Bay Ridge

What’s the right price for the Gingerbread House?

June 4, 2014 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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Eye On Real Estate

Does a $10.5 million asking price make sense for a Bay Ridge house, even one with the historic éclat of the Gingerbread House?

It is one of the city’s finest examples of Arts and Crafts-style architecture, according to the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s designation report about 8220 Narrows Ave., which was deemed an individual city landmark in 1988.

“The house is highly original and one of the important examples of early 20th  Century architecture in New York City,” the report says.

The enchanting design of the Gingerbread House prompted the Daily News late, much-mourned real estate writer Jason Sheftell to call the house “Brooklyn’s Taj Mahal” and declare it his choice for the “most magnificent residence in all of New York City” last year, when Elliman had the listing at an $11 million asking price.

That was the number in 2012 when Alpine Realty was the broker. In 2009, when the house first went on the market, Brown Harris Stevens listed it at $12 million.

The asking price for a house in Bay Ridge needs to be less than $10 million, or there’s a “psychological barrier” to buying, said real estate sources – who think $8 million to $8.5 million would be a good number to use.

Homesellers Jerry and Diane Fishman and their broker do not agree. They will find a buyer who doesn’t find their $10.5 million asking price off-putting, Corcoran associate real estate broker Vicki Negron predicted.

“There’s someone who feels like Jerry, that ‘I have to live there,’” she said.

Fishman’s romance with the Gingerbread House goes way back.

He flunked English because he spent so much time staring at the Gingerbread House from his classroom window at Fort Hamilton High School, he told The Real Deal. On his first date with Diane, he took her to see the house and told her one day it would be theirs, the publication reported.

The married couple paid less than $1 million for the house in 1985, Fishman told the Wall Street Journal.

These days, three-bedroom detached houses in Bay Ridge are around $1.2 million, four- or five-bedroom homes around $1.8 million and homes with larger yards in the $2 million to $2.5 million range. The priciest deal anyone can recall was the 2010 sale of 8033 Shore Road for $4.65 million.

Real estate sources said the Gingerbread House’s proximity to the high school’s Natatorium is a minus. It’s directly opposite the 83rd Street side of the house, with car traffic when there are swim meets.

Negron hasn’t checked the swim-meet schedule – but can’t imagine homebuyers would disapprove of  a wholesome activity like competitive swimming.

The neighbor on the 82nd Street side of the Gingerbread House is a construction site – which can bring noise and annoyance.

The site at 8068-8070 Narrows Ave. is a big one created by a man named Robert Palmese, who bought two properties for a combined $3.75 million and demolished the houses on them.

A plan filed with the city Buildings Department, which the agency disapproved in early May, calls for construction of a new 4,993-square-foot single-family house.

BTW, a digression: In March, Robert Palmese and Stephen Palmese bought a small Brooklyn Heights residential building, 44 Hicks St., for $2.5 million.

So say the Narrows Avenue house construction takes a year, Negron commented.  “After that, you have a fabulous new neighbor,” she said.

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