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Open House Agenda: 3 Unusual Apartments to See This Weekend

By Donna M. Airoldi | July 24, 2015 7:27am | Updated on July 24, 2015 5:39pm
 Live in a former church, a condo with four private outdoor spaces or a house barge.
Unusual Apartments for Sale
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NEW YORK CITY — In a city where real estate envy is common, buyers often want to find that “special place” — that ideally comes with some bragging rights. These three properties each offer something that sets them apart.

Marina 59, 59-14 Beach Channel Drive, Dock C, Arverne
House Barge
1 Bedroom/1 Bath
Approximately 450 square feet
Marina Charges: $3,518 per year (paid through March 2016)
Open House: Saturday, July 25, 4-6 p.m. (Call 928-239-9199 for entry to the marina.)

Lowdown: It isn’t often that a house barge comes on the market in New York City, let alone holds an open house.

“I want to make clear that it’s a barge, not a boat,” said Shannon Roberts, who’s owned the Pink Pirate for about two years and is selling before relocating to Hawaii. “The difference is engines. Once you add those, the price goes up another $15,000 to $20,000.”

The barge, currently moored at Dock C at Marina 59 in Rockaway — with slip charges paid through March 2016 — requires a tow to be moved.

Roberts purchased the barge after renting a houseboat with a friend. An avid surfer, she wanted a place in Rockaway, but didn’t want to commit to real estate until she saw what was going to be done with the flood zone and insurance post-Sandy. “It was the perfect middle point, and no property taxes,” she said. “If we have a high tide, it moves with the dock. And, it takes only 10 minutes to clean.”

Roberts said she has made more than $30,000 of improvements to the vessel, including taking out one of the upper rooms and creating a 9-by-13-foot deck, installing 21 new windows and adding a composting marine toilet.

“Yes, I compost my pooh,” Roberts admitted, adding that two questions boat owners want to know about are waste disposal and connection to shore power. The barge is connected by two 30-amp lines.

Her first winter, Roberts left the barge in the water; this past winter, she stored it in the marina’s yard and restained and painted the bottom. There’s still some work that could be done on the barge, such as replacing the paneling in the kitchen and adding frames around the new windows, she noted.

Location: Marina 59 is three blocks from Beach 59th Street. Rippers is at the 86th Street concession; Tacoway Beach tacos is at 87th Street. It’s about a half mile to Arverne’s restaurants, Roberts said, adding “now the boardwalk connects from 84th to 106th.” It's only one block to the Beach 60th Street A train station.

Why put it on your open house calendar? Aside from the reasonable price compared to apartments elsewhere in the city, you can live on the water — literally.

250 S. Second St., Apt. 4B, Williamsburg
3 Bedrooms/2 Baths
Approximately 1,147 square feet
$1.4 million
Common Charges: $418 per month
Real Estate Taxes: $53 per month (abated through June 2030)
Open House: Sunday, July 26, 2-3 p.m.

Lowdown: This Williamsburg duplex “has the most outdoor space I’ve seen for under $2 million, and the location is perfect,” said Christine Blackburn of Compass. “You’re getting a [three-bedroom] penthouse with four outdoor spaces for the price of a mediocre two-bedroom, two-bath.”

For buyers who don’t mind that it’s on the fourth floor of a walk-up, they’re getting a large, flexible space with a small balcony off the living room, a private terrace on each side of the upper floor and a private rooftop.

“It was one of the first condos built in Williamsburg [in 2002], so the living space is generous and the double-height ceiling in the kitchen, at 16 feet, is very dramatic,” Blackburn said. “If built today, it would be a smaller unit and with less outdoor space.”

The sellers purchased from the sponsor. The only changes they made were to add custom, reclaimed-wood bookshelves and to build out the closets. The upper level bedroom currently has half walls and was used as an open den area. The interior has northwest and southeast exposures.

Location: Stereotypical Brooklyn-style boutiques and restaurants continue to open along the streets near the condo building, which is between Roebling and Havemeyer streets. A musician opened a coffee shop 66 Hope in a large loft space; By Brooklyn sells only goods produced in Brooklyn; the restaurant Bill Baker’s sports a vintage bank-themed interior. The year-old Meadowsweet, a Michelin-starred restaurant, is within a 10-minute walk.

It’s about a third of a mile to the Marcy Avenue J/M/Z station and roughly twice that distance to the L train at Bedford Avenue. Within a couple blocks are the entrances to the Williamsburg Bridge and the BQE.

Why put it on your open house calendar? “If [the buyers] are looking for private outdoor space, there’s nothing that comes close to this in the neighborhood or that’s on the market right now,” Blackburn said.

215 Degraw St., Apt. 2G, Cobble Hill
2 Bedrooms/2 Baths
Approximately 1,425 square feet
$1.8 million
Common Charges: $632 per month
Real Estate Taxes: $242 per month
Open House: Sunday, July 26, 2-3:30 p.m.

Lowdown: Several former churches, like this one, have undergone conversions into condos in recent years. Noted 19th-century architect Minard Lafever designed the former Strong Place Baptist Church, which became the St. Francis Cabrini Chapel and now goes by The Landmark at Strong Place. The style is Early English Gothic Revival, and it’s one of only two of Lafever’s works remaining in Brooklyn.

“The church was constructed circa 1851, and the conversion took place in 2010,” said Alex Pearl of Corcoran Group. “All 23 units sold within a year, and there have been very few resales.”

The developer installed all new electrical and plumbing systems but also kept many of the building’s original details, including the altars in the hallways, the chandeliers, the Gothic windows, and the mahogany frames and shutters. The exterior “hasn’t been touched,” Pearl noted.

Aside from the restored Gothic windows and shutters in the living room and bedrooms, Unit 2G’s interior is a modern luxury space with marble baths, top-end appliances, two HVAC systems, and it’s “in mint condition.” The sellers made minor upgrades that include a built-in entertainment unit in the living room, custom fixtures in the baths, and recessed lighting in the large living area, which has just two windows — although they are 8 feet in height.

No two units in the building are alike, Pearl said. This unit has more of an open, loft-like space and includes an original column between the kitchen and dining area. Other units in the building have more distinct “nooks and crannies.” Not visible in the photos is a 16-foot cathedral ceiling in the master bedroom.

The building includes two elevators, a virtual doorman, a fitness center, basement storage and a bike room.

Location: Situated on the corner of Strong and Degraw, the building is in the Cobble Hill Historic District. The building is around the corner from the Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain, Lucali pizza is a few blocks farther south, and June, a new bar serving only natural wines, opened on Court Street in January.

The Bergen Street and Carroll Street F/G stations are equidistant.

Why put it on your open house calendar? “It’s nearly impossible to replicate,” Pearl said. “It’s a unique setting; a big, beautiful living space; and it’s on a beautiful, quiet, tree-lined block. It hits all the marks.”