Open Thread Wednesday

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  • Jorale-man

    Interesting point. I’ve seen that same effect on Sydney Place and Garden Place. One after one, the houses on those blocks are getting full makeovers. Sometimes they go so far as to fix the cracked sidewalks and keep up their landscaping, other times they’re semi-absentee owners who seem less concerned about the exteriors.

    There have also been a couple of Brooklyn Law School dorms that have converted to co-ops or rentals in the area with a similar effect. Fewer young people – but also fewer loud drunks at night!

  • Cranberry Beret

    I have no dog in the fight over the accuracy of the city’s data, but in response to your comments, here’s what their report says:

    1. Data is for CofO’s issued from 1/1/2010 to 6/30/2020.

    2. Yes, BK-CB2 overall is one of the biggest growth areas in the city, but the map is detailed enough to show that within CB2, the “central Heights” [see my comment below on this definition] had a net decrease in the time period studied. (The report doesn’t say which kind of land area within a Community District they’re using, but it looks like census tracts or something similar.)

    3. What “central Heights” means is a good question. The map shows a decrease in the area bounded north-south by Pineapple to Joralemon. East-west is harder to say – can’t tell at all how BBP developments are treated on this map. Looking at the map more carefully, it does appear to show growth east of Clinton. So that would be the Montague buildings you mention.

    As to your last comment, neither of us is looking at the actual underlying data, but let me offer a contrary view as to how many units might have been lost and how quickly it can add up.

    One only needs to assume that 5 houses each year were 2-family, got sold, and converted to 1-family. That’s a loss of 50 units over 10 years right there. In reality, there are more than 5 houses sold each year in the Heights (admittedly, some may already be 1-family so no conversion happens), and some that do get converted are going from 3 or 4 family down to 1-family.

    My point is: you don’t need to have very aggressive assumptions to see how > 50 units could get lost to conversions over 10 years.

  • Mike Suko

    Thank you for the dialog. As it happens, I passed the “Instrata” today and found myself thinking, “I missed that one.” But there are 2 things at work here that I’ll focus on:

    1) the City admits explicitly that the data is dirty. I won’t be snarky, but what started with Bloomberg is probably severely de-emphasized in the 7 years since he handed over the reins.
    2) True, there are some genuinely affordable (rent stabilized) apts among the many casualties in a decade, but – one way and the other – Brooklyn Heights long since ceased to be a place where people of limited means looked for an apartment. I don’t say that smugly or gleefully – it’s just that what happened at 1 Clinton – their getting their height variances by building in Clinton Hill – is the way it is.

    If you think we’re in crisis – and I wouldn’t argue that for a second – the Heights has to get a pass, because everything housing-related in 11201 is like rearranging the chairs on the deck of the Titanic. (Somebody with a $2500 2BR in the Hts who is forced out by a rich family eliminating the rentals … will move to a $2500 1BR not too far away, more than likely.)

  • CassieVonMontague

    People are calling Sanitation and they’re saying a lot of workers are out with Covid. A news organization should look into this.

  • Steve R.

    No dog in this for me either but I just cant see where the density of BH isn’t increasing… by a lot. Even if we double your hypothesis of over 50 units being lost to conversions in 10 years and assume 100 have been lost, you have to, as someone already said, “trust your eyes”. At the end of Henry St alone, there are now 2 buildings (where the movie theater was and where the community paper bldg was, next to Noodle Pudding) which didn’t even exist. Add all of the bldgs in BB Park (4). How about the corner of State and Hicks? And, how about Montegue St itself, corner of Clinton and next door going toward Court St? And Clinton between Montegue and Remsen? All high rises, accounting for hundreds of new apartments. Not exactly “affordable housing”, but neither were the converted brownstone floor thrus.

  • Cranberry Beret

    Yes The City did a report on this, the day after my post.

    I feel sorry for the workers who got sick.

    Yet another example of our bungled vaccine rollout. There are whole categories of office workers in “essential” agencies who’ve been eligible for a couple of months, but on-the-ground workers (think sanitation, parks, etc) who are the critical last mile in delivering city services are still left out.

  • Cranberry Beret

    FWIW, all of those buildings you mention are outside the zones on the map that show decreased units (Pineapple to Joralemon, Clinton to Furman).

    The central brownstone blocks are losing units, the edges of the neighborhood are gaining.

  • Steve R.

    Yes, except for those high rises on Clinton between Montegue and Remsen, which alone have more than 50 units. And, while we’re at it, the original post was about a brownstone conversion on State St, outside that zone as well– the general idea behind this thread (I thought) was whether BH was shrinking in units, not just the data subset you then focused on. But, okay — I think we can agree that brownstone conversions to single family dwellings result in fewer brownstone apartments. I’m just not sure why, given surrounding housing development increases, that this means anything for the neighborhood in general.