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June 6th, 2003, 12:59 PM
June 6, 2003

Rezoning Spurs Park Slope Condos

Along the side streets between Fourth and Fifth Avenues in Park Slope, Brooklyn, new condominiums are rising. The buildings are not only expanding the stock of housing in the neighborhood but also pushing its residential boundaries westward, a process expected to extend to largely commercial stretches of Fourth Avenue under a recent rezoning.

Four projects between the avenues will add 150 condos by the end of the year, said Peter Noonan, a vice president at the Brooklyn office of the Corcoran Group real estate company.

Construction is under way on a 46-apartment second phase of the existing 36-apartment Park Slope Estates, with plans for more units at the corner of Fourth Avenue and Second Street. At 675 Sackett Street, a 38-unit apartment building is nearing completion. Construction continues on a 16-apartment project on Garfield Place, and on another with 50 units on Carroll Street.

The activity, Mr. Noonan said, is moving toward Fourth Avenue because that is where there are old commercial buildings and sites to redevelop. Libby Ryan, a broker at of the Brooklyn office of William B. May, said the new developments were "close to pricey brownstones that routinely sell for $2 million, and in the last 18 months boutiques and cafes have replaced run-down shops along Fifth Avenue."

Another factor, industry professionals say, is a rezoning of 110 blocks of Park Slope, including a stretch of Fourth Avenue, that took place in April. It had been in the works for a decade.

That rezoning puts height and other restrictions in place on blocks where the three- and four-story brownstones for which Park Slope is known predominate. Along much of Fourth Avenue, however, an area dotted with three-story walk-ups, auto repair shops and gas stations, the new zoning allows buildings of up to 12 stories.

The Brooklyn office of the city's Planning Department has projected that 1,100 residences could be built along Fourth Avenue under the new zoning, 440 of them in the next decade.

The City Council and the Bloomberg administration have set aside $6 million to stimulate construction of below-market-rate housing along Fourth Avenue. The action was in response to community concerns that the rezoning did not require developers to build any such units.

Carol Abrams, a spokeswoman for the city's Department of Housing Preservation and Development, said the $6 million was expected to be allocated through several existing housing programs and to take different forms, including tax-exempt bond financing and low-interest loans. In return, developers would reserve at least 20 percent of the units for residents whose incomes do not exceed a specific earnings ceiling. Estimates are that the public money would generate at least 130 below-market-rate units, Ms. Abrams she said.

Brad Lander, executive director of the Fifth Avenue Committee, a community group, said he was skeptical that developers would take advantage of the incentives since "they would make much more building all market-rate apartments."

When Boymelgreen Developers completed the first 36-unit phase of Park Slope Estates on Second Street in 2001, it was testing the market for condos. "We go to the edge of a neighborhood, build something special and extend the neighborhood," said Benjamin Klein, the company's director of operations.

The first two- and three-bedroom units, in six connected four-story buildings, sold for an average of $400 to $450 a square foot, or $510,000 to $850,000. Now the company is nearing completion on a second 46-unit phase called Cityview Gardens.

The latest two- and three-bedroom units will have 1,200 to 1,350 square feet; duplexes will have up to 2,400 square feet. The apartments will be in 10 five-story buildings: six on Second Street and four on Third Street. The structures will overlook a central courtyard. Sales are expected to start in three or four months at $450 to $500 a square foot.

Mr. Klein said that because of the recent rezoning, his company planned to move forward within the next three to six months to develop the adjacent Fourth Avenue property with a 12-story building with about 75 units.

Construction continues at the four-story condo building on Sackett Street, called Park Slope Terrace.

Sales began last month for the 38 two- and three-bedroom apartments, which have 1,020 to 2,745 square feet. So far, 28 have been sold for $370 to $402 a square foot on average, or $405,000 to $955,000, said Mr. Noonan of Corcoran, the project's sales agent. Initial occupancy is expected in December.

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