Brooklyn Heights

Stately 81 State St. sells for $10.25 million

Eye on Real Estate: Other big numbers from the Brooklyn Heights housing market

October 28, 2015 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
This is handsome 81 State St. (right), which recently sold for a handsome price. Eagle photos by Lore Croghan
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It’s high time we checked up on the sale market in our favorite place on the planet, the Brooklyn Heights Historic District.

The deal that most grabs our attention took place in late July.

An entity called Chauncy Shepard LLC paid $10.25 million for 81 State St., city Finance Department records indicate. This Greek Revival rowhouse was listed in the 1846 city directory, according to Clay Lancaster’s book “Old Brooklyn Heights: New York’s First Suburb.”

But back to the present day. Real estate lawyer Ellyn Roth Mittman signed deed documents and a mortgage on the purchasing LLC’s behalf as an “authorized person.” We get it. It’s. Not. Her. House.

According to the Economic Policy Journal, in 2013 the lawyer was the public face of the LLC through which Chelsea Clinton and husband Marc Mezvinsky bought a Manhattan condo.

As for the sellers of 81 State, identified in the deed as Abraham Dweck and Robert Levine, we say Well done!

They had purchased the house for $2.9 million in a 2008 estate sale, Finance Department records show. Later they converted the four-family home to a single-family residence, city Buildings Department filings indicate.


Another handsome house for a handsome price

A shout-out also goes to the recent buyer of 36 Garden Place, another stellar single-family home in the Brooklyn Heights Historic District.

William Derrough paid $7.785 million for the handsome brownstone, Finance Department records indicate. He’s a managing director at investment bank Moelis & Co.

Renovation work is underway at the house.

According to a 2013 story, the asking price had been $10 million, and later $8.25 million.

Two houses for sale by Donald Trump’s son-in-law

Numerous houses that are up for sale are deserving of a mention — properties we haven’t previously spotlighted in recent months like 3 Pierrepont Place and 192 Columbia Heights.

For instance, two single-family houses in the Brooklyn Heights Historic District that have been on the sale market for a year belong to the Kushner Cos. The firm is headed by Jared Kushner, who is married to Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka. Both buildings are being renovated.

They were purchased from Brooklyn Law School in a package of six buildings in 2014.

The asking price for 38 Monroe Place is $13.75 million. Sotheby’s International Realty has the listing. The Kushner Cos. paid $6,301,849 for it, Finance Department records indicate. As an off-campus student-housing building, it had 10 residential units.

A real estate firm named Compass is handling the listing for 100 Pierrepont St., which has an asking price of $11.25 million. It, too, was a 10-unit off-campus student housing building. The Kushner Cos. paid $6,029,396 for it, Finance Department records show.

A $10 million price tag for a lovely Livingston Street brownstone

A terrific brownstone, 32 Livingston St., is for sale with an asking price of $10 million.

According to a Sotheby’s International Realty listing, it was built in the 1870s and has belonged to the same family for 55 years.

Finance Department records identify them as the Cooper family — to be precise, the Cooper Family Trust is the owner.

The Sotheby’s listing notes a staggering list of original architectural details inside the house — including seven original fireplaces.

So many renovations

In these prosperous times, there’s so much renovation and remodeling going on in the Brooklyn Heights Historic District.

Workers are busy, busy busy on Columbia Heights, as always. One project we haven’t had a chance to mention is being done at 77 Columbia Heights. The long-time owners of the rowhouse on the corner of Cranberry Street are Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corp. board member Joanne Witty and her husband Eugene Keilin, Finance Department records indicate.

Another renovation that caught our eye the other day is taking place at 141 Clinton St., which is being converted from a three-family home to a single-family home.

The brick house  — which was listed in the 1853 city directory, according to author Clay Lancaster — is freshly painted a soft white. It’s starting to look good.

Husband-and-wife owners Benjamin Case and Jane Morril bought the property for $3.275 million in December 2013, Finance Department records indicate.

The asking price had been $3.5 million, an old listing indicates.

What do you think about 205 Montague St.?

Privately, it pains us to think of a skyscraper sprouting up next to sweet 16 Court St. and turning Brooklyn’s tallest office building into a metaphorical midget.

Did we say that out loud? Woops.

We don’t want to be the person who hand-wrings over new development when it’s on a commercial corridor, outside the boundaries of any historic district.

This is the case with 205 Montague St., the low-rise office building on the corner of Cadman Plaza West, where the possibility of high, high, high-rise development is looming. It’s 16 Court’s immediate neighbor, with nothing but narrow Montague Street to separate the two properties.

It has been widely reported that Midtown Equities, which belongs to the Cayre family, has just put 205 Montague up for sale. Because of air rights, a 700-foot-tall residential tower could be built on the site.

By the way, this site was the location of the long-since demolished building where Branch Rickey, the Brooklyn Dodgers’ president and general manager, signed Jackie Robinson and ended segregation in Major League Baseball.

Two years ago, we reported that Midtown Equities had filed plans with the Buildings Department to add six stories to the building that now stands on the property and turn it into a 100-unit apartment house. That was before Midtown Equities acquired air rights and made 205 Montague into a site where development can really go big.

As we reported then, the City of New York wrote restrictions into 1959 and 1960 property deeds that restricted development at 205 Montague. In 2012, Midtown Equities paid the city $3.2 million and obtained a deed modification that removed those restrictions.

Yes, a mammoth new residential tower would contribute to crowded schools. Yes, the increased population would strain neighborhood infrastructure in other ways. These things are already worth worrying about because of the big residential development planned at the site of the Brooklyn Heights Library right nearby.

However, these are problems that world-class cities solve so that big new buildings can be constructed without wrecking everybody’s quality of life.

We love glamorous new skyscrapers. We want to be supportive of glamorous new skyscrapers. But we also love 16 Court, with its 1920s style. It’s a piece of  living history. Oy vey.

How do you feel about a 700-foot-tall tower at 205 Montague, O Readers? Let us know in the Comments section below. 

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