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.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Start Starchin' Them White Collars

Thanks David Colon for his always spot on reporting in Brokelyn. The below is his.
146 Fenimore Street
Do you live here? Sorry. via Google Street View
Real estate speculation! Sometimes it takes the form of horrible arson. Oftentimes, it takes much more banal, but somehow more unappealing-sounding forms, like this article in Real Estate Weekly about Pittsburgh-based HLC Equity buying a building in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Why are they doing it, and what’s their plan? Funny you should ask!
Farber said he saw 146 Fenimore Street as the ideal first investment in Brooklyn because of its proximity to several subway lines and the neighborhood’s untapped, fast-growing potential…convincing Farber that Prospect Lefferts Gardens is on the cusp of a major influx of white-collar residents.
Most of the building’s units are rent-stabilized, and HLC plans to slowly renovate the entire building.
“We could probably sell it at a profit right now,” Farber said. “But we want to hold on to it.”
Well, sucks to be you, rent-stabilized residents who we’re sure won’t be harassed in any way by your out-of-town landlords betting on “more white-collar residents.” Just to be sure though, don’t forget that you’ve got rights when it comes to improvements, and your rent in general.


Bob Marvin said...

I posted this comment on the Real Estate Weekly website:

"Having been a homeowner in Prospect Lefferts Gardens for 40 years I know that it's a wonderful neighborhood, but if this inexperienced out of town firm bought this building with the intent of pressuring rent stabilized tenants into leaving they are probably unaware of the strength of laws protecting tenants rights in NYC and are likely to loose a great deal of money (which they richly deserve)."

Perhaps other PLG residents would also like to post a comment there.

babs said...

I know of another firm that tried this same strategy several years ago, buying a portfolio that included 50 Lincoln Rd, 64 Lincoln Rd, 2125 Beekman Pl, and 10 Midwood. They even boasted on their web site that they specialized in "improving returns on underperforming real estate assets." They deliberately made conditions hellish in those buildings (including supporting drug dealing at 50 Lincoln; also see the old blog "10 Midwood Sucks"). Here's what happened: the people who could afford to move (i.e., the newcomers, who had other options) did, and the original residents were forced to stay and endure. That was OK, because they got some nice vacancy increases, but not quite the "improvement" they'd been expecting, I guess, and they would up selling the entire portfolio to the same group that owns 57 Lincoln Rd., which had had more success in replacing old residents with new, via that unfortunate fire several years ago - not many people can have their entire family crashing with relatives for six months or more while their apartment is rebuilt, so most eventually found new homes elsewhere, and a whole new crop of tenants moved in.

MikeF said...

They might have had more success if they hired a tenant relocator.

Bob Marvin said...

Is "tenant relocator" a fancy way of saying "thug"?

Carmen said...

I'll add this- the property in question is next door to my building and it has been a hot mess for some time. For the last several weeks, the front has been cleaned and fixed, the garbage has been neatly contained during garbage day (before that it was strewn across the sidewalk) and one tenant who lives in the building told me that repairs are finally being made to the apartments.

Short-term, it sounds like the new owners are doing something right. Long term, I hope their new white collar tenants don't mind the drug deals and gang activity that the precinct expertly ignores.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Thanks Carmen. I knew you would have the inside dirt!

I've seen the same thing happen at other buildings all around me. The first step by any new landlord involves sprucing things up for prospective middle-tier renters. Nothing wrong with that. It's part of a longer term plan though. A friend just told me about a particularly cheap landlord on Woodruff, who painted the lobby only up to point that you couldn't see it anymore up the stairwell, which incidentally led to the low-rent apartments, not the ones being advertised on Craigslist.

If the landlord in question is serious about creating a clean, livable environment for current tenants, then we can hold them up as exemplars of decency. I have my doubts.