New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine July/August 2020 free digital issue

HABITAT

PARK SLOPE

Valet car parking? Bike storage? So 2015.

Haysha Deitsch, embroiled in lawsuits over his eviction of disabled senior citizens, is moving ahead with his latest project, a luxury condominium on Fourth Avenue, the so-called Canyon of Mediocrity that runs between Park Slope and Gowanus in Brooklyn.

If Deitsch’s demolition permit is granted, two auto repair shops, at 243 and 245 Fourth Avenue, will be razed and replaced with an 11-story structure containing 16 luxury condo apartments, DNAinfo reports. The architect Karl Fischer will design the building, which will include a pet spa, private roof deck and children’s playroom.

Meanwhile, Deitsch continues to fight a lawsuit brought after he evicted all but a handful of the senior citizens living in an assisted-living facility he owns at 1 Prospect Park West. Deitch’s sale of the facility for $76 million has been blocked until that lawsuit is resolved.

It's been a few months since we've heard any noise coming from Park Slope about the Pavilion Theater condo conversion project. Locals gave the first renderings a resounding thumbs down, likening the design to a penitentiary in Sunset Park. It was back to the drawing board for Hidrock Realty, which got the nod to proceed from Community Board 6's Landmarks and Land Use Committee — on the condition that architects tone down the design. The committee asked to see a less bright brick color and for the five-story building to be set back so it looks less bulky and more in line with the neighborhood's late 19th-century architecture. According to DNAinfo, Hidrock Realty is ready with its revised plans. "The tweaked renderings show that Morris Adjmi Architects made several changes, including setting back the fifth floor of the proposed six-story condo building by 6 feet and making the cornice more prominent to blend in better with neighboring buildings on Bartel-Pritchard Square," reports DNAinfo, adding that "the brick color for the building has been warmed up, and some of the windows in the ground-floor commercial space are now smaller." Will it cut the mustard for Community Board 6 members and other community activists? Well, according to the report, neighbors said Monday "they appreciated Hidrock's revisions, but want the developer to make even more changes." 

It's been a while since we last heard about Hidrock Realty's plans to convert the Pavilion Theater in Park Slope into 24 condos, a retail space, a 16-car parking garage and a "high-quality" cinema. Well, the first renderings are out and locals are giving the developer a good old-fashioned New York thumbs down. According to DNAinfo, "locals slammed the proposed design for a new five-story condo building next to the Pavilion Theater at a meeting Thursday [last week], with some comparing the new structure to a 'penitentiary in Sunset Park.'" Ouch. Although Community Board 6's Landmarks and Land Use Committee gave Hidrock Realty's plans the green light, it did so on the condition that architects tone down the design. The committee wants to see a less bright brick color and for the five-story building to be set back so it looks less bulky. "The base of new building should be more reflective of the residential character of Bartel-Pritchard Square," said Community Board 6 member Jerry Armer to DNAinfo. Although the developer's architects and preservation consultants insist "that they had tried to design the new condo building to echo Park Slope's famed late 19th century architecture," it looks like Hidrock is going back to the drawing board. "A spokesman for Hidrock said the developer is 'optimistic' that the design can be tweaked in response to locals' concerns," DNAinfo reported. Meanwhile, the "Landmarks Preservation Commission will review Hidrock's plans Aug. 4 and the developer will also need a zoning variance from the Board of Standards and Appeals to move the project forward."

Rendering: Hidrock Realty

Living in New York means getting used to seeing places come and go. Sometimes when a place goes, however, you wonder what took so long. The Pavilion Theater in Park Slope was never a great place. It wasn't horrible, either. In fact, for all its faults and imperfections, it was a godsend to those who lived within walking distance or a stop or two on the F train. The sulky teenage staff and cramped seats were a small price to pay for convenience. The Pavilion is hardly a landmark, but it sits in a historic district, so that it has lasted this long — as the neighborhood's demographic changed and prices skyrocketed — is kind of remarkable. That it's lasted this long even after a bedbug scare and increasing complaints about questionable customer service is, in every sense of the word, incredible. But you see where we're going with this, don't you? DNAinfo reports that "developer Hidrock Realty will renovate the inside of the landmarked Pavilion to create 24 condos inside, as well as a retail space and 16-car parking garage." And a "'high-quality' theater will replace the historic cinema." 

Photo by Kate Leonova for Property Shark 

Sometimes living in a small building can be both blessing and curse. It certainly seems to be the case for a group of shareholders in a six-unit brownstone co-op in Park Slope, Brooklyn. The blessing is that they have a rear garden and in that rear garden is a weeping cherry tree. And most of the shareholders absolutely love the tree. Most of them. The shareholders who live in the garden apartment? Not so much. The tree's large roots make the backyard uneven, you see, and that makes for wibbly wobbly chairs and tables. "They recently told the board that they plan to shave a 12-foot-long root to level the area and then cover the ground in flagstone," a concerned shareholder tells Ronda Kaysen in this week's "Ask Real Estate" column in The New York Times. "An arborist told them that doing this could kill the tree. Removing the dead tree would cost around $8,000," the shareholder adds.

How do you like this frigid weather? Early this morning, it was one whole degree Fahrenheit in Central Park. You might have to get used to it because it looks like there's more extreme weather in our future thanks to climate change. Brooklyn Magazine reported that a dispatch from Mayor Bill de Blasio's office says the five boroughs are about to get swampy and more… underwater. According to the mayor's report, projected sea levels will rise 11 to 21 inches by the 2050s. Park Slope can actually become an island. Does that mean there's a Survivor: Park Slope in our future? Okay, okay, a more serious question. What's the mayor doing about this grim news? "He’s vowed to cut greenhouse gas emissions and has a plan in place to gird the shoreline of the city against future extreme weather events," according to Brooklyn Magazine

Park Slope's architecture is most certainly one of the factors that make this area of Brooklyn such a desirable place to live. The buildings in this neighborhood have character — even those that fall into disrepair. Such is the case with the five-story building at 187 Seventh Avenue, at Second Street. It was once owned by Dorothy Nash, reports The New York Times, who "also operated the Landmark Pub [there] until the late 1990s. [She] moved out at some point." Covered in graffiti, dilapidated and with most of its roof missing, it was considered an eyesore by many. Luckily, Sugar Hill Capital Partners, the developers who snapped it up for $4.2 million in 2013 after it was threatened with foreclosure, has decided to invest an additional $6 million to restore it and build four three-bedroom condos, along with an elevator, lobbies, and retail space. According to The Times, the condos, "called 2ND7TH, will be completed in the fall and went on the market this month, with prices starting at $3.198 million." 

Photo by Kate Leonova for Property Shark.

Prices in Brooklyn continue to skyrocket, and more of the locations that make Brooklyn so charming and engaging to new residents continue to disappear. Even landmarks have to make way for all those new condos. And another one just bit the dust, reports the New York Daily News. The historic Brooklyn Lyceum on 227 4th Avenue — which was originally a public bathhouse and most recently a performance venue — is going condo. According to the Daily News, former owner Eric Richmond fell behind on mortgage payments, which opened the door for real estate developer Greystone. The developer snapped up the Fourth Avenue landmark for $7.6 million at a foreclosure auction in October last year, and will be converting the space into high-end townhouse-style homes. Alas, no more eccentric musical acts by independent artists. But there is a silver lining: the building's "celebrated façade, which still features stucco and terra-cotta dolphins dating back to the building's bathhouse days, will remain intact."

Photo by Kate Leonova for Property Shark.

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, a co-op board takes away a parking space from a little old lady with Parkinson's, saying her car's insurance and registration had lapsed — they hadn't — and that the car didn't run ... so they took away the spot while the car was in the garage to, y'know, run. Doesn't sound like the board's running on all cylinders, either. Same might be said on Fifth Avenue, where a co-op board president who lost a bid for an apartment in her building allegedly decided no one else could buy it, either. Plus, Patrick Stewart makes it so with a condo buy in Brooklyn.

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