Thirty feet below street level, Benton Brown and Susan Boyle of Crown Finish Caves age their deliciously moldy wares in the lagering tunnels of a former brewery beneath the Monti Building in Crown Heights, where 26,000 pounds of cheese ripens to perfection in one of the facility’s 15-foot-high brick tunnels. This weekend Crown Finish is opening up one of the unused former brewery tunnels, seldom seen by the public, to host a cheese-and-wine tasting event to benefit the expansion efforts of Maple Street School, Prospect-Lefferts Gardens’ cooperative preschool (h/t DNAInfo).
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Governor Cuomo announced a $1.4 billion initiative last week to bring resources like health care services and new jobs to Central Brooklyn. According to the governor, the plan, called “Vital Brooklyn,” will bring 7,600 jobs and more than 3,000 new affordable housing units to Brownsville, East New York, Bedford-Stuyvesant and Crown Heights. And while Cuomo’s administration found these neighborhoods to be some of the most disadvantaged in the state, residents worry about the possible gentrification and displacement effects (h/t NY Times).
It’s been over two years since ODA Architects first released a rendering of their rental project at 1040 Dean Street (formerly 608 Franklin Avenue) in Crown Heights. Featuring the firm’s signature glassy, boxy aesthetic, the eight-story, 133,582-square-foot project rose on part of the site of the shuttered Nassau Brewery, just a block away from hot-spot food hall Berg’n. Of its 120 units, 20 percent will be reserved for those earning no more than 60 percent of the area media income, and starting tomorrow, qualifying New Yorkers can apply to these affordable units, ranging from $845/month studios to $1,022 two-bedrooms.
Google Earth rendering created by CityRealty; Image depicts the massing of the proposed buildings, not the design
Crown Heights is a neighborhood undergoing rapid change, but the western area south of Eastern Parkway has remained relatively quiet and unaltered by new development. However, it appears that could soon change. As The Real Deal reports, Cornell Realty Management is hoping to rezone two parcels at 40 Crown Street and 931 Carroll Street, just one block from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, to make way for a pair of towers that would house more than 500 residential units.
Even before it opened its doors, the new tavern on Franklin Avenue in Crown Heights was under attack. The name of the place, Crow Bar, was racist, complained many residents of the neighborhood, which was once predominantly black. The residents point out that Crown Heights was known as “Crow Hill” for much of the 19th century, and that the word “crow” was used as a derogatory name for black residents who lived in the area. The controversy over the bar, which opened on September 19, has also served to underscore recent tensions related to the continuing gentrification of the area.
Several years ago, plans were revealed for CAMBA Gardens, an affordable housing complex set to rise on the campus of the Kings County Hospital, located on the border of Crown Heights and East Flatbush. The buildings were constructed by the city’s Supportive Housing Loan Program in conjunction with non-profit CAMBA, which provides employment, education, health, legal, social, business development, and youth services to New Yorkers.
CAMBA Gardens I opened in the fall of 2013 with 209 residences spread across two buildings. Now, a lottery for CAMBA Gardens Phase II has just come online and is offering 110 newly constructed units in the LEED Gold building for individuals earning 60 percent of the AMI. These range from $822/month studios to $1,228/month three-bedrooms for households earning between $29,692 and $63,060 annually.
The building itself, designed by Issac & Stern Architects, may be pretty unremarkable, the same for the block on which it’s located, but 505 Saint Mark’s Avenue is in a prime Crown Heights location and offers some great amenities. It has 147 brand new units and is just steps off foodie haven Franklin Avenue and right around the corner from trendy food/beer hall Berg’n.
While the market-rate apartments are pretty par for the course (a one-bedroom goes for about $2,500/month and a two-bedroom for around $3,600), a housing lottery has launched today for 30 affordable units, including $913 one-bedrooms and $1,065 two-bedrooms for individuals and households earning between $31,303 and $51,780 annually.
The definition of gentrification may be difficult to pin down, but filmmaker Nelson George is attempting to do so in his five-minute short “Degentrify America.” In the film, George melds together national headlines with interviews and animation to paint a picture that has become all too familiar in metropolitan areas across the country. Most notable, however, is the appearance of Crown Heights resident and co-founder of the Crown Heights Tenants Union, Donna Mossman, who speaks candidly about the evictions, injustice and other ills that come with this particular kind of change. Crown Heights recently ranked #8 on NYU’s Furman Center‘s report of New York’s 15 fastest gentrifying neighborhoods.
Brooklyn resident Miko Mercer, 30, joined the Tiny House Movement, and she’s done more than just take a passing interest. The New York Times recently visited Ms. Mercer and the 160-square-foot DIY dwelling she’s constructing, not on a homesteader’s plot, but inside a big Crown Heights warehouse. Mercer, who runs the skin care division at popular beauty subscription service Birchbox and draws a six-figure income, still found that, as a single person, she couldn’t afford to buy a home in a city where the average price of an apartment is $1.7 million.
She ordered a trailer bed, leased the warehouse space and got to work, designing the house herself using a 3-D modeling application called Sketchup, meticulously managing the budget using a spreadsheet. She puts the estimated cost of her tiny house at about $30,000.
What if your home was more than just a place to live? What if it took care of the tedious parts of everyday life (like cleaning, paying utility bills, and shopping for the basics) and there were always a bunch of interesting and like-minded people hanging out in your living room? Brad Hargreaves, CEO of Common, has structured his co-living housing company to be just that.
While we’ve reported on Common before (as well as WeWork’s similar new shared housing setup in FiDi), today we’re going behind the scenes at Common’s first outpost located in Crown Heights. We asked three residents why they chose to live at Common, if this catered style of co-living beats the standard New York roommate setup, and, of course, what we all really want to know—with 10 different personalities under one roof, just how “Real World” do things get?
Here’s our first look at a five-story, 55-foot-tall residential building under construction in Crown Heights. The approximately 10,400-square-foot site at 1740 Pacific Street was purchased for $1.3 million in May of 2015 by Pacific Project Realty LLC and is now giving way to a 24-unit, 6,088-square-foot building. It’s being designed by Input Creative Studio, and Diego Aguilera Architects P.C. is the architect of record. The exterior, clad in red-brick with metal balconies and railings, is organized into four parts, each of which will house six units.
Oftentimes renting in Brooklyn means cramming into a modest apartment with roommates or building out a loft bed in a former warehouse space. You don’t typically think of sharing a massive three-story townhouse. But this historic home at 851 Park Place in Crown Heights is now on the rental market for $11,000 a month. There are eight bedrooms total (!), plenty of well-kept historic details, and extra spaces like a library and card room. Not a bad way to rent in Brooklyn.
In New York City there are currently about one million rent stabilized apartments–about 47 percent of the city’s rental units. So why is it so hard to snag one? What are the benefits of having one (other than affordable rent, of course)? According to the New York City Rent Guidelines Board nearly 250,000 rental units have lost the protections of rent regulation since 1994. Why are we “losing” so many of them?
The story behind cheese-aging facility Crown Finish Caves in Crown Heights tells of an enormous amount of risk and dedication to making something on a small scale; to doing one thing well. It also once again stirs the hive of buzz around today’s Brooklyn. Article after article raises the idea that Brooklyn’s moment as the new hot spot for excellence in food, culture and authentic, hand-crafted goods, is in some quarters regarded as trite and trendy hype with little substance to it.
For some, the underground cheese caves are just one more example: Cheese caves. How Brooklyn. Thirty feet below street level, in the lagering tunnels of a former brewery beneath the Monti Building in Crown Heights, Benton Brown and Susan Boyle spent several years renovating and creating “Brooklyn’s premier cheese-aging facility” complete with state-of-the-art humidity control and cooling systems. The couple created the 70-foot space with advice from the world’s top cheese experts; Crown Finish Caves opened in 2014. On an article in Cheese Notes, a commenter raves: “If I were a mouse, I would move to Crown Heights.”
Image via the Historic Districts Council
What once seemed unheard-of in terms of where to rent or buy in tertiary neighborhoods is now a thing of the past—be it Harlem, Williamsburg, Hell’s Kitchen, Long Island City, or the Lower East Side. But one of the best examples of rapid transformation is Brooklyn. Certainly there are many coveted communities such as Brooklyn Heights, Prospect Heights, and Park Slope, but there is another neighborhood making what looks like a very successful run at gentrification: Crown Heights.
Between hyper-developed hotspots, main drags in up-and-comers, and those genuinely avoidable areas, there can often be found a city’s “just-right” zones. They aren’t commonly known, but these micro-neighborhoods often hide within them real estate gems coupled with perfectly offbeat vibes. Continuing our Goldilocks Blocks series, this week we look at Lowry Triangle in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn.
It’s…gritty. But it’s Prospect Heights.
Anchoring an oddly magical Brooklyn crossroads where Prospect Heights, Crown Heights and Clinton Hill meet, bisected by noisy, gritty Atlantic Avenue, Lowry Triangle and its surrounding blocks form a literal mashup of three neighborhoods, all of which began hitting their gentrification strides at slightly different times. On a map it’s legitimately Prospect Heights, whose border is a block to the east at Grand Avenue. It’s a small but decidedly cool zone, open and semi-industrial, where old brick buildings share space with a growing number of sleek, modern boutique condos, compact cubes fronted by vast expanses of glass; a fascinating juxtaposition of old and new.
This converted carriage house in Prospect Heights is back on the market with another price drop, this time, asking $2.499 million. The minimalist 22.5-foot wide home has a touch of European farmhouse charm in a raw modern warehouse, with some vintage accents like reclaimed sinks, found antique gates, repurposed mirrored French doors and tin ceilings. Not to mention the fact that the home comes with a private garage (currently being used as an artist studio space).
As December dawns, the holiday gift markets roll in, and it’s harder than ever to turn around in NYC without encountering a pop-up shop or makeshift mall offering everything anyone could ever want–whether they know it yet or not–for the body, mind, soul and home. We’ve assembled a list of smaller, cooler pop-ups and holiday markets that mix music, food and fun freebies like haircuts, goodie bags and beer with this year’s selection of clever, crafty gifts.
From “coffices” to lab-like minimalist gourmet coffee meccas to cozy neighborhood hangouts, neighborhood cafes are a fine example of the essential “third place” mentioned in discussions of community dynamics: that place, neither work nor home, where regulars gather and everyone’s welcome.
Along with yoga studios, art galleries, community gardens, vintage clothing shops, restaurants with pedigreed owners and adventurous menus and, some say, a change in the offerings on local grocery shelves, cafes are often the earliest sign of neighborhood change. The neighborhood cafe serves as a testing ground for community cohesiveness while adventurous entrepreneurs test the still-unfamiliar waters around them. Beyond the literal gesture of offering sustenance, cafes provide a place where you can actually see who your neighbors are and appreciate the fact that at least some of them are willing to make an investment locally.
New York is known for having spectacular weddings of all shapes and sizes at every venue imaginable. Aside from the bride, the groom and the dress, flowers are often the center of attention at these affairs. And if you have attended one such wedding, Lilli Wright’s centerpieces may have graced your table. As the owner of Mimosa Floral Design Studio based in Crown Heights, Lilli has become one of the city’s most sought after florists. She recently did the flowers for a ceremony at the New York Public Library, and on another weekend she found herself designing flowers for five different weddings.
Lilli—whose full name is Lillian—has always had a flower in her name, but it wasn’t until a friend asked the then-actress to handle flowers at a wedding that she found her true calling. After a slew of floral-related adventures throughout the city, in 2010 Lilli became a bonafide Brooklyn entrepreneur when she started a flower business right out of her apartment. In June of this year, Lilli opened up a brand new storefront studio on Kingston Avenue.
6sqft recently caught up will Lilli at her Brooklyn studio to find out more about her new shop, Crown Heights’ renaissance, and why the New York wedding scene is like no other.
With its beautiful brownstones and tree-lined streets, Crown Heights was once among the city’s premier neighborhoods prior to WWII. And though much has changed in subsequent years, Heritage Equity Partners is betting on its posh roots, acquiring a controlling interest in a new development project at 564 St. John’s Place.
The deal values the property at close to $30 million and plans call for the existing parking garage to be replaced by a 130,000-square-foot residential building, most likely a rental.
Heritage has been an active buyer in Brooklyn’s hot real estate market, most recently converting a church at 163 N. Sixth St. in Williamsburg into rental apartments and a new office building at 19 Kent Ave. in the same neighborhood is in the works.
Madison Realty Capital loaned Heritage $23.5 million to make the acquisition but the total price paid to former owner Rabsky Group was not disclosed. However, Madison’s co-founder, Joshua Zegen, said his firm is in active discussions with Heritage to provide construction funding for the project.
[Via Crain’s New York]