Flatbush ave mixed-use buildings - Brooklynian

Flatbush ave mixed-use buildings

Here's something I hadn't seen yet: a developer wants to add on to a Flatbush ave mixed use building. 

These buildings seem to be plentiful on Flatbush ave south of Parkside - storefront with 2 floor through apartments above. What shocks me is how many of the apartments are boarded up or covered by giant billboards. Surely these are 2 bedroom apartments, going for about $1500-$2000 each these days, even considering the noise level of living on a busy street. 
If any street in the area were ripe for more housing, it would be Flatbush, which is already about as lively as can be - you're not going to bother many people with construction or new residents there. 

Comments

  • edited July 2015
    Here's something I hadn't seen yet: a developer wants to add on to a Flatbush ave mixed use building. 

    These buildings seem to be plentiful on Flatbush ave south of Parkside - storefront with 2 floor through apartments above. What shocks me is how many of the apartments are boarded up or covered by giant billboards. Surely these are 2 bedroom apartments, going for about $1500-$2000 each these days, even considering the noise level of living on a busy street. 
    If any street in the area were ripe for more housing, it would be Flatbush, which is already about as lively as can be - you're not going to bother many people with construction or new residents there. 
    ...unless the construction is on Flatbush Avenue. LOL Flatbush already has enough congestion (and it affects the B41).
  • Yea, Flatbush Ave is already quite a hot mess. But with construction down by Flatbush/Lefferts Ave and at the 626 Flatbush site, traffic seems to have adjusted as well as can be expected. I suppose it will do the same here.

    Personally, I'm excited to get an idea as to what this building will look like.
  • A lot of those apartments above the stores are boarded up because they're used for storage or for the office of the business below. Not everyone wants to put their stock in a damp basement.
  • edited July 2015
    Triple pane windows + young college graduates + IKEA kitchens = those apartments rented.
  • Right but with potential income of more than $4000 per month, they can get a dehumidifier and a sump pump. 
  • I think the ones near Kings Theater will come back on line first.
  • Many of those businesses use the basement area for things like Employee break rooms/ lockers, etc and the upstairs for storage. Since warehouses are a thing of the past in Brooklyn, having a place to keep inventory is key. Supply chain realities in NYC metro area are that your distribution center is probably a minimum of 1 1/2 hours away and that means a minimum of a one day wait for deliveries. If you're currently using your 2nd, 3rd and 4th story as storage, squeezing that all into a basement that has the same sq footage as one floor is highly unlikely. And if you're running a retail store, you probably don't want tenants living above your goods anyway. But I'm sure that some enterprising real estate agent will come along and begin seeding the landscape with stories about lost millions that could be earned if people just turned storage spaces for their businesses into residential housing.
  • Those are all good points. However, a quick glance on Flatbush between Grand Army and Barclays seems to indicate that business owners in this expensive neighborhood have done these calculations, and decided to store stuff in the basement. Perhaps there is a tipping point for a decision like this and Flatbush (the neighborhood) is on the verge of reaching it. 
  • Different business models and historical experience. When you look at the GAP to Barclay's stretch you have a limited number of landlords (the Pinchik folks and Lena Fang being two of the main ones) and they always looked to maximize diversity in their holdings. They ran their own businesses out of ground floor operations and dealt with storage issues by acquiring adjacent buildings and consolidating ground floor space into large areas.Residential was used to supplement the family business and provide additional revenue streams that could support their business during down times. This was a different business model than the people that owned north of Parkside who owned fewer buildings and whose businesses grew up rather than out. Those businesses haven't had residential on the avenue in 40+ years. Fewer portfolios of local families and more people who just wanted a single stable tenant in who could provide reliable revenue streams. That's been the destination of small to medium corporate types of businesses for years (phone companies, gyms, retail, fast food, etc)
  • i would love to see more 2nd/3rd stories of those nice little flatbush ave buildings unbricked and repopulated. i often look up at those sad former windows and think about how boxes of dollar store products are taking up space where people could be living. 

    my biggest fear is that they'll be torn down instead of rehabbed. 950 has seen better days, i'm sure, but it would be sad if ALL the little guys like it went down too. And some of them, closer to the Kings theater, are really quite interesting--take 992 Flatbush for instance: https://www.google.com/maps/@40.647069,-73.958146,3a,75y,294.01h,101.54t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sReTCuPXCR0fFFmzbp23YnA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656
  • Hey, hey now... those boxes of toilet paper and cases of disinfectant need low-cost homes too!!

    Either businesses store at their own locations, in their own buildings, or each neighborhood develops local warehousing options to service local small businesses, but you can't have cheap housing, cheap goods, and plentiful retail without some sort of storage and delivery mechanism. Too many folks forget that stuff doesn't just magically appear from the FedEx guy. It's all sitting in a warehouse somewhere, and the further you have to go get it, the more it's going to cost consumers.

    My biggest fear is that neighborhood warehousing like that on Empire Blvd will all be torn down instead of rehabbed. We don't need seventeen more luxury housing projects along Empire, we need a place to keep food, staples and supplies so that when the next Hurricane Sandy occurs there will be supplies on this island for people to use.
  • Many people just don't like to live over a store or on a street where there's constant noise from buses, cars, trucks, people. They'd rather live on a side street. Makes me wonder how many people on this forum live over a store. Yes, I know there are many such apartments but if you can pay a decent rent would it be the place for you?
  • Hey, hey now... those boxes of toilet paper and cases of disinfectant need low-cost homes too!!

    Either businesses store at their own locations, in their own buildings, or each neighborhood develops local warehousing options to service local small businesses, but you can't have cheap housing, cheap goods, and plentiful retail without some sort of storage and delivery mechanism. Too many folks forget that stuff doesn't just magically appear from the FedEx guy. It's all sitting in a warehouse somewhere, and the further you have to go get it, the more it's going to cost consumers.

    My biggest fear is that neighborhood warehousing like that on Empire Blvd will all be torn down instead of rehabbed. We don't need seventeen more luxury housing projects along Empire, we need a place to keep food, staples and supplies so that when the next Hurricane Sandy occurs there will be supplies on this island for people to use.
    Isn't Empire a truck route too? Flatbush is a major truck route as well, especially south of Church Avenue. 
  • edited July 2015
    relax. plenty of people live facing major business thoroughfares. and more than that work in offices that face major business thoroughfares and yes, are above retail shops. this isn't an argument for more luxury housing. basically I'm pro windows-for-humans and anti creepy-bricked-up-facades-for-dry-goods--i don't see why that's so terrifying, especially when the original design of the building would suggest that use. All of these properties have cellars. Some people even live in them illegally! besides, Flatbush ave is in no danger of running out of dollar store goods just yet. i'm not sure why people are so alarmist about this kind of thing

    as for truck routes, I live facing a major truck route. it's called Caton Ave and it's almost 100% residential--same goes for linden blvd east of Bedford. every weekday morning is a line of 18 wheelers as far as the eye can see, and I along with thousands of other apartment residents seem to live with it.
  • edited July 2015
    double post
  • Don't get me wrong, I don't think that people won't live on Flatbush if there is housing there. I just think that before we try to convince landlords to evict their retail tenants from space currently used for storage, we think about what that actually means. Maximizing profit at the expense of your retail tenants means implicitly that those tenants will have to pay for alternative space. The cost for that space will then get passed on to consumers. It isn't a supposition or a theory it is a fact. It will either take the form of increased costs for deliveries, or cost for additional rental space. It may even mean the displacement of some retail as people look for larger spaces with storage.

    I just feel like we pay lots of attention to wanting to have more people, newer buildings, more options and more stuff and very little attention to the impacts of what that means. For small businesses in NYC, there aren't a lot of options when it comes to delivery. Storage space is at a premium and is constantly being encroached upon. Truck deliveries are difficult in most business districts and damn near impossible on streets like Flatbush where loading an unloading is an adventure. For chains and large corporations, there is the ability to control costs and benefit from economies of scale. That isn't the case with mom and pop stores and if we want to continue to have local businesses, run by local people we can't get rid of those things that make it easier for those businesses to exist.
  • edited July 2015
    Those are certainly among the reasons that urban retail is dying. In its wake, Amazon Prime fills the void.

    Unlike many, I can't say I have an large attachment to the Mom and Pops on an emotional or economic level.

    However, I have become very aware of how easily Just In Time delivery systems can go down as a result of factors like weather, civil unrest, and a fragile power grid.

    After Sandy, I closely watched the near panic that affected poor people in the Rockaways from a "mere" combination of poverty from lack of work for 1 week, plus wiped out stores.

    I also watched stores throughout Brooklyn go pretty bare as a result of not being able to get deliveries for only 4 days.

    Among other things, it has caused me to increase the amount of canned food I keep on hand.

    On day five of a "no power" emergency, I plan to be the guy eating cold soup from a can.

    If we have enough warning before such an emergency, I might head inland until most of the nastiness passes.

    Before Sandy, I never viewed such plans as being needed.
  • Those are certainly among the reasons that urban retail is dying. In its wake, Amazon Prime fills the void. 

    Not for doorman-less people.  Since our daughter started daycare and there is no one home during the day, I have yet to get a package.  I even tried the amazon locker at Western Beef.  UPS still claimed I wasn't home and marked it as held at the storage facility.  I HATE UPS.
    End rant.
  • Your UPS driver may be worst than most.
  • Don't get me wrong, I don't think that people won't live on Flatbush if there is housing there. I just think that before we try to convince landlords to evict their retail tenants from space currently used for storage, we think about what that actually means. Maximizing profit at the expense of your retail tenants means implicitly that those tenants will have to pay for alternative space. The cost for that space will then get passed on to consumers. It isn't a supposition or a theory it is a fact. It will either take the form of increased costs for deliveries, or cost for additional rental space. It may even mean the displacement of some retail as people look for larger spaces with storage.

    I just feel like we pay lots of attention to wanting to have more people, newer buildings, more options and more stuff and very little attention to the impacts of what that means. For small businesses in NYC, there aren't a lot of options when it comes to delivery. Storage space is at a premium and is constantly being encroached upon. Truck deliveries are difficult in most business districts and damn near impossible on streets like Flatbush where loading an unloading is an adventure. For chains and large corporations, there is the ability to control costs and benefit from economies of scale. That isn't the case with mom and pop stores and if we want to continue to have local businesses, run by local people we can't get rid of those things that make it easier for those businesses to exist.
    While I was riding on a SB B67 on Flatbush Avenue last night, we ran into congestion between 6th Avenue and 7th Avenue. A huge truck was making a delivery to the Duane Reade on the corner of 7th and Flatbush. It was parked in the right lane, which left only one SB lane that was passable. This was during rush hour too. It'd be great of Flatbush were wider, but I know that's a pipe dream.
  • Here's an article about downtown Brooklyn, unused upper floors, and the challenges that owners face in restoring these to use. 



  • edited August 2015
    @RudolfAhrens - The upper floors in the exams you gave appear to be boarded up. If they are indeed boarded up, I wonder whether it's for a legitimate reason. Are those upper floors even habitable?
  • edited August 2015
    I suspect they are not without a sizable amount investment.

    I wonder how many of those retail spaces have torn out the stairwell and entrances to the upper floors.

    If the retail spaces are paying for what used to be the stairwells as part of their lease, and made them integral parts of their storefronts, the landlords may need to wait until the lease expires before they renovate and re-lease the upper floors.

    ....making the renovation not only expensive, but complicated.
  • Well, 6 months later, this is happening more than we thought. 
    850 Flatbush Ave, 1 story storefront, being converted to 7 story mixed use with 21 apartments. 

    764 Flatbush, gut renovating 2 upper floor apts. 

    868 Flatbush, converting 2 upper floors to apts. 

    926 Flatbush, converting 3 story commercial to 4 story, 6 unit mixed use. 



  • I'm happy to see these floors used as housing instead of being boarded or bricked up. Flatbush ave has some of the most interesting buildings in the neighborhood, many of which are underused. 
    It might be loud, but put the living rooms in the front and it will be fine. Plenty of people live on Broadway in Manhattan. 
  • that's good to hear. 868 flatbush has some really interesting old signage painted right on the bricks--looks maybe like "opera bridal"

    i want these to be housing as well.
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