Brooklyn Heights

Swift sales in Brooklyn Heights: The pre-Civil War townhouse at 31 Garden Place

July 20, 2016 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The house with the lights on at the front door is 31 Garden Place, which sold in three weeks. Eagle photos by Lore Croghan

Eye on Real Estate

In pricey, patrician Brooklyn Heights, some homes sit on the market a looong time before being sold.

Others are snapped up in a New York minute.

We were wondering why the other day, as we strolled along streets lined with beloved pre-Civil War brownstones and wood-frame houses. So we asked experts to share their insights.

“There’s so much negativity out there. A lot of people are saying, ‘Maybe I’ll wait for prices to come down.’ Then I’m reminded that a great property in a great location will sell, and sell quickly,” said Leslie Marshall of the Corcoran Group.

“People always want to live in Brooklyn Heights.”

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There is hot demand for 25-foot houses in Brownstone Brooklyn neighborhoods.

A case in point: It took just three weeks to nail down a signed sale contract for 31 Garden Place, a 25-foot-wide single-family townhouse on a landmarked Brooklyn Heights block.

“I meet buyers who have decided they like the width, the openness and the light of a 25-foot house — and that’s the only kind of home they want to look at,” said Marshall, a licensed associate real estate broker at the Corcoran Group. She’d listed 31 Garden Place at an $8.1 million asking price.  

In Brownstone Brooklyn neighborhoods, home-hunters are more likely to find townhouses that are 20 to 22 feet wide, or narrow houses that are 16 feet wide. The 25-foot homes are relatively rare.

In the past year, a number of Garden Place houses that were 16 to 20 feet wide took several months to sell, said Marshall, who works with Corcoran colleague James Cornell as the Cornell Marshall Team, which focuses on Brownstone Brooklyn house and apartment sales.

Some prospective buyers for 31 Garden Place had looked at those narrower houses and had not pursued deals. They told Marshall they were pleased to see a well-maintained, 25-foot house for sale on Garden Place.  

The very first person to view the house was the broker for 31 Garden Place’s purchaser. It has “very grand, wide rooms,” with many original architectural details, and a garden that was in full bloom when the house went on the market, Marshall said.

“It showed well,” she added.

The sale of the house just closed for $8 million, the Corcoran Group’s website indicates.

According to City Finance Department records, the sellers of 31 Garden Place, Eric Avram and Lynne Greenberg, had purchased it in 2003 for $2.995 million. According to Clay Lancaster’s book, “Old Brooklyn Heights: New York’s First Suburb,” it was built in the 1840s.

Marshall has been selling real estate for 14 years. Before becoming a broker, she was a criminal defense lawyer for the Legal Aid Society in Manhattan, then a criminal defense attorney in private practice.