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Fort Greene: Brooklyn's Next Hot Spot? (Part 2)

Fort Greene has been settled since the 1600s, and its residential streets aren't likely to change drastically any time soon. But the creative investor can unearth opportunities. For Part 1 of our then-and-now tour of the community, click here.

We walked the neighborhood with New York Historical Tours' Kevin Draper and Eastern Consolidated's Adelaide Polsinelli and Ben Tapper. This block of Fulton between Fort Greene Place and South Elliott Place shows the wide sidewalks that make the neighborhood so appealing to Adelaide, as well as the retail and resi vibe that reminds her of Greenwich Village when it was on the rise in the '80s and '90s (not to mention the Vanagon parked at the far corner if you squint). No doubt this area is on the rise, as we counted four residential brokerage offices within two blocks.

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Nothing says Lower East Side like split-level retail. The difference between that bohemian neighborhood and this one is that Fort Greene is largely African-American. The City's acceptance of the local arts culture smooths over community relations, easing the way for development, our guides tell us. It also helps that the F train running under Fulton prevents large-scale development above it; this is how this block will always look, Ben says. All the better to picture the celebrities who come from Fort Greene. Spike Lee's production company is three blocks away; Michael Jordan, Branford Marsalis, and Chris Rock were raised nearby; Walt Whitman edited the Brooklyn Eagle near here; and Al Capone was born and formed his first gang on Fort Greene Place.

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This building is just so Brooklyn. Note the Not Ray's Pizza and Biggie Smalls' “Spread love” lyric. Around the corner, a two-story mural of Notorious B.I.G. that's reminiscent of Che Guevara (done for Habana Outpost) was finished in 2011.

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Along the residential streets, 308 and 306 Clermont tell a story of rising real estate values. Each sold for $1.7M, but 308 (on the left, meticulously renovated in '07) sold a year ago and 306 (on the right, in much worse shape) sold last month at auction for the same amount.

And though much of Fort Greene is impervious to new development, investors can get creative, Ben says. At 237 Cumberland, a December 2012 buyer figured out how to get spacious horizontal units out of narrow plots. He bought a pair of neighboring townhouses and merged them, turning the combined properties into four 46-foot-wide units. Ben tells us one sold recently for $1.6M, or $985/SF, more than twice what the Clermont properties sold for.

Prospect Park is commonly considered Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux's follow-up to Central Park, but, Kevin says, the pair designed Forte Geene Park (above) in between. The 30-acre park's hilly topography, though, is more similar to northern Central Park and Fort Tryon Park. As for that massive Prison Ship Martyrs Monument, designed by McKim Mead & White's Stanford White, here's how it came to be: The British held Revolutionary War prisoners on ships at Wallabout Basin and buried the dead in mass graves on site. During construction 100 years later on what was then the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Kevin says, the bones of 11,000 soldiers were moved and now reside under this monument. (But let's wait until the kids are older to tell them.)

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CPEX's Team-Based Approach

Most commercial real estate firms works in teams, so what distinguishes the team-based approach at CPEX Real Estate Services? There, each team focuses solely on one particular property type (like Stephen Safina on multifamily sales and Andre Sigourney on retail sales). This unique operating platform, the only one of its kind in the commercial real estate marketplace, assures that property owners and real estate investors will have the most knowledgeable and experienced team working to achieve their real estate objectives. Whether it's multifamily sales, retail leasing, retail sales, development and conversion sales, industrial sales and leasing, mixed-use sales, or office sales and leasing, all of CPEX's teams serve as specialists with a greater understanding of the current state of their particular markets and how they can benefit their clients. For more on our sponsor, click here.

Williamsburg's Largest Luxury Rental All Leased Up

It took Heller Org's Adam Heller and team just nine months to lease up the 351 units across four connected towers at Halcyon Management's 101 Bedford, and that was with minimal incentives (just paying brokerage fees for a few winter months). Heller could have leased the units just fine (each tower was released two month apart) without the “sick amenity package” (sick is a good thing in Millennial vernacular), Adam says, considering the condo finishes, location next to McCarren Park, and crazy views of the Manhattan skyline.

But the remarkably low number of units coming up for renewal a year in tell him the 50k SF of amenities was worth it for Halcyon. What residents get: pool (four skylights), hot tub, steam room, music and video recording room, PGA golf simulator, wine-tasting room, courtyard, 29-seat movie theater, dog-washing station, game room, business center, library, parking, roof deck with a mini beach, cold storage, on-site ATMs, and fitness center with spin, Pilates, and yoga classes.

Bisnow NY Power Women Party Aug. 12

Bisnow has combed the news and bent the ears of market pros to find the women in NYC commercial real estate who've made the biggest impact and have the most influence. These ladies prove that the only way a glass ceiling should exist is if they request one (for LEED points). We'll write them up in early August and then proudly honor them Aug. 12 (as we honored DC Power Women, to the right, in January) at the Helen Mills Event Space and Theater. Grab your ticket here for two hours of networking, open bar, hors d'oeuvres, and a live band.

What's your favorite secret spot in Brooklyn? Email amanda.metcalf@bisnow.com.



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