We found a listing in Williamsburg in our price range, very large, with an extra building the in the backyard (we’re thinking studio space). We saw they were having an open house, so drove over to check it out.
I used to live over on Broadway & Union, so thought maybe it would be an interesting location. Well, it was definitely interesting!
Here are photos from the back “building”.
Upstairs & inside, where the fire was.
This is the downstairs.
Basically it was an old furniture factory, when the people moved in to live there, they cut away part of the building to have a yard.
Well, I like turquoise. I immediately saw this was way more fun to hang behind and take photos as John chatted the the agent showing the place. [More scary photos after the jump]
We’ve been keeping the posts on our search somewhat vague because: a) we didn’t want to jump the gun, and b) we didn’t want competition on promising leads.
As of 6 weeks ago, we were all set to make an offer on a different property, but the longer we waited for our financing to come through, the less sure we were about the property. This place needed significant work, although not a total gut rehab. The location is less than ideal, but it is in Red Hook, where we all want to stay. It had 3 equal apartments that are sizeable enough, but no extra space for studios. The property had the option to buy an adjacent vacant lot, on which we could have built a studio building. However, the longer we thought about it, and the more we saw other places, the less promising it looked.
The building we made an offer on is a building we looked at in the beginning of our search, but eliminated mainly for one reason. We even wrote about why we rejected it in one of our earlier posts! Funny, isn’t it? After much thought and a second look, I have to say that this building has everything except one thing, and in the end, that one thing wasn’t enough to keep us from making an offer: it’s not in Red Hook. It pains me to say that, but we decided this building is unique enough that we are willing to leave the neighborhood I’ve come to love so much (we all have). It pains me even more because I think Red Hook could be so much more, and such a better place to live, if only there was a little more available housing. To the people who own vacant lots in Red Hook and won’t sell them: You are holding Red Hook back for your own selfish fantasy that you’ll cash in big one day.
So, without further ado, I introduce you to our house in Wallabout! (see photos after jump)
It’s been awhile since our last post…we are continuing our search, and may have found a potential building, but nothing is confirmed yet.
This is exciting news, but it’s also somewhat sad news for myself and the others since we’ve decided to widen our search outside of Red Hook. There just aren’t any available buildings that suit our needs and budget, and the myriad of vacant lots are rotting the neighborhood from within, like, well, rot. Owners are clutching onto their lots with the dream of scoring Big and selling to a developer for millions. They think the zoning will change to allow towers like Williamsburg or 4th Avenue. I have a secret for them: it won’t.
In the mean time, all the vacant lots keep Red Hook impoverished both economically and aesthetically. It’s a self-defeating cycle: the vacant lots prevent further development, but at the same time the lot owners are waiting for more development to raise property values before they sell. See the problem?
If I were in charge of things (and why not?), the NYC Finance Dept would seize any land that has unpaid taxes and auction the lots off in a lottery to residents of the neighborhood. No developers, no absentee owners. Allow appropriate residential and commercial growth, owned and built by residents of Red Hook for the benefit of the neighborhood. A girl can dream, can’t she?
After many frustrating attempts to contact land owners or find an existing building that works for us in Red Hook, we realized we had to start looking outside the neighborhood if we want to find anything. We are not in a huge hurry, but at the same time we don’t want to wait for a year, two years, three years or more to find a place in the neighborhood. The market is favorable for buyers now, but in a year or two, who knows?
We are still hopeful that something may turn up in Red Hook, but we are not putting all our eggs in one basket, even if they are Red Hook Poultry Association eggs (http://tinyurl.com/3xrtuxw).
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