Bed-Stuy, or this corner of Bed-Stuy is being flooded with condos.
Two four story, close to hundred unit condos on Greene between Franklin and Classon.
Another 20 units (give or take) on 270 Greene (at Classon).
What looks like another four story, possibly close to a hundred unit building going up on Clifton Place between Franklin and Classon . . .
Another 20 unit place overlooking Beford and Greene . . . .
Another 100 or so units down Bedford, off Dekalb, off Myrtle . . . .
And smaller units dispersed around a ten block radius everywhere else.
This section of Bed-Stuy is on a corridor between gentrified Fort Greene and Clinton Hill and trendy hipster capital Williamsburg – and thus desirable real estate. Now – ten years ago, this was still a desolation zone. Not quite the war zone it had been in the mid-90’s, when crackheads and hookers lined the street that gentrification forgot, but bad enough. At night you’d hear fights on the street, periodic gunfire, and, sometimes in the mornings, crackheads standing on the sidewalk coming down off a binge, radiating menace.
Community activism, declining drug use, heavier police presence, and the inevitable sweep of gentrification changed all that. The local council needed development so they didn’t impose the same height restrictions as neighboring Clinton Hill, with the result that the Condos have marched in. En masse.
Almost all the lots these condos are being built on were vacant, or occupied by abandoned factories, so at least there hasn’t been any destruction of indigenous architecture. Many of the lots are owned by Hasidic Jews, who have moved up block by block up Bedford from Williamsburg, right to Myrtle. The Hasidim have huge families, and their particular (and oft peculiar) brand of Judaism forbids higher education, so many go into real estate speculation and construction. Possibly, the owners of these properties have held them for decades.
The question, as EV Grieve asked about development in the Bowery is, who are these being built for? What happens if they remain empty? Will they be converted into affordable housing, or will the owners hold out for the inevitable yuppie condo buyer? At 270 Greene, a 2 bdrm ‘loft’ will cost you as much as $635,000, what an entire brownstone would cost you just a few years ago.
You can see businesses on the main streets starting to rev up. On Franklin, the New Millenium has removed the hard plastic barrier in front of the condo, installed an LCD banner, and now advertises organic food. A new restaurant is opening up on Bedford, by Lafayette. On Franklin, a Fench pizza place has opened up near Bistro Lafayette. Perhaps they’ll even have to put a few more cars on the G train.
Time will tell . . . .at least nothing has come up like this I’m sure unintentionally hilarious ad (courtesy of Jeremiah Moss) for high-end (and evidently very white) condos in Harlem.