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.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Q's Guide To Making a Killing

Knowing what I know now, I'd like to take you on a tour. This morning I walked a two block perimeter from my house. No more than 2, that was the rule. I decided to consider my immediate neighborhood from the perspective of a developer. Talk about a goldmine! Diamond in the rough! Etc Etc.

Let me take you on a tour of the near future!

Corner Taxpayer, Ready to Rock 'n' Roll!

Slip 'em the Finger!

Nab that building in the middle plus those low-rises and we're talking ca-ching AND tall! Park Views!

Feeling Ambitious?

Don't Worry! This Is a Single Property, and It's Already for Sale!

Easy Tenant Removal - Not Stabilized!

Everyone Has Their Price! Even the Councilman!

Easy Peasy

Missed Opportunity. Go Get 'Em.

Intercept This Pass! This Vacant Lot Owner Isn't Qualified To Think Big.

Driveway = Dollars


A Sliver Of Hope!

Lotsa Residents With No Rights!

Tear it Down and Build 8 Stories

Already Sold, But the Flip Might Be Worth It!

12 Mailboxes! A Record? Ha ha ha!


Holy Moly Guacamole!

This Corner Lot Is HUGE and Zoned To Grow Big

A Parking Lot Is a Developer's Wet Dream!

Tear Down Schmare Down

Sorry! This Stall Taken.

Snip Snip That Direct TV

The Ol' Haunted House of Clarkson: Build On Ancient Indian Burial Ground!

A Corner Tear Down For a Big Big Build, Brah'!

Oops! Tried to Sell This Styrofoam Sided Fedders In '06. Second Time's a Charm!

What a Waste! Early Childhood Development Isn't the Kinda Development This Spot Deserves!

Seriously? A Garage? You're Kidding, Right?

A Buying Spree Could Mean Big Big Bux!

That Fire Was a Blessing In Disguise!

Like Dominoes...

13 Mailboxes. The Check's In the Mail!

Later Alligator!

Thank God This Ain't the Manor!

Grand Opening AND Closing In a Matter of Weeks! Send 'Em Packing!!

If the Hawthorne Boys Sell, and Associated loses lease, Yeehaw! Minneapolis, meet St. Paul!

This Site Is Massive As Your Ambition!

C'mon. Your Gramma Could Do Better Than This!

Be a Pioneer!!

Don't Feel Bad. They're Mostly Ex-Homeless Substance Abusers, So They Already Know How to Live On the Street!

What a McDeal! A Happy Meal For Any Hungry Developer!!

Buy a Piece of Cult History!

Not Laughing. Friends are Stressed About Getting Pushed Out
If you're up in the Manor or Historic District, don't sweat it, you cool. Granted, a lot of this is in CB14 & 17. But it's funny how different a neighborhood looks through BK to the Fullest's eyes. It really IS a goldmine. Hey, so was South Africa! Er, diamonds...


FlatLen said...

I am not sure which ones are in community board 14, but a good number of these are in community board 17, directly to the south of community board 9.

William Hogeland said...

I've given myself similar tours. Thinking like a developer is an education. Get yourself in the mindset, and you find that the apartment buildings on the west side of Flatbush Avenue stop looking like awesome examples of kooky, early 20C neo-Moorish design, low enough to bring in beautiful light and sky (which is how I see them when not playing developer), but like dilapidation and blight. To the developer eye, Flatbush is lying there crying out for huge glass towers as far as the eye can see, featuring deluxe amenities and Park views. They sincerely think that streetscape would look and feel better for everybody.

So the City Planning premise (as stated by CP itself) that a neighborhood goal of affordable housing must equate with "inducing developers to build" doesn't apply here: in this case, developers need no inducement beyond the panting desire they already feel. In East New York, maybe they need inducement, I don't know; here, they'd accept onerous restraints in order to build.

And in this context, it couldn't matter less whether somebody lives in the Manor or in another community board. I don't live on the west side of Manhattan, but every time I drive the West Side Highway, the giant, endless Trump forest makes me sad and dismayed by the failure of government not only to "protect and preserve" the cityscape but also to guide its development creatively and intelligently. It's not NIMBYism to interrogate--vigorously--the Mayor's market-driven affordable-housing agenda, if that agenda must always seek to find in all neighborhoods, even ours, "inducements to build." Preserving affordable housing was supposed to be a factor in that agenda: our neighborhood would be a good candidate for that, for example. But there are too many foregone conclusions, cast as reasonable compromise, in the way CP, and possibly CB9, view the situation here so far. Compromise is inevitable, but any serious negotiation, predicated on Planning's claim (possibly even a sincere one) that it wants to work with communities, would have to begin by clearing the brush and trying to fight out some basic premises. Compromise is something you have to arrive at.

To a developer, though, the entire discussion is nothing but static.

MikeF said...

Up the hill in CB8, we consider taking such pictures to be one of our most effectives form of historic preservation.

Now that the our lots are built on, we can show people what the neighborhood use to look like.

Anonymous said...

Are there really 12 or 13 mailboxes on a couple of those big old wood frame houses? That's a little terrifying re: fires. How does the property owner get away with that? Those tenants actually would be better off in a new building built to code.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

It's totally illegal. But as long as they have an egress I'm not sure it's more dangerous than for you or I.

My house had three or four tiny apartments that had no way out. And they regularly locked the door from the inside.

Anonymous said...

A building is a machine to make the land pay. Most of those buildings were never big enough to do that. No one ever imagined a one story building in a high traffic area near expanding transit would last forever. They were built as holding spots waiting for the neighborhood and the city around it to support larger development. Take a walk down Utica south of Empire that whole area is still waiting for it's subway. All those buildings are temporary uses. Want to know why real estate is expensive? Supply doesn't meat demand. Lets get smart about development and not just save every crappy old building for the fun of it. That kind of thinking is why we have sprawl. Grow up and grow smart.

Bob Marvin said...

Actually, Anonymous 11:27, a building exists to fill a function, as a home, workplace, store, etc. Making "the land pay" is just a byproduct, albeit an important one.

Anonymous said...

"Don't Worry! This Is a Single Property, and It's Already for Sale!"

How do u know Flatbush Avenue is for sale? they just opened some new stores there....

Anonymous said...

Renovating the housing stock and commercial space is great for neighborhoods and will strengthen the community. Many of these buildings have been so neglected over the years that we are at risk of losing them entirely. I don't want vacant lots on my block or boarded up windows - I am as much worried about underdevelopment as overdevelopment.

Alex said...

This might be a pointless question, but is there any way that CB9 or our wonderful, consensus building neighbors could encourage construction of condos over all these rentals? Owners are more likely to have a vested interest in the neighborhood, and are less likely to be short term, ephemeral residents. Newly updated laws in Albany now allow for affordable rentals to be included in new condo builds. Not the greatest solution because it creates a set of second class residents, but at least - maybe - it could lead to the neighborhood having more engaged residents.

roxv said...

^ agreed with Alex. the biggest bummer about new development is when it comes in the form of ultra luxury or luxury rentals. as much as that hello living guy stinks, he seems to be the only one in our area building semi-affordable condos.. (as in, someone who doesn't make 6 figures would have a shot of buying it). i've heard you get what you pay for though.

..i guess the big drawback to that is that most condos these days are being snapped up by investors/foreign investors anyway, creating just another rental situation :\ i have a friend who rents in that glass building on Ocean Ave. his landlord is a guy who lives halfway across the world and bought the unit a couple of years ago for what sounds like a pittance these days. unfortunately it would probably take almost twice that to buy him out, which my friend has considered...but probably can't afford.

this whole discussion sort of makes me glad i live in a co-op

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Well said. I never in a million years realized how lucky I would be to own. Well, actually the bank owns it. Maybe one day, during my golden years!

I hadn't heard that about the Ocean apartments, but it makes perfect sense. They say you don't get poor buying NYC real estate...except in the short term sometimes.

Alex said...

It's crazy to me that the mayor's plan does not call for HFDC co-op conversions.

It would be a great way to help out people all over the income spectrum, encouraging ownership, tax savings, equity, etc. It would theoretically be possible to help people finance with loans that, along with their common charges, come in close to what they pay in rent. No reason why the city couldn't offer subsidized, low-rate loans for buyers below a certain income threshold, too.

Anonymous said...

some people have everything

some people have nothing

some people have hopes and dreams

some people have ways and means

JFB said...

Anyone know what's happening to the building in New York ave between Hawthorne and Winthrop?

Unknown said...

are you seriously promoting the preservation of parking lots? In a dense, transit-rich neighborhood in desperate need of housing? Do cars take priority over people? Shall we coin a new acronym? NIMPL: not in my parking lot?

I am actually glad that Alicia Boyd and her merry band of lunatics has terrorized the community board into dropping the zoning study request. It makes it more likely that Flatbush will be redeveloped in its entirety as a street of gleaming towers overlooking the park. It will be a vast improvement over the status quo. And it will provide nice places to live to a new generation of Brooklynites.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Unknown: Huh? Did you completely miss the point of my post? That's cool. It WAS a bit too sarcastic/ironic I suppose.

I don't think I've heard anyone prefer parking lots to apartments. 626 could have been a lovely addition to the neighborhood had it maxed out its earning potential with MORE units, at say 10 stories. The 20% affordable set aside is still, even through the debate, an excellent selling point.

I'm also not advocating preserving buildings that don't merit protection. It's sad to see so many potentially preservable Victorians disappear, but I can see how it's inevitable. Old farmhouses were razed to make way for brownstones at and just after the turn of the 20th Century. Somehow we've decided - fairly unanimously I supposed - that brownstones are worth preserving. I'm sure some futurists would say that it's not a good use of the land. I'm selfishly glad that they seem to be protected over the Victorian wood frames, but I suppose public taste could have gone the other way. After all, these stone facade buildings (and trust me - it's facade - the buildings are brick) were the tract housing of their generation.

And so, once again, somehow, the arguments for and against a rezoning are reduced to sound bytes and misreadings and misinformation. It's stunning how people hear what they want to hear.