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Wave of Luxury Real Estate Coming to Sunset Park, Experts Say

By Amy Zimmer | March 17, 2017 11:44am | Updated on March 19, 2017 1:58pm
 The kitchen at 439 36th St.
The kitchen at 439 36th St.
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BROOKLYN — A townhouse recently sold in Sunset Park for $2.05 million — the neighborhood's highest townhouse price to date, and the first in what experts expect will be a growing number of high-priced sales in the area.

The 2,800-square-foot townhouse at 439 36th St. — located between Fourth and Fifth avenues steps from the 36th Street subway stop — was recently renovated, hitting all of the high notes of Brooklyn rustic-luxe chic, with its wood beams, exposed brick, original pocket doors and reclaimed wood throughout the house, along with a Wolf range and NEST thermostat system.

"I think it's going to start a new wave of luxury property in Sunset Park," said the listing’s broker, Abigail Palanca, of Compass.

The developer/architect team behind the project, Eli Fernald & Bretaigne Walliser of Fabr Studio + Workshop is renovating four other townhouses on Fifth Avenue which share a courtyard between 33rd and 34th streets. The properties are slated to hit the market this summer for about $2 million each, Palanca said. (See rendering below.)


Rendering courtesy of Compass.

Palanca has been doing a lot more deals lately in Sunset Park, an area garnering more attention as a host of new development comes to the area.

Industry City continues attracting creative sector jobs while the de Blasio administration recently announced $136 million plans to renovate two buildings at the nearby Bush Terminal for a fashion, film and food manufacturing campus. The recently renovated Bush Terminal Park has become a hotspot for families — and birders — and national chains such as Saks Off Fifth and Bed, Bath & Beyond are now in the area.

“Eighty percent of my buyers are looking in Sunset Park. I’ve been finding that a lot more people in Windsor Terrace and Park Slope are looking there,” she said. “In Windsor Terrace, for $1.5 million you’re getting a two-family fixer-upper. In Park Slope you’re getting a condo that’s maybe 1,000 square feet. There are some beautiful brownstones in Sunset Park for $1.5 million.”

Though the price of 439 36th St. came down from its original list price of $2.25 million when it hit the market in November, its sale price was still a record, according to Palanca’s research. The townhouse is set up as single family house but could be used as two-family. It received three offers, she added.

In Park Slope, a townhouse similar to the one on 36th Street would fetch about $4 million, Palanca noted.

The buyers of the 36th Street townhouse are moving from the Red Hook/Columbia Street Waterfront area, Palanca said, adding that one of the purchasers works at Industry City, the mammoth manufacturing complex just steps away.

“Industry City is bringing a lot more people to the area,” Palanca said.

Since 2013, more than $200 million has been invested in restoring the 16-building, 30-acre property of Industry City, which has seen its workforce triple to about 6,000, during that same period.

The vast complex is now home to a growing number of cut-and-sew shops, furniture designers, chocolatiers and more. Last year it opened an employment and entrepreneurial center as a jobs resource for the local community.

It’s home to the Brooklyn Nets practice space, the Industry City Distillery and an artisanal food hall. It’s home to many events, including trade shows such as Design Week and arts and family events such as salsa on Sundays. On Apr. 1, it will host the fifth annual Brooklyn Art Spring Event, a large-scale immersive art experience and auction featuring more than 100 Brooklyn-based visual artists and will benefit South Slope’s P.S. 295.


Photo courtesy of Industry City.

Industry City is hoping to grow as a rezoning slated for the area can help it bring hotels, academic space and new ground-floor retail to the area. The proposal, however, has garnered controversy, especially among advocates who fear building hotels is at odds with preserving manufacturing in the area.

“Sunset Park is continually one of the more talked-about neighborhoods in Brooklyn and maybe all of New York City, said John Brennan, of Marcus & Millichap, who specializes in investment real estate assets in Southern Brooklyn, including retail, rent stabilized properties and development sites.

The job creation at Industry City has boosted the area, he added.

“People in the 20 to 35 age range generally want to live close to where they work. That in turn has added more demand for housing,” he said.

Brennan anticipates a surge of residential and retail development in and around the waterfront’s manufacturing area.

“I’ve already seen an increase in residential development slated along Fourth Avenue,” he said. “You’ll probably start seeing a lot of new projects in the next 12 to 24 months.”

New development, however, might put even more strain on the area's  overcrowded schools — an issue the city is grappling with, as officials are investigating several possible sites for new schools.

It could also put pressure on existing residents as housing prices rise, locals said.

“There are huge displacement concerns,”  said Andrew Hausermann, director of organizing with Faith in New York.