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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Photo Wedns 06/10/09: Developers Building Brooklyn Blight

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I've moved back further into Brooklyn to Crown Heights recently. Traversing the area I've been shocked at how much construction has gone on in Crown Heights and frequently much of that construction looks like this photo:
Incomplete left to blight on New York Ave & Lefferts Ave
(above: from the intersection of Lefferts and New York Avenues)

The first thing that struck me was the size, but the impact of that view was quickly replaced by the obvious fact that the site had long been neglected. I turned to a resident that had been standing in her yard nearby as I snapped pictures and I asked, "how long has that (pointing to the building) been like that?"

Disgust hissed from her lips and she replied, "for years, more than three. They ran out of money and left it there."

The rust stains seem to support the resident's statement as well as googlemaps which tend to built from images months to years old. Google's imagemap shows a sign that didn't exist when I was there a few weeks ago. Can you imagine what it does to your property values to live across the street from this for years? Which says nothing of what it does to your sense of well-being to live with that eye-sore.
Incomplete left to blight on New York Ave & Lefferts Ave
You can tell by the photos that they didn't even finish the exterior walls. Did they not have enough funding to complete even the outer walls which would help protect the interior structure from the elements? Which brings up a question in my mind; Is there no requirement that a developer has the money to complete a project before they are allowed to erect it?

(Additional) I just found a post on Brownstoner from this January past, describing this building:
"...the developer (of) 393 Lefferts Avenue in Crown Heights Prospect Lefferts Gardens(*) has put the partially-constructed seven-story building on the market. Asking price: $8,500,000. This comes out to an average price of $257,576 for each of the 33 apartments, or somewhere between $200 and $250 per foot depending on which square footage estimate you believe."
The Daily News has a story about these condos from 2006 gleefully proclaiming that (Brooklyn Real Estate was):
"So hot that condo developers are seeking building sites even in Prospect Lefferts Gardens"
the Daily News article goes on to an interview with "Steve Rosenberg" who they credit as developer of the incomplete condos above.

*They also give the historically accurate boundaries of Prospect-Lefferts Gardens ("The boundaries of the eight-block area are Lincoln Road, Flatbush Ave., Fenimore St. and Rogers Ave." for those making their maps at home) while ignoring the fact that this construction site is outside those bounds.

**I won't wade into the border wars on for this part of Brooklyn, except to say that in my three plus Brooklyn decades, being that near to Empire Blvd meant you were on the south border of Crown Heights. "Lefferts Gardens" (no
Prospect) was always referred to by people I spoke with as ending at Bedford Av, west of that intersection. Conversely, I've heard that area has been referred to Crown Heights or Flatbush until you reach Kings County Hospital at which point we'd say East Flatbush.

So how is this:
Incomplete left to blight on New York Ave & Lefferts Ave
...allowed to happen?

This question also relates to my post yesterday about Atlantic Yards, since the developer there has millions of dollars riding on being able to break ground this year and so what defines "breaking ground"? Does it mean having the resources to finish or simply enough money and materials to drive a stake deep into Brooklyn and her heart?

Does anyone know the answer and what if anything our local elected officials in the City Council have to say about this?


  1. No desire to start border wars, but the boundaries cited in the article [Lincoln Road, Flatbush Ave., Fenimore St. and Rogers Ave.]are those of Lefferts Manor, established in 1893 as a single-family enclave and, for the last 40 years, within Prospect-Lefferts Gardens--Empire Blvd., on the north, to Clarkson Ave., on the south and Ocean Avenue, on the west, to New York Avenue on the east. I've lived in the neighborhood for slightly longer than the writer's "three plus Brooklyn decades"and know what I'm writing about. Prospect-Lefferts Gardens IS the northernmost part of Flatbush, so it's perfectly correct to refer to it by that name as well. It shares a community planning district with Crown Heights South (across Empire Blvd.), but has never been part of that neighborhood, although there is frequent confusion about that. To confuse things even further, the unfinished building pictured here appears to have been designed for the Hassidic population of Crown Heights, as evidenced by the uncovered "kosher" balconies, suitable for holding a sukkah.

  2. Oh, BTW, my comment should not be taken to mean that I disagree with the basic premise that unfinished eyesores like this are a disgrace, about which something must be done.

  3. After some reflection, maybe I should have let you ascribe this eyesore to Crown Heights:-) PLG certainly doesn't need this pile of crap, but then neither does anywhere else.

  4. besides their budget being exhausted, perhaps said developer wanted to prevent squatters to take up residence in the interum btween selling the property or recovering more investors?
    I wonder if bldg inspections are done by the city to ensure that the structure, in its exposed state, doesnt present a danger to the community.(ie:structural integrity) I would start a petition for the local leadership


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