On This Day in History, January 25: Eagle Reports on Brooklyn Real Estate Boom

January 25, 2012 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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The Jan. 25, 1902, Brooklyn Eagle was chock full of upbeat real estate news. A full-page spread fleshed out an annual report by the Buildings Department that confirmed “the borough’s prominence as a home community” as well as a “large increase in manufacturing plants.”

Below are some excerpts from the article:

“Among the encouraging items in the annual report of the Department of Buildings, completed last week by Commissioner John Guilfoyle, is that which sets forth the fact that during the year 1901 no fewer than 77 buildings for manufacturing purposes were completed in Brooklyn, at a cost of $1,262,280. While Brooklyn has long been well thought of by manufacturers in the metropolitan district as a favorable location for their plants, their establishment here in former years were of very slow growth. But 1901 has set a pace that will probably not be lessened for several years to come, but rather quickened, as a number of brokers report favorably on negotiations under way looking to the opening up of new lines of industry…

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“Another item of Commissioner Guilfoyle’s that should be equally gratifying to all interested in the growth of Brooklyn is that bearing upon housing. This shows that 2,044 private, or separate, dwellings were put under construction in 1901, the estimated cost of which was $8,877,605. Also, that 1,094 flat and apartment houses of the Brooklyn pattern were started, their cost being placed at $6,883,102. While these figures are not startling from their size, they do emphasize the fact that this is a home borough….”

Bensonhurst Build Up

“Bath Beach and Bensonhurst seem to be the objective points for all who are or who contemplate building a house. Within the next two weeks the Bensonhurst Building Company, recently incorporated, will move into its handsome new office at 18th Avenue and 84th Street…

“The site of the new real estate office is a part of the John V. Van Pelt holdings, and heretofore the land has not been selling as rapidly as other sections of the ward. During the past two months, however, a dozen houses have been erected on it and it has been made clear to Mr. Van Pelt that building houses on his lots and selling them beats waiting in the hopes of selling the lots without the houses.

Park Slope Prospering

“A better field for the speculative builder than the Park Slope cannot be found anywhere in Brooklyn, and it is a matter of no little comment that these ordinarily enterprising men are not more active in that locality. The men who have given this section of the borough their attention have been handsomely rewarded, and there are to be found there some of the finest examples of private and apartment house construction in the whole city. A demand has been created of late for an up to date three story and basement house in the Park Slope; one that would sell for about $16,000 to $18,000, and if a number of these were on the market today it would be entirely safe to say that they would all be sold this spring, and mostly to men now living in Manhattan.”

The Eagle also reported that Butterick Publishing Company sold its manufacturing plant on the corner of Throop and Lafayette Avenue and planned to move its operation to Manhattan — “the first extensive establishment to contemplate removal from this borough to Manhattan in several years.”

Also, the Eagle reported, a substantial estate changed hands in Brooklyn Heights. “The house and grounds of the old Fisher Howe estate at 128 to 124 Willow Street was sold last week to George Foster Peabody…for $40,000.” The house had been built about 77 years before as one of the original mansions of the Heights, the article stated. [George Foster Peabody was a wealthy financier and philanthropist for whom the Peabody Award is named. Peabody was a native of Georgia and a benefactor of the University of Georgia, which gives out the award to radio, television and web broadcasters.]

 — Compiled by P. Neidl

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