The Real Deal New York

Bed-Stuy / Bushwick neighborhood news

  • The Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn has the highest density per square mile of vacant buildings of anywhere in the five boroughs, according to a new land-use study soon to be released by the city, the Brooklyn Ink reported.

    While many homes are in foreclosure, others are properties that owners are “warehousing,” a practice where an owner simply waits until a property is wanted, the blog said. This has led to blight in the area.  [more]

  • Six Bedford Stuyvesant homeowners are accusing developer Delight Construction and indicted Department of Housing Preservation and Development official Wendell Waters of demanding extra cash for their city-subsidized homes, they told the Daily News, and of leaving them with subpar construction on the buildings.

    The homeowners, who won a housing lottery for homes along Lexington Avenue, made their down payments in 2005, the News said, but have since run into problems related to move-in delays, requests for more money to clean up suspected contamination, and plumbing and heating malfunctions.

    “Either we paid the money or we could walk away from the contract,” said Onika McLean, one of the owners. … [more]

  • House prices rebounding in Bed-Stuy

    September 09, 2011 09:23AM

    Bedford-Stuyvesant, the area bordered by Clinton Hill, Bushwick, Williamsburg and Crown Heights, famous for its African-American history and tree-lined streets, saw a bout of foreclosures after the development boom morphed into a recession, the Wall Street Journal reported. Prices dropped and developers switched their condominium plans to rental plans.
    Prices in Bedford-Stuyvesant however, though still far from 2008 levels, are on the rise, according to Streeteasy.com. The median sales price of homes that closed in the first half of 2011 was $373,500, an 8 percent jump from the same period last year. The volume of sales in the neighborhood has increased too, in contrast to a citywide trend, the data shows. … [more]

  • A 16-year-old loan from predatory lender Delta Funding is threatening to leave an 82-year-old great-grandmother homeless. The New York Daily News reported Mary Lee Ward faces eviction from her Bedford-Stuyvesant home.

    In 1995 Ward was targeted by Delta Funding, a subprime lender that was sued by the federal government four years later for zeroing in on black women in Brooklyn and Queens with predatory loans, which sent her a flyer promising a $10,000 cash advance if she borrowed against her single-family home at 320 Tompkins Avenue. Ward accepted the offer needing cash to protect her great-granddaughter from being adopted. … [more]

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    From left: The lot at 354 Stockton Street as it originally looked and progress on the farm (credit: Bushwick City Farm)

    Bushwick City Farm, a neighborhood volunteer organization, has taken over a long-vacant 9,000-square-foot lot in Bushwick with plans to install a vegetable garden, a chicken coop and and organic orchard to produce free food for the community, the website BushwickBK reported.

    The lot at 354 Stockton Street near the corner of Lewis Avenue has been abandoned for at least 30 years and is currently owned by a Forest Hills-based entity called Toxo and Arrow Proper, which purchased it in 2004, public records show. Since then, it has been home to a whole host of illegal activities, including squatting, garbage dumping and even violence. … [more]

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    United Homes head Yaron Hershco and 557 Hancock Street (building source: PropertyShark)
    [Updated 4:18 p.m.] A group of eight African-American homeowners were awarded a total of more than $1 million last week, after a nine-member jury found that Yaron Hershco’s United Homes committed fraud — yet cleared him of discrimination — in a wide-ranging property flipping scheme in Bedford-Stuyvesant,
    Bushwick and other Brooklyn neighborhoods.

    Hershco, a developer of single-family homes and luxury condominium buildings, had been accused in the federal district court complaint of luring first-time homebuyers to a so-called one-stop shop, where appraisers, lenders, lawyers and other officials conspired to sell them homes at over-inflated prices until the buyers were on the brink of foreclosure. [more]

  • As lenders remain hesitant to finance large condominium developments in Brooklyn, especially in Bedford-Stuyvesant and Clinton Hill, developers are migrating towards government-subsidized affordable housing apartments, and even more so, townhouses in those areas, the Wall Street Journal reported. Construction is in the works at multi-family townhomes at 37-41 Lexington Avenue and 258-262 Greene Avenue in Clinton Hill, while five townhouses are about to come to market at 101-107 Stockton Street, also in Clinton Hill. Meanwhile, at 482 Franklin Avenue in Bed-Stuy, Realty Within Reach has plans for 78-units of middle-income housing and Dunn Development closed a deal yesterday with plans for a 59-unit, affordable housing building in Clinton Hill. … [more]

  • Brooklyn renters allege fraud

    March 29, 2011 12:28PM

    A scam artist has allegedly duped eight would-be Brooklyn renters in Bedford-Stuyvesant into paying him rental money and deposits on units he neither owns nor has any affiliation with, police say. The alleged con-artist advertised the units in January, according to the Wall Street Journal, and even broke into some of the apartments to show them to potential renters. The reported incidents of fraud took place during January, but authorities say the suspect may be continuing his scheme. The victims of the alleged scam say they only learned they’d been conned when they tried to move into their homes but were locked out. [WSJ]

  • A New York City artists collective that dwells in trailers has been evicted from the Bushwick warehouse where it had taken up residence, according to the New York Times. The eviction from 304 Meserole Street, which the artists say was done illegally and without notice, comes after months of trying to find a permanent home. The 25-person group had previously parked its trailers at 304 Meserole Street in December 2009, before being evicted two months later, after the Fire Department of New York deemed the space unsafe. After briefly considering a move to Chelsea, the collective moved back to the Bushwick warehouse with the building owner’s consent and has remained there for roughly a year. … [more]

  • Celeste Lumpkins-Moses, a Department of Education secretary employed at the Paul Robeson High School in Bedford-Stuyvesant, has agreed to pay a $7,500 fine after DOE officials accused her of using campus computers to run her private real estate business during school hours. Lumpkins-Moses, the owner of Brooklyn-based residential brokerage Prospective Properties, admitted to using the school facilities for her business, according to a statement released today by the City of New York Conflicts of Interest Board, leading to the settlement figure. But Lumpkins-Moses pointed out to The Real Deal that there was only “probable cause” that the improper behavior occurred. … [more]

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    Click image to see full map of proposed historic districts

    The Landmarks Preservation Commission and Brooklyn Community Board 3 will convene tomorrow night to host an open forum on four new proposed historic districts within Bedford-Stuyvesant and one expansion of an existing landmarked district in the neighborhood, according to neighborhood organization Bedford-Stuyvesant Society for Historic Preservation. If the plan were to go through, a combined 75 blocks in Bedford-Stuyvesant would be encompassed in the landmarking. TRD[more]

  • The city is considering doubling the capacity of the Pamoja House homeless shelter, at 357 Marcus Garvey Boulevard in Bedford-Stuyvesant, making room for 400 men, a decision that worries neighbors and advocates for the homeless, the New York Times reported. “Crowding hundreds of men onto an armory drill floor is a dangerous, unnecessary step backwards to the bad old days of the 1980s,” said Patrick Markee, a senior policy analyst with Coalition for the Homeless, in a statement. An average of 8,511 people required shelter each night in December, compared with 6,967 in December 2009, numbers not seen since the winter of 2004. … [more]

  • Brooklyn commercial sales stay strong

    January 18, 2011 01:34PM

    The Brooklyn market continued to show strength in 2010, with 778 commercial sales totaling over $1 billion, according to commercial brokerage TerraCRG’s year-end report. “This volume represents no significant change from 2009′s trading levels in the borough,” said Ofer Cohen, founder and president of TerraCRG. “After two years of volume decline, that’s good news and shows that the market is finally stabilizing.” Sales of multi-family buildings represented almost half of the dollar volume in 2010, the report shows. The highest number of transactions took place in the Williamsburg/Greenpoint areas and the Bed-Stuy/Bushwick/Crown Heights sections. TRD[more]

  • Juan Ramos and other worshippers at the Our Lady of Montserrat Church in Bedford-Stuyvesant say that the Brooklyn diocese decision to shut down their church by the end of January is “payback” for crossing Brooklyn Democratic Assemblyman Vito Lopez and publicly opposing the Broadway Triangle housing project. Parishioners at the Brooklyn church, on Vernon Avenue, also say that someone doctored their financial documents to show that the church was in the red. However, Diocese of Brooklyn spokesperson Shane Kavanaugh, maintains that the church is being closed because it’s a money pit and “the decision wasn’t politically motivated.” [Post]

  • A construction worker in Bedford-Stuyvesant has been charged with misdemeanor reckless endangerment, criminal mischief and reckless endangerment of property in connection with a three-alarm fire at a two-story residential building at 812 Kent Avenue.

    Efran Ordonez, 30, allegedly used a blowtorch to patch a leak in the building’s roof on Monday. During the course of this work, Ordonez allegedly set fire to the building, according to the criminal complaint. He was released on his own recognizance yesterday, the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office said. … [more]

  • Scarano project now halfway house

    April 21, 2010 10:47AM

    Bushwick residents are riled over the newly opened halfway house for recovering drug addicts at 979 Willoughby Avenue, claiming that the facility will endanger the community and reverse progress made in the neighborhood. The halfway house has opened in what was supposed to be a luxury eight-unit apartment building designed by Robert Scarano, a noted New York City architect who was recently barred from submitting plans to the Department of Buildings. Compounding the residents’ complaints is the fact that the facility is being run by a former felon who spent time behind bars. Although it’s not immediately clear how many tenants are being housed in the building, reports show that the operator has installed bunk beds into units to maximize capacity.

  • Omni picks up two Brooklyn buildings

    April 09, 2010 02:00PM

    Omni New York, the affordable housing management company led by former New York Mets player Mo Vaughn, has just bought two more low-income housing complexes, according to Crain’s. The two Bedford-Stuyvesant housing centers, the Dr. Betty Shabazz complex and the Medgar Evers Houses, contain a total of approximately 470 units. Omni plans to launch a $10 million renovation effort there, which is slated to be complete by the end of 2011. The company successfully bid on 14 troubled South Bronx buildings at the end of 2009 and made its first purchase in Manhattan — a $5.5 million affordable housing building at 2059-71 Madison Avenue in Harlem — in January this year.

  • Bed-Stuy renovation leads to big debt

    March 31, 2010 06:34PM

    When a Bedford-Stuyvesant brownstone saw one of its walls collapse during a dubious renovation in January, few could have anticipated the community conflict that would emerge from the accident. While homeowner Robert Providence said that the unlicensed work that led to the collapse, which was being conducted in the basement of his $770,000 townhouse at 329 MacDonough Street, was done without his permission, the onus fell on him to restore his home in Bed-Stuy’s historic district. Although city officials had originally ordered the building be demolished due to safety concerns, neighbors successfully lobbied to keep it around. Providence has since wound up with hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, but preservationists are happy — even if they can’t show their enthusiasm monetarily. “No one has the money to help,” Providence said.

  • 2 convicted in Brooklyn straw buyer scheme

    February 24, 2010 08:48AM

    Two Brooklyn fraudsters were found guilty of selling the same building twice, to two different buyers, according to the Brooklyn district attorney’s office. Mavis Samuel and Carlyle Ebanks sold a multi-family building at 1162 Pacific Street in Bedford-Stuyvesant in September 2004 to a straw buyer for $4,000, the DA’s office said, before having the property deeded back to them by the buyer — who was recovering from a massive brain injury — in 2005. In November 2006, the pair then promised a friend a partnership in their real estate investment company should he agree to buy the building. “The defendants illegally inflated the ‘partner’s’ income and savings account balance on a $1 million mortgage application, to buy 1162 Pacific Street for that price,” the DA’s office said. “With that ‘sale’ they paid off the mortgage on the original straw purchase, pocketed between $300,000 and $400,000, and maintained ownership.” While 1162 Pacific Street reportedly burned down between the two illegal sales, the two were still tried for — and convicted of — second-degree grand larceny and multiple count of falsifying business records. They will be sentenced in April, and face as much as 15 years in prison. TRD

  • Trailer park artists unhitched

    February 19, 2010 11:59AM

    The trailer park artist commune that nabbed headlines when it took residence in a Bushwick warehouse, has been tossed out, according to Curbed, because of improper permits. The city Department of Buildings hit the occupants of this indoor trailer park with a partial vacate order this week, while the Fire Department of New York deemed the conditions unsafe due to running recreational vehicles for extended periods of time indoors didn’t sit right with them, Curbed said. No word yet on whether the urban artist colony plans to fight the order or take up residence elsewhere.

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