

“But I simply could no longer afford either the Manhattan prices or the rent – even single rooms were becoming beyond my means – and so I had to search the classified ads for accommodations in Brooklyn. And that is how, one fine day in June, I got out of the Church Avenue station of the BMT with my Marine Corps seabag and suitcase, took several intoxicating breaths of the pickle-fragrant air of Flatbush and walked down blocks of gently greening sycamores to the rooming house of Mrs. Yetta Zimmerman.”

In other words, the only constant is change. But it's same kind of change over and over. My mother, who arrived in NY City in 1945, shared Styron's experience. The question of Brooklyn vs Manhattan. And the way it worked was I was born in Manhattan, my sister in Brooklyn. And so it goes today. People searching for the same old same old cheap apartment.

Unknown said...

flabenue must be cleaned up and developed.

no more drug addicts gangsters and litter!!!

Anonymous said...

Where could office space be zoned? Where will all these people work?

What will happen to Sears?

How impossible would it be to get some small patch of ground as greenspace in the center of Flatbush? A Flatbush town square.

Anonymous said...

The Sears property on Beverley is huge. Big enough for a lot of housing. Easily 1,000 units on that enormous plot. Eddie Lampert should strike a deal with a major developer and get to work putting up apartments. He'd make far more in Brooklyn real estate development instead of retailing stuff few customers are buying these days.

Anonymous said...

When or if they build affordable housing they will skip around and over other lowincomes,if you are a individual AMI limit is 43,000 if you are a family limit is 50,000,what flatbush needs when it comes to AMI is 20,30,40, extend the 60,and 80 AMI these are the lowincome flatbush needs

Jacob said...

I hate to be the "contextual" police but

"The recently complete 7-story structures stand in contrast to the more typical
three story buildings from Flatbush's heyday."

There are plenty of buildings taller than 7 stories in Flatbush, dating back decades. There are buildings on Flatbush Ave taller than 7 stories - Patio Gardens, from the 60s. And plenty of 6 story buildings, denser than these new 7 story buildings, all up along Flatbush ave from Parkside to Lincoln.

These 7 story buildings are about the same height as Erasmus High, Kings County Theater, the Verizon switching building at Snyder and Flatbush, and the Modells/movie theater at Church and Flatbush.

The site of Caton Flats used to be a much bigger building! It was torn down decades ago and then more recently replaced with the one story building that's there now. Same deal for the grocery across the st at the SW corner of Caton and Flatbush: used to be a 19th c corner apt bldg. So we are getting, in some cases, density replaced that was once removed.

Araujoshik said...

With a townhome, you typically get little-to-no yard, you have to deal with at least one common wall, you're forced to pay sometimes exhorbitant HOA fees, and you don't usually own the ground that it sits on. So, on it's face, a townhome really DOESN'T look like much of an investment.

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Bob Marvin said...

Araujoshik's comment is ludicrous. AFAIK there's no place in NYC where you don't own the land your "townhome" is on. In our neighborhood the only homeowner's association [or "HOA" as he/she calls it is the Lefferts Manor Association whose not so "exhorbitant" [sic] membership dues are all of $25 p.a. and membership is optional.

Bob Marvin said...

Of course one might well ask why I'm arguing with "Araujoshik" an obvious troll-bot that posts nonsense and useless links :-)

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