Space-Sharing In Crown Heights Could Face Trouble

Space-Sharing In Crown Heights Could Face Trouble


Crown Heights has recently become a hotbed for space sharing, a concept where either residents of businesses simply “share” either common living or working space. Commercially, Sam Strauss-Malcolm plans to open his second co-working space in Crown Heights later this fall. His first project, called “Dean Machine” and located at 1037 Dean Street, has not been able to keep up with demand, forcing Strauss-Malcolm to open a second location. The new space, called Work and Co. and located at 650 Franklin Avenue, will have 20 cubicles that each rent for $425 per month, as well as communal work spaces and 24-hour access.

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1162 Pacific St. © Brownstoner

1162 Pacific St. © Brownstoner

The residential space-sharing market has so far been highlighted by a company called Common and its founder, Brad Hargreaves. Common provides each of its tenants with his/her own bedroom (there are 19 bedrooms in total), while the living rooms and common areas are all shared. The company, however, seems to have hit a bit of a snag.

The New York City Department of Buildings now has plans to inspect 1162 Pacific Street, the address where Common operates, after a complaint came in arguing that the company converted a four-story home into a single-room occupancy (SRO). A law was passed in the 1950 that prohibited the addition of any further SRO spaces.

“Hargreaves insists that his building is not an SRO, and that Common actually functions a lot like any other landlord who rents an apartment to roommates: At 1162 Pacific St., there are four apartments divided into 19 furnished rooms.”

Common has undoubtedly experienced certain levels of success to date, as demand for the Common’s product has been high, and the company has raised more than $7 million in venture capital funding.

 Commercial Developments in Crown Heights

The large majority of commercial developments in Crown Heights deal with restaurants, bars, and coffee shops, most of which are solely unique to the neighborhood. One restaurant, in particular, earned high praise a few months back from Fodor’s — one of the nation’s leading travel publications. Fodor’s named Barboncino Pizza in Crown Heights the No. 1 place for pizza in Brooklyn, edging out some of the other popular places like Roberta’s in Bushwick.

© DNA Info

© DNA Info

Jennifer Rhodes of Ideal Properties Group argues that Franklin Avenue in Crown Heights has become “restaurant row,” and Ari Harkov of Halstead Property’s Harkov-Lewis Team likens it to the Williamsburg of years ago.

There has been, however, one notable brand name that has recently entered the area: Starbucks. Starbucks opened its first location in Crown Heights roughly a year ago at 341 Eastern Parkway. The coffee chain shares the building with Capital One Bank, who signed a 10-year lease for its space back in 2014.

Residential Developments in Crown Heights

A search on OLR shows a number of new condo developments in Crown Heights, three of which are new constructions, two that are pre-constructions, and two that are new conversions. “The amount of development in Crown Heights is extraordinary,” says Ari Harkov.

The three projects that are new constructions include:

  1. 1670 Dean Street – five floors/five units/$524 per square foot
  2. 830 Dean Street – four floors/two units/$925 per square foot
  3. 954 Bergen Street – six floors/36 units/ $942 per square foot

Additionally, 954 Bergen Street has incredibly high rental prices as well. One-bedroom apartments in that building have been rented for $2,500 and $2,600 despite the fact that

© Urban Homestead Assistance Board

© Urban Homestead Assistance Board

the median price for a one-bed in Crown Heights is $1,800 (according to StreetEasy).

Rental Dispute in Crown Heights

One of the more note-worthy developments in Crown Heights over the past few weeks and months has been the on-going fight between Renaissance Realty and the tenants of the two buildings the company now owns. The tenants have been paying below-market “preferential rent” for more than two decades, but Renaissance has wanted to raise prices since taking over the properties.

The courts originally ruled in favor of Renaissance Realty, saying that the firm was in fact allowed to charge market-price rents. A number of tenants, however, are appealing the decision in what is almost certain to be a long, drawn-out fight.

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