Monday, March 30, 2009

We go to REBNY meetings so you don't have to!

Fact is, I love a Rebny meeting. The Real Estate Board of New York, Brooklyn edition, is a fascinating cross-section of brokers, from small companies (like ours) to the big guys - Corcoran, Prudential Douglas Elliman, and Brown Harris Stevens - plus a rotating cast of developers and mortgage brokers. 

Since the bubble burst, these gatherings resemble a mid-flood town hall meeting in Fargo. Last week's gathering did not disappoint. As you can imagine, the consensus is as follows:
Sales volume is down. Average sale prices are down. Some brokers are closing offices, or laying off staff, or merging with other firms.

But there are some bright spots, especially for renters and people buying property priced under $900K:

-Mortgage rates are super low, and we should see the new conforming loan limit rise to $729K in the next few weeks. If you have great credit, and can put down 20% or more, you can get loans under 5% right now.

-Landlords in Brooklyn are finally waking up to the fact that renters do not want to pay broker's fees, and are beginning to cover those fees themselves. This change has "happened overnight" in Park Slope, according to brokers at the meeting. Huzzah!

-Developers have really tuned in to what people want. One new rental development features washers & dryers in all of their 1- and 2-bedroom apartments. Right?

All in all, good news. It's nice to see some progress out there, and to witness the industry changing to suit the new paradigm. 

Korhogo closed for good!

Looks like this is it for Korhogo.
I am assuming that the health dept. violations were the last straw for this establishment and in hard times like this you can go on being so so for very long.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Guess no one will be dining in Korhogo!

Guess Korhogo will not be participating In Dine in Brooklyn after all.

What a surprise when I walked by Korhogo yesterday to see the gates pulled(as usual) but this time there was several large yellow notices from the Department of Health saying it would be closed!!!
They have mixed reviews on Yelp and I have never eaten there. I did eat there when it was Bouillabaisse, which moved down to Red Hook( now closed and was called Anna Belle's) and it was just so- so. Seems that Neil Ganic's only thriving restaurant is Petite Crevette, as everything else seems to be going under.
From the list of violations I am so glad I never ate there and hope they can get their shit together or put something in that will actually be open for lunch!
Guess they will not be open for this week and nexts DINE IN BROOKLYN!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Phillip Seymour Hoffman is waking the dead in Carroll Gardens.

I saw Phil chain smoking in front of Guido's funeral home many times last week. Seems that hanging out inside the funeral home was a little too stuffy?
Can't see why it would be with its drab carpets and old school Italian decor.
He looked all disheveled mostly because his hair was going every which way and he was wearing a wind breaker and a beat up baseball cap.
It's nice to see that local businesses are are still being stimulated by the movie industry, even though traffic on Clinton was a nightmare for most of the time they were here.

Signs of (retail) life: carpet shuffle on Van Brunt

Red Hook is the land of the "coming soon" banner. Someday, that brick oven pizzeria will open, and "The Hook" will fulfill Thor Equities' "promise" of a retail nirvana on Beard Street (take your time, guys).  For months, Red Hook residents (and Ikea & Fairway shoppers) were tantalized with the promise of a "Hellenic Rug Outlet" on Van Brunt near Bowne Street. Then one day, the banner vanished, leaving behind its distinctive orange and green brick box. Yet another dream eclipsed by the crumbling global economy?

Well, sorta. It looks like the Hellenic Rug company (whose headquarters are around the corner at 53 Richards) will not be able to fulfill our dreams of Flokati rugs for everyone. According to a Hellenic employee, "another rug company" will have the honor. He estimates the unnamed company will be open for business in two to three weeks.

Here are some pics of the crew on Friday afternoon. Note the racks in the background. And the nice Miami fan. Welcome, friendly rug merchants, who ever you are!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Reasons to Love Red Hook #2: Defonte's

Ahh, Defonte's. At the corner of Columbia and Luquer, this neighborhood shop has been serving up Brooklyn-style hero sandwiches since the 1940's. The potato and egg hero is famous, but everyone has a favorite - we love the italian sub with hot peppers, our kids are fiends for the meatball parm. Victoria swears by the italian tuna. Even a simple bacon, egg and cheese, served on a hero instead of a roll, is transcendent. It has healing powers. Order a 1/2 or a 1/3 sandwich (that's a half or a third of a baseball bat-sized loaf of italian bread).  1/2 easily serves two. 

Defonte's just opened an outlet in the suburbs: Manhattan, at Third Ave and 21st Street. Not so peculiar, until you consider the fact that Rocky Sullivan's relocated to Red Hook from Lex and 29th. Could there be a secret tunnel (or cosmic wormhole) linking Red Hook to the Gramercy/Murray Hill area? 

Add ImageDefonte's: 379 Columbia Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231. (718) 625-8052

Monday, March 2, 2009

4 years after breaking ground

4 Years after breaking ground 115 Kane Street still has not opened its doors to new residents.
Corcoran listed these units as rentals for a hot minute over a year ago and almost immediately pulled the listings after a CofO issue.
It looks like this issue still hasn't been resolved because the building still sits vacant. I know that the DOS is backed up but what is going on?!
Looks like they still don't have their ducks in row!
Also to put a rumor to rest this is not one of Gino Vitale's buildings!
Anyone else know what happened?
I have rented most of the unit at the building behind it on Hicks street and they got top of the line windows so the apartments aren't that loud. I can't say the same for the non-usable outdoor space.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Beloved " The Bike Shop" closes on Union Street

The Bike Shop has closed and moved to Court Street - the South Side of Court now known to some as SOFO!
This was a long time coming as the building has been for sale for several months.
I have the insider scoop on what went down.
Although the seller has had several offers, including one from the owners of the bike shop, they have refused all of them because they have not been close to the $1.1 they are asking for the building. The rent roll does not make sense to justify this asking price and during these times I doubt that they will fetch it.
the owners of The Bike Shop really wanted to purchase the building but the sellers were unwilling to work something out with them.

Instead they decided not to renew their lease in hopes of having a vacant store or higher rent income on this space, that would entice potential buyers.
It is really another sad lose for the block as this was a staple of the Columbia Waterfront district neighborhood. The owners had a welcoming cat and dog and even though he didn't always have a welcoming smile he knew what he was doing and had fair prices.
The space has now been vacant for over a month and has 3 different brokers signs on it for the rent of the space and sale of the building. Just looks desperate and tacky in my opinion.
Anyone know the rental price of the space?
I guess I'll call and find out!
Good Luck to The Bike Shop in their new space!
You will be missed!
UPDATE AS OF 3/4/09- Contracts have been executed on this building and the selling price is $1MILLION DOLLARS! Soon Union Street will have a brand new Insurance agency, just what we needed!!!!