HABITAT

SUNSET PARK

Meet New York’s “Mr. Solar”

Written by Marianne Schaefer on July 27, 2017

Sunset Park, Brooklyn

“How could co-ops not do this?”

A $2 million townhouse sale in neighborhood that spawned the co-op movement.

Sunset Park Co-op Let the Sun Shine In

Written by Marianne Schaefer on December 29, 2016

Sunset Park

Unique loan allows co-op to go solar for no money down.

Brooklyn co-op becomes city’s first to benefit from new solar financing model.

"Just Do It"

Written by Tom Soter on June 22, 2016

Sunset Park

A dedicated co-op board president tackles a long-overdue roof project in Brooklyn.

Happy 100th Birthday, Co-ops!

Written by Bill Morris on April 12, 2016

Sunset Park

In 1916, the nation’s first nonprofit housing cooperative was born in Brooklyn.

It’s known as the Castle, for good reason. Built in 1886 as the NYPD’s 68th precinct house, it’s an ornate Romanesque Revival brick fortress with a crenellated turret gazing down at the intersection of Fourth Avenue and 43rd Street in the Sunset Park section of Brooklyn. After the NYPD decamped in the 1970s, the building went into a steep decline.

Yosef Streicher has announced that his HS Realty Associates, which purchased the former precinct house and adjacent stables for $6 million last summer, is planning to restore the derelict Castle to its original glory – and build a structure on the site that will house condominium apartments.

“My plan is to do a commercial space, possibly a child-care facility, in the basement and first floor, then add 10 to 15 condos,” Streicher told Habitat. “We’re going to build above the stable and we’re aiming for a total of 40,000 square feet.”

Streicher’s first hurdle will be the Landmarks Preservation Commission, which gave landmark status to the exteriors of both buildings in the 1980s. In 2011 the commission fined the previous owner, the non-profit Brooklyn Chinese American Association, for “failure to maintain the building.”

Streicher expects cooperation from the commission. “We’re trying to bring value to the community,” he says.

Considering the hefty price tags on some of the ultra-luxury units in super posh condos being constructed all over the city, you kind of expect a lot of bang for your buck — if you're one of the lucky buyers, of course. And developers are looking to deliver just that. Take one of the apartments planned for 53W53, an ultra-luxury residential tower being built next to the Museum of Modern Art. Well, take all of the apartments in that building. Each apartment's layout needs to accommodate the unusual architectural elements of the asymmetrical, 1,050-foot tower designed by Jean Nouvel, reports The New York Times, which will "taper as it rises like a shard of glass." So how do you figure out how the pieces of this very expensive puzzle will ultimately fit together? In the case of 53W53, you build a full-scale mock-up of a $10 million apartment in an industrial section of Sunset Park, Brooklyn, and start working out all the kinks. The Times explains that the prototype functions as a lab of sorts, so developers can troubleshoot "most of the challenges posed by the building’s unusual design." How cool is that? 

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, there's no bigger news for boards than of the legislative mess in Albany that will send co-op and condo property taxes sky-high unless Gov. Cuomo and company take action. On the Upper East Side, a co-op board sues a sponsor that won't let go even after 24 years, a doorman charges a management company with allowing racist rants, there's power from the sun in Sunset Park and much more.

Set on a quiet street opposite Sunset Park in Brooklyn, the 1920s vintage Sun Garden Homes, a 70-unit, working-class co-op, installed a photovoltaic solar-power system in November on its sprawling, 12,500-square-foot roof. We've written about how the co-op board came to the decision to go solar, a move expected to save 30 percent on energy costs. The next step: How do condo and co-op boards pay for it?

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