December 13, 2014. Both 115 & 117 sport identical No Littering signs in their windows.
Will the sign at 115 come down before today's Open House?
One of the properties listed this week in the South Slope News Open House Roundup is a single-family house at 115 16th Street, on the market for $1,149,000 (recently reduced from $1,200,000) I was interested in this one, as I've often photographed this little house and its next door neighbor, at 117. They're nice little houses, but have been neglected over the years. They're 14 feet wide and 22 feet deep. According to Corcoran floorplans, 115 has a small, seven foot wide extension & its square footage is given online as 795 sq. ft. The lot size is listed as 565 sq. ft. The Corcoran website for this property mentions a garden, but doesn't show one on the floorplan.
115 & 117 (2011)
You can see the two houses, complete with awnings, in a 1930 Percy Loomis Sperr photograph.
NYPL Visual Gallery
The finances on these properties look murky. One Carlyle Ebanks bought both houses from the same owner in 2006 - 115 for $445,000 and 117 for $435,000. Ebanks resold 117 just months later for $625,000 to an Althea Winston. Winston transferred the deed later in 2006 to 450 Carlton & Prospect LLC. This spring the property changed hands again for $20,000, to Aota LLC. 115 was put on the market several times in 2006 and 2013 but did not sell. Ebanks held on to it until a year ago, when he sold it to Magab Inc. for $320,000 - a rather surprising price given property appreciation in the six years since he bought it. For what it's worth, Ebanks was convicted of in 2010 of second-degree grand-larceny and multiple counts of falsifying business records in 2010 through his involvement in a straw buyer scheme.
117's condition looks particularly dire, and the DOB site reveals this discouraging (open ) violation:
FAIL TO MAINTAIN BLDG WALL OR APPURTENANCES. NOTED APPROX 30% OF ROOF UF MISSING. FRONT FACADE HAS SEVERAL CRACKS.
If you had a million-dollars-plus to buy yourself a piece of hot Gowanus, you might just think twice about buying next-door to a house in such dire condition. You might take a serious look at the condition of the freshly renovated "sweet and cozy" 115. You might look across at the demolition site across the street and consider what splendid building will be coming in there soon. You might think twice about living anywhere close to a prime corner lot on Fourth Avenue, which is doubtless lusted after by any number of real-estate developers, You might wonder at the price-tags realtors are putting on houses like this.
This stuff is unreal.