Prospect Heights Landmark District Shell 499K


IF LOCATION REALLY WERE EVERYTHING in real estate, what’s left of this 1850s frame house on lovely Carlton Avenue would have been snapped up long ago — maybe a couple of years back when when the asking price was 899K, or when it dropped to 699K — even though it’s in truly nightmarish condition.(Someone should shoot a scary movie there while there’s still time.)


I’ve seen some daunting rehab projects in my time, but this one ranks with the dauntingest. Uninhabited for thirty years, the three-story building is just about standing. The rear extension is falling in on itself altogether, and the top floor was cordoned off at Sunday’s open house, where a steady stream of the curious, including myself, were asked to sign release forms before entering, just in case anyone should fall through the floorboards or get beaned by a piece of falling ceiling.


Having seen the post about the house on Brownstoner last week, and read through the many comments — equal parts conjecture and fear-mongering, probably well-founded (though if there’s mold, that would be the least of it) — I just had to take a look.


For one thing, it’s right around the corner from my apartment. For another, it’s 2011, and my acquisitive urge is beginning to stir. I bought investment properties in 2005 (Philadelphia), 2007 (Philadelphia), 2009 (East Hampton, N.Y.) and if I’m to stay on schedule, this would be my year to add to the portfolio.


But this is not a project for me, alas. I don’t have the resources, the stomach, or the patience to deal with Landmarks. Also, on the minus side, the house is petite — 20’x25′, though it could be built out to 60% of its 20’x80′ lot. The building next door is equally derelict, and that one’s not for sale, so the house, even when spiffed up, will be adjacent to an asphalt-covered eyesore.


On the plus side, besides its location in prime Prospect Heights…well, that’s about it for the plus side.


Will the right buyer come along at the unheard-of-around-these-parts price of 499K?


About cara

I blog for fun at, and write about architecture, interiors, gardens and travel for many national magazines and websites. My recently published posts and articles can be found here:
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7 Responses to Prospect Heights Landmark District Shell 499K

  1. Terry says:

    How could it be abandoned for 30 years? In my neighborhood it’s usually inheritance issues. It really needs that tree to leaf out.

  2. cara says:

    Something like that, I think. It needs more than the tree leafing out…

  3. Cher@NR says:

    horrible condition. I don’t know if this place is salvageable? Cut the selling price in half and I’m sure buyers would be interested, but $899k? I guess you are paying for the lot. If it’s in the landmark district does that mean it can’t be torn down? Only restored?

  4. cara says:

    It’s 499K now, after a couple of reductions. Right, Cher, it can’t be torn down, must be restored according to the guidelines and regulations of the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission, which increases costs considerably for the homeowner but is good for the aesthetics of the neighborhood!

  5. derelict debre says:

    I kind of love it. Your photos are so evocative; I want someone to do a fashion shoot in there and preserve the current interior digitally.

  6. Danae O says:

    This is isn’t such a great location and thats adds to hurdle of selling. Perhaps you haven’t heard, since you’re new to the neighborhood – there’s a small development project happening two blocks away called Atlantic Yards. Carlton Avenue will be one of the routes for cars driving to the giant parking lot at Carlton and Dean. The unknown about the lot must certainly be a factor, though I think the biggest is that the house is attached to another decrepit place that could collapse or go up in flames at any moment.

  7. cara says:

    hi Danae, thanks for weighing in. Right now the location is perfectly lovely, except, as you point out, for the decrepit house next door. I may be new to Prospect Heights, but I own a building in Boerum Hill a block from the other end of Atlantic Yards, so I’m well aware of it and long opposed to it, but what can ya do. Increased traffic on Carlton would be a huge bummer, no question. All that is why the house is on the market for 499K, but even that may be too high a hurdle.

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