Monday, February 16, 2015

Rooms with a View

157 Prospect Avenue - $1,290,000

A three-story two-family house in red-hot Gowanus/South Slope has come to market just as this neighborhood's gentrification is in full swing. This contractor's special is the ideal canvas for the investor or end user looking to create income: Live in two stories while drawing income from the third, or combine all three floors to create a single-family home. Flexible floor plates allow for the renovation you choose, and the location just 50 yards to the R train at Prospect Ave, and to the entrance of the Prospect Expressway, make for excellent accessibility to Manhattan and Brooklyn.


I'm not entirely sure that proximity to the expressway is such a great selling point in this instance. Here's a shot of the view from the front door of 157

though I guess from the upper floors you'll get better views of the BQE merge!  If we pull back a bit, we can see the house facing the expressway,

and here's a wider angle of the block, looking down from Fourth.

There are no interior pictures of 157 on the Corcoran site, & "contractor's special" suggests it needs work.  There are no kitchens indicated in the floorplans.  The house is twenty feet wide, and only twenty-two feet deep, and the backyard space looks small.  If it weren't over a million dollars, and if it weren't facing the expressway, this could be a nice old home to settle into, but I'd say the ifs here are significant.  But ah, let's look at Prospect in the summer of 1940, before Mr. Moses got to work across the street.  Wouldn't this southern side of the avenue be a fine view to face?

July 1940,  Percy Loomis Sperr (NYPL Digital Collections)

July 1940, Percy Loomis Sperr (NYPL Digital Collections)

Going back even earlier, a photograph from 1926 shows the same side of the block looking up from Third, and identifies nos. 136 and 132 as the Congregation B'Nai Jacob and the Hebrew School, but it's possible that the building was (at least originally) the Salem Swedish Lutheran Church, which moved to 46th Street at an unspecified date?

June 1926, Brown Brothers (NYPL Digital Collections)

What a handsome-looking block this once was!  By 1941, the southern side of the street was gone.

October 1941, Percy Loomis Sperr  (NYPL Digital Collections)

Here's the view today.

Despite the less-than-charming situation, real estate action is lively around here. 189 - 195 Prospect Avenue (Fourth & Fifth) recently sold for 8 million, and the same buyer is apparently in contract for the purchase of the adjoining site at 575-581 Fourth at 7.5 million.  573 Fourth, sold in 2010 for $900,000 with a carriage house still standing on the lot, is now up for sale at 5 million, with the carriage house demolished and plans in place for a nine-storey-plus penthouse building on a skinny twenty-two foot lot. Also on Prospect between Fourth & Fifth, 270 Prospect recently sold for $2,075,000 (asking price $1,900,000) and next-door 207A sold last month. for $1,500,000 (asking price $1,700,000).  Between Fourth & Third, up the block from 157, no. 169 sold in January for $998,000 (below the asking price of $1,299,000) and a sign outside no. 173, listed for sale at $950,000, declares the building to be in contract.

Earlier, on Prospect:
Excellent Location and Views
A Familiar Tale on Fourth
Following Up
At the End of the Avenue

Update:  Hey, look!  157 in a Google driveby!

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