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Clinton Hill Development Boom

New York Multifamily

As land prices in Downtown Brooklyn climb, so do prices in nearby neighborhoods. These dollar signs are especially motivating longtime landowners in Clinton Hill to sell.

Investors, too, are migrating north to the area that hosts four subway lines. Barrett Design and Development, led by Alex Barrett (above), is reinventing one of the community’s beloved properties, 4 Downing St, formerly known as the Broken Angel House, as named by the pair of artists who lived there and turned it into a house-size piece of art. (It also was the backdrop for the ’05 movie Dave Chappelle’s Block Party.) Barrett acquired the property for $4.1M in January. The four-story, 10k SF building will become eight 1,100 SF condos by Q1, and a vacant lot next door at 8 Downing will become a four-story, duplex condo building within 12 months.

Our friends at Honest Buildings clued us into the project, which has a storied history. Alex believes it was built in the late 1800s (above, it's snapped in 1939) as an eight-unit railroad apartment building (albeit uncommonly wide at 40 feet). The previous active owners, artists Arthur and Cynthia Wood, acquired it in 1979 and made it quite the single-family home. They removed floors to create a ziggurat-style interior and added artistic embellishments, including a 50-foot tower. The additions weren't in line with building codes, and the property got the attention of the city after a fire in ’07. Arthur and a partner developer started removing the code violations, but the JV had financial troubles, and eventually the bank foreclosed.

Alex and team have finished removing the illegal additions (they’re keeping others). He expects to launch sales in the fall. His company also partnered with Groundswell, which identified a local artist—Misha Tyutyunik, who lives three blocks away—and Urban Assembly Union School half a block away to work on the mural that covers the construction site fencing. The mural traces the site’s past as a farm, apartment building, Broken Angel House, and soon-to-be condos. When construction is complete, the mural will move to the school.

Dave Chappelle isn’t the only producer who likes Downing Street. One block south, at Gates Avenue, we snapped this sign indicating that The Intern is filming there tomorrow and Saturday. IMDB bills the Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro film, to be released next year, as a comedy about a fashion website that brings in an elderly intern (oh dear, Bob). More Clinton Hill developments after the jump.