On Friday, a permit application was filed with the city to construct a small, eight-unit building at 311 Melrose Street, in Bushwick. The project itself is not that interesting, but what caught our eye was the price of the lot, which has traded hands three times since 2008, with a steadily rising trajectory. The lot’s journey illustrates the increasing demand for housing in Bushwick, with only a small fraction of the rising demand for northern Brooklyn captured in new construction on the Williamsburg waterfront and around the BQE.
Located in Bushwick near the border of what is now known as East Williamsburg, the lot was owned throughout most of the ’70s by someone who appears to have stopped paying taxes as the neighborhood went downhill, with ownership eventually transferring to the city in the early ’80s. The city then deeded it to Rolando Riera, who held onto it until 2008, when it traded hands for just $350,000, or $64 per buildable square foot.
The land steadily increased in value to $530,000 ($96 a foot) by the time it was sold again in 2013, and then jumped to $940,000 when it was finally sold again earlier this month – $171 per buildable square foot of space.
The developer, South Williamsburg-based Pearl (or Cheskie) Weisz, plans to fill the 25-foot lot with a four-story, eight-unit building with nearly 5,500 square feet of space, designed by Michael Avramides.
Farther down the L, we’ve seen even higher prices for large sites recently. One broker is asking $30 million for a site deeper into Bushwick – technically Ridgewood – right near where the L and M trains meet at Myrtle-Wyckoff Avenues. At $221 per buildable residential square foot (plus a possible community facility bonus), that’s around what sites on Fourth Avenue in Park Slope were trading for in mid-2013.
More affordable building sites – say, below $100 a foot – can be found in Bushwick, but you have to go nearly to Broadway Junction. A 20-foot-wide lot at 183 Schaefer Street, near the Wilson Avenue L stop, traded hands late last year for $425,000, or $87 per buildable square foot. An oddly shaped rail-adjacent lot at 101 Granite Street, closer to the Bushwick Avenue-Aberdeen Street stop, was much cheaper, at $50 a foot, albeit nearly a year ago, in March 2014.
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