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The popups are coming — Brooklynian

The popups are coming

This one hits close to home. 
Here you have a row of 2-family 20x50 2 story houses. Identical to the landmarked ones on Lefferts ave or E 10th st, which now go for about $1.6m. 
Well, surprise surprise, we have no such landmarking here. So an enterprising developer has bought one of these row houses, and plans to double its height, right smack in the middle of the row of still-2-story neighbors. 
In Washington DC these are known as "pop-ups" or "middle fingers". 

Could this happen throughout Flatbush? or is this an anomaly? 
BTW my house is very similar, with permissive zoning, so I could, in theory, put two more stories on mine as well. 


  • Those look super cheesy. I did see some nice ones, where the developer didn't try to match the period architecture. I can't remember where though. Instead they went with a super modern glass house made to fit on top of the existing structure, they captured the contours of the existing building so it fit together quite nicely.

  • I think the classy way to do it is with a Mansard roof, like this:

    At least, that's how they did it back in the day. 

    The modern ones can be nice, but I think those work best with houses that have simpler fronts to begin with. This Linden house has a bowfront, a cornice, and other details which may not be so forgiving to a modern addition.  

    19th century houses were designed with a lot of attention to proportions. The landscape of NYC is dotted with so many thousands of classically proportioned buildings that when we see an addition that doesn't follow the rules it immediately stands out, even if we can't put our fingers on why it's wrong. 
  • A mansard roof with clay (faux clay) tiles are traditional in Europe. Asphalt roofing look tacky in general.
  • Here's one in the works on Winthrop between Bedford and Rogers. Currently 2 stories, 2 story addition planned. I do think we will see more of this. I've heard there are two more on the way for my block, on Martense, plus one more for the next block over, 271 Martense (a 3 story getting 2 more stories). IMG_1922 IMG_1921
  • I prefer to call them "building with hats"
  • 129 and 173 Martense are also getting 2 more stories. Right now they are 2 floor through units, 1000 sq ft each, over 2 floors. They will become 8 half floor units over 4 floors, about 600 sq ft each. 
    129 sold for $825k and 173 sold for $575k or so. 
    Martense St is zoned R7A, basically developer heaven. Most of flatbush is R6 which is still relatively high for Brooklyn row house blocks. That means that we will see a lot more of this. Nearly every brick row house in Flatbush could potentially have 2 stories added. 
    I was surprised that these were snatched up by developers rather than owner occupiers because both were on the open market. 
  • 171 Linden is a 3 story, 6 unit, turn of the century building. A developer wants to add 5 more stories and turn it into 31 units. The units now are quite large, 2 per floor, and the proposed units will be small, 4 per floor. 
    It's amazing how much weight these brick buildings can support! 

  • They often insert steel beams into brick buildings to support the additional weight.
  • they also Underpin or completely rebuild the foundations first. then use lighter construction methods above.

  • 153 Martense is also getting 2 more stories. Along with #129 and #173 that will be the third 2 story house on this block to get this alteration, I think all from the same developer. 
  • This is roughly what they're going to look like. Screen Shot 2016-05-11 at 10.43.13 AM Screen Shot 2016-05-11 at 10.43.00 AM Screen Shot 2016-05-11 at 10.42.53 AM
  • 280 Linden, in the process of getting 2 more stories. They took the facade off. Used to be identical to its neighbor. Note that renovated buildings identical to these are going for about $1.5m in PLG (like on Lefferts Ave). IMG_2343
  • re: the martense houses-- the crappy little drawings on the fences make it look like there's going to give it a brick facade. i wonder if that's true? if so, ew, ew, ew.

    re: Linden-- super sad. that house was beautiful. I get wanting to give your townhouse a bunch of extra floors i guess, but i don't get why you'd destroy a facade like that. ...perhaps they're intending on building out to the front yard? if so, ew again
  • The Martense houses are going to have to get some major cosmetic surgery because they are losing their stoops. They will all have ground floor, ADA compliant entrances, with elevators. 
    We were relieved that the owner didn't want to tear them down completely, so if they have no stoops and a brick facade, that will be a compromise. Nobody expected additions that were going to be historically appropriate. In Brooklyn Heights maybe, but not here. 
    140 Martense, a 3 story building, is also due to get 3 more stories. 
  • i don't expect additions to be historically appropriate, but why change the existing facade? it speaks of someone who *thinks* they have a lot of taste and vision and want a cohesive project but really are just building something ugly as sin
  • Quite a few more of these in the works! 

    703 Rogers getting two more stories.

    794 Rogers getting one more story.

    177 Veronica, 185 Veronica, 156 Erasmus, and 160 Erasmus all have drastic alterations filed. These are all relatively small frame houses, so I think these will basically be new buildings from the ground up, but filed as alterations to avoid new building status. Maybe they keep the basements?

  • Also: 271 Martense getting 2 more stories. got a green fence around it already
  • The took the cornice off of 173 Martense today. It's like seeing an old person naked!
  • Steel beams: check
  • Here's 171 Linden with a rendering. IMG_2695 IMG_2696
  • Eww. where is that?
  • 173 Martense St
  • 894 AND 896 New York Ave (Martense & Church Ave area). These two buildings were under foreclosure for some time. 900 just sold last year for a pretty penny. There is one limestone remaining between these purchases. If the same buyer got hold of this last row house it would be a huge footprint to work with. Sad, it's a cute tree-lined section of NY Ave.

    IMG_5267 IMG_5266
  • Why doesn't the rendering match the location?
  • thats so bizarre 
  • yeah, i know..have no  idea...doubt it will even look like that in the end...
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