TODAY MY COUSIN AND I WENT ON A RECONNAISSANCE MISSION to Bedford-Stuyvesant, often considered the last repository of affordable brownstones in Brooklyn. I hadn’t been that way in years, and it looked good. Less garbage on the streets than in Prospect Heights right now; a number of For Sale signs, but not too many; signs of construction here and there; and, by the looks of things, few houses left in need of total rehab — at least on the blocks we visited — which was not the case a decade ago.
We were pressed for time and made a quick pass through the gorgeous, landmarked filet of the neighborhood, Stuyvesant Heights, with its notable mansions and long, unbroken lines of elegant brownstones. Then we did some drive-bys on Macon Street, in what I think is called Bedford Corners, a proposed landmark district. I guess that’s the next best thing.
A Daily News article a few months back piqued my interest in Bed-Stuy for investment. I was curious, as always, to see what could be had at the bottom of the market (since I doubt I can raise a mortgage on anything but). There was one house for 365K on the Corcoran site with no picture, but an address. This is it:
116 Macon (in the middle), right off Marcy Avenue, is narrow and no beauty. Its facade is crumbling, as is the one next door. It’s a legal four-family “in need of complete rehab.” Taxes are an outrage at $5,882/year. And that’s what you can get for 365K (asking) in Bed-Stuy. Not for me. If I were to buy in Bed-Stuy, I would want a pretty house as much as a profitable one.
For more pics and info, go here.
It turns out that 352 Macon, above, a couple blocks closer to the historic district, is in contract, as are many Bed-Stuy listings on Flateau Realty’s 1-4 family page.
It’s a classic brownstone, in need of a face-lift but with fine interior details, above and below, like many Bed-Stuy houses. It’s of average size (20’x40′), a four-story building with three apartments. It “needs some TLC but has good bones.” The price was apparently right at 625K, or close to it, and that’s why it’s been spoken for.
To see more, click here.
Across the street, 359 Macon (red door), is less house — three stories, legal 2-family — and not as attractive on the outside, but with a lot of nice original woodwork, below, inside. The seller is asking 689K because it’s in move-in (rent-in?) condition, with the excessively shiny floors that are the hallmark of many a new renovation.
For more pics and info, go here.
All in all, an instructive day. I’ll go back when it’s not 15 degrees.
To learn more about Bed-Stuy and keep up with what’s happening there, check out Bed-Stuy Blog. One recent post is about the Historic Districts Council, a citywide advocacy group for historic buildings and neighborhoods, naming Bed-Stuy as one of six NYC neighborhoods that merit preservation priority.
From the HDC press release:
The Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhood contains an astonishing number of architecturally, historically and culturally significant structures, including rowhouses, mansions, religious buildings, and schools dating from the 19th and early 20th centuries. Although there are currently two designated historic districts in the area, the vast majority of Bedford Stuyvesant’s architectural splendor is unprotected. The recently-formed Bedford Stuyvesant Society for Historic Preservation, a coalition of concerned neighborhood block associations, and the landmarks committee of Brooklyn Community Board 3 are working to correct that.