615 St. John's for sale — Brooklynian

615 St. John's for sale


The little one-story shell across from Franklin Park is for sale. Ask $339k soliciting cash offers.

No affiliation, I'm just a real-estate dork. I'd love to buy it myself if I could -- it's a very good price for the land alone.

If the seller was properly motivated and a little patient in terms of time to close (which they might be if they get no cash offers fast), a 203(k) loan on the property would turn up a very nice single-family home for the price of a condo.


  • too small for anyone but someone who wants to build on there.

  • I imagine that plot is zoned R-6, meaning that one could build a six story building with one condo per floor.

    ...I'd build something short enough that an elevator was not required under the building code.

    There have been a few small "infill" buildings in the 'hood that seem to have made fiscal sense.

  • It's R6B, and needs to not exceed the buildings which surround it, meaning you could go four stories. Max buildable on the lot is 5200 square feet.

    The existing shell is 900 square feet. The lot is 2600 square feet, so even without adding floors (which one could readily do) you could extend the existing shell into a sort of "townhouse ranch".

  • I don't like the idea of having a front lawn in the city, so would tear down the existing shell, and make the new building's footprint as close to 2600 sq ft as code would allow.

    If I have 5200 to use, I would build four stories at 1300 per floor. ...with a nice roof deck, and back yard.

    I'd build condo to get my money back quickly. I'd try for 600k for the first floor and back yard, 570k for floor two, 570k for floor three, and 600k for the top floor and roof deck.

  • And you'd probably get it. The issue is that no one is giving out construction loans right now, so that would be a cash-only proposition.

    An FHA-backed 203(k) loan on the other hand (that pays off the seller and gives you money for renovations) is available to anyone with 3.5% down.

  • Could I get such a loan on new construction?

    Could I use it to build a multi unit building, that I would only occupy one unit of?

  • No. It's for improvements to existing structures only.

    You _can_ use it to renovate a multi-unit building which you would occupy one unit of.

    You _may_ be able to use it to extend an existing structure (i.e. use its foundations or existing structural components) and change the C of O to a multi-fam. This is a technique that is sometimes used to streamline a new construction by making it an "alteration".

    An example is 590 Sterling Place, which was (poorly) built on top of existing foundations and one of the exterior walls of an old two-story single-family dwelling, but there is no reason such a job has to be shoddy.

  • Another example is the half brained plan to alter the structure that is located at St Johns and Underhill.

    He was going to alter a two story building on a small lot into a 8 story building, but it lost financing and may forever be stuck because of how much he borrowed.

    ....maybe I could built a building around the one we are considering. Could that be defined as an alteration?

  • http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/housing/sfh/203k/203k--df

    "The extent of the rehabilitation covered by Section 203(k) insurance may range from relatively minor (though exceeding $5000 in cost) to virtual reconstruction: a home that has been demolished or will be razed as part of rehabilitation is eligible, for example, provided that the existing foundation system remains in place. Section 203(k) insured loans can finance the rehabilitation of the residential portion of a property that also has non-residential uses; they can also cover the conversion of a property of any size to a one- to four- unit structure."

    So you can use the existing ~1000' foundation to erect a three- or four-story building, no problem.

  • Why don't you tell MySpace about it? I'm sure they can renovate it, and find ingenious ways to fit thirty people inside.

  • MHA,

    If we know about it, they surely know about it.

  • My suspicion is that this property has title issues and/or the seller does not have a clear deed. I can't imagine any other reason for it to be a cash only deal and not having moved yet.

    The DOB records show title going back and forth between members of the same family. It might be an issue of a contested will or something along those lines.

  • As per Zillow, this place recently sold for $1.08m.  Anyone know what's going on here?
  • I missed that it was BOTD on Brownstoner last year, and had apparently traded hands twice since originally listing for $339k.

  • edited September 2014
    Just adding Brownstoner's photo to this thread, and remarking that this lot is totally big enough to build on.

  • I was hoping to buy this place a few years ago. It was in a big legal mess, first they had to find all existing relatives, then their court appointed lawyer was shifty and stealing from several estates of his elderly clients, then a dispute between relatives. One who had no rights tried to sell it for 250k and I believed had a signed contract with a buyer. The other relative was irate and they were in dispute with the buyer for a few years. They recently sold it for just over a million dollars. This is a tear down for sure. I wish I could have purchased it :( but too rich for my blood!
  • I'd like to add that I am happy the seller got a decent amount of money for the place and wasn't suckered out of her ex-home (mom's property) for next to nothing. I always wonder why some people sell their beautiful brownstones (not that this is one of them) for next to nothing.
  • The Brownstoner article from last year suggests it had an intermediate sale for ~$600k before it was sold most recently for $1m.

    I'm curious about the 'R71' zoning.  I would have expected it to be R6B.  Anyone know what the practical difference is in Crown Heights after the most recent rezoning?
  • This lot is likely too small to have the parking discussion that is inherenet in R7-1 zones, so we can get away with just takling about R7 and R6-B.



    The recent rezoning gave lots on the side streets (such as this one) height restrictions (R7), whereas the previous zoning limited the height only via the Max FAR.

    Basically, it got rid of finger buildings, which some people believe are ugly because they are not in context with the surrounding buildings.


  • edited October 2014

    The lot sold for about $1M. The little house will soon be demolished and replaced with new building.

    Details, source:
  • Building is now being demolished.
  • edited April 2016

    Going up image Btw, wouldn't it be nice if the prices @eastbloc and I jabbered about in 2011 were still the norm? Zombie thread.

    Prior view:

    615 St_ Johns Place 3-01175-0067_VlqLKxBD
  • Surprising that $1 mil was spent for the lot and they're only going up two stories. Seems like it's going to take a long time to recoup the money spent.
  • They are not finished building.  It will be four stories when they are finished.     



  • Hopefully not damaged in today's fire:   http://www.brooklynian.com/discussion/comment/569192#Comment_569192

    I don't think anyone has moved in yet.
  • Looks like occupancy will be in Early Spring, 2017.

  • edited February 2018
    That seems to have taken a 1 year longer than I thought it would. ...3 units now available via lottery. $2,250 a piece. https://streeteasy.com/blog/crown-heights-lottery-615-saint-johns-place/St-johns-place-chart-a02386
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