Fort Hamilton

Condo developments promise to perk up Fort Hamilton’s real-estate scene

Eye On Real Estate

December 7, 2016 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
You know you're in Fort Hamilton — the neighborhood, not the military base — when the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge looks close enough to touch. Eagle photos by Lore Croghan

Fort Where?

Fort Hamilton is one of those neighborhood names many Brooklynites don’t know.

It refers to the south end of Bay Ridge.

This is the part of Bay Ridge that’s closest to the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. It’s closest to the military base, Fort Hamilton, whose name it shares. It’s where the R train ends — the last stop is at 95th Street and Fourth Avenue, outside Brooklyn Public Library’s Fort Hamilton Branch, which was built in 1907 with funds from philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.

The neighborhood’s real-estate scene is a bit sleepy.

Bay Ridge’s most noteworthy properties — enormous single-family houses with substantial lawns — are situated north of Fort Hamilton. They can be found on Shore Road, Narrows Avenue (which is where Bay Ridge’s best-known building, the Gingerbread House, is located), Colonial Road, Ridge Boulevard and some of the interconnecting side streets.

But two condo developments promise to liven up Fort Hamilton’s housing market.

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Condos where a convent stood

One project site is 401 95th St., where a convent formerly stood. A seven-story building with 22 apartments and retail space is being constructed there now.

Several months ago, we heard that project completion was expected around the end of 2017. We don’t know if that’s still the case.

According to city Finance Department records, J&J Property & Management Group LLC, with Tin Tak Cheng as manager, bought the site for $3 million in 2009 from St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church of Fort Hamilton.  

The church is located on the opposite side of 95th Street from the convent site.

“This is the beginning of the transformation of Bay Ridge. It’s a taste of Park Slope,” Gerard Splendore, a licensed associate real estate broker at Halstead, told us during a recent sit-down.

“I bring buyers and renters who are in sticker shock over Park Slope and Brooklyn Heights, and even Bed-Stuy, to Bay Ridge,” Splendore said.
“They’re a little skeptical — but they’re open.”

We met at a new café called the Coop that’s across the street from the development site.

The restaurant at 9504 Fourth Ave. has a kid-friendly vibe the Park Slope stroller brigade would surely find suitable. It has play space for kids and avocado toast and La Colombe coffee for their parents.

The corn waffles with cheddar cheese and jalapeño are crave-worthy, especially if you add a dash of sriracha to the maple syrup with which they’re served.  

Just up the block from the site of the former convent, a building that belonged to St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church of Fort Hamilton until December 1986 is now for sale.

“The dominoes are starting to fall,” Splendore said.

The property that’s being marketed is 9419 Fifth Ave. The asking price for the two-story mixed-use building with retail space, a loft-style apartment, a parking lot and air rights is $2.95 million, info posted online by listing broker TerraCRG indicates.

By the way, another kid-friendly thing that’s nearby is a universal pre-kindergarten center the city is building. The New York City School Construction Authority purchased two properties to create the site, 359-369 93rd St. and 381 93rd St., for a combined $3.9 million in 2015, Finance Department records indicate.

Air rights cost $500,000

Fort Hamilton’s second condo-development site is 9701 Third Ave.

In March, the city Buildings Department issued a demolition permit for the vacant building that stands there, which formerly housed Pipin’s Pub and J.T.’s Restaurant.

Pipin’s Pub has relocated temporarily to 9023 Third Ave. Last year, restaurant co-owner Stephen Oliver told websites Gothamist and Hey Ridge he plans to move it back to its original location after the construction of the new development is finished.

Finance Department records indicate that an LLC with Adam Friedman as a member purchased 9701-9709 Third Ave. for $2.8 million in 2015. In 2016, the LLC bought air rights to increase the size of the project from the owner of an adjacent property for $500,000, Finance Department records show.

According to Buildings Department filings, the planned development will be six stories tall and have 20 residential units and 3,217 square feet of commercial space.

Ale from Iceland, pizza made with truffle oil

The Coop isn’t the only trendy thing in Fort Hamilton.

* Met Fresh Supermarket recently expanded into space next door. The coolest thing (literally and figuratively) in the addition is the Beer Cave.

The walk-in cooler’s floor-to-ceiling shelves are stocked with a wide selection of suds from micro-breweries and major players in the booze business.

There’s Einstök ale and porter from Iceland, Big Daddy IPA (which means India Pale Ale) from San Francisco brewery Speakeasy and Aunt Sally sour mash ale from Lagunitas Brewing Co. — whose marketing slogan is “Beer speaks. People mumble.”

The grocery store is located at 9606 Third Ave.

* Campania, a restaurant at 9824 Fourth Ave., has a red pizza on its menu, the Lombarda, that’s fit for Brooklyn foodies’ Instagram feeds.

It’s made with truffle oil — which tastes perfect in combination with thinly sliced prosciutto, shaved Parmesan, fresh mozzarella and warmed arugula.

Houses for less than $1 million

In case you’re wondering about Bay Ridge home prices, one-bedroom co-op apartments go for around $300,000 to $350,000, Splendore said. Two-bedroom co-ops are around $500,000 to $700,000, and possibly not renovated at that price.  

The smallest semi-attached houses can be found for less than $1 million but will probably need renovation.

The “best value” in the neighborhood is a two-family house with a residential tenant’s unit or a doctor’s office, Splendore said. These homes are priced just above $1 million.

Single-family trophy homes sell for $3 million and more. See related story for details of some recent home sales.

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