Orange You Glad It’s Not Still the MTA: 166 Smith Rentals Hit the Market

A little bit of Phoenix dropped on the edge of Cobble Hill.

A little bit of Phoenix dropped on the edge of Cobble Hill.

The MTA-owned building at 166 Smith Street in in Cobble Hill (or is it Boerum Hill? writing about this slice of Brooklyn always makes us sympathize with the coiners of “BoCoCa”) was, objectively speaking, one of the ugliest buildings in Brooklyn. The monstrosity at the corner of Smith and Wyckoff made am New York‘s top 10 fugliest buildings list in 2008, when they described it as, “a windowless two-story bunker from the ’20s that was encased in concrete a few years ago and now looks like it could withstand a nuclear blast.”

Luckily, though, one developer managed to disentomb the structure (someone might want to call Hans Blix to check the radiation levels, though): 166 Smith Street has been redeveloped into a reddish-orange four-story rental building (Grasso-Menziuso Architects did the design), with storefronts on the ground floor. One has already been occupied by Lululemon, which has affixed some artsy ironwork—we’re told the curbs spell out “Brooklyn,” but we can’t see it—to the façade.

Every unit has private outdoor space, for those who want to give their neighbors a taste of their own medicine.

Every unit has private outdoor space, for those who want to give their neighbors a taste of their own medicine.

“One of the unique things about the project is that it’s all private outdoor spaces,” Douglas Elliman broker Dena Driver, who shares the rental’s listings with Juliette Pannone, told The Observer. “So instead of doing a roof deck, which you see in a lot of new developments these days, the developer decided it would be more valuable to have a layout where either there’s an adjacent deck, or you’ve got a sectioned-off area on the roof, with a very high fence—each space has water, lights and an electric hookup.”

“There’s not really a lot of new rental inventory,” Ms. Driver said, explaining the $4,750 (for a second-floor one-bedroom with home office) to $7,995 (for a three-bedroom duplex with home office) monthly rents. The building, she said, “is a really nice size in that you don’t get the feeling that you’re in a big apartment building—all the layouts are different, so it’s not like you’re in a cookie cutter building either.”

“Something that was completely ridiculous,” she said, adding that she wasn’t sure The Observer could run it (she clearly doesn’t know The Observer!): “We were having our first open house last Saturday, and clearly the building across the street—which is a lovely converted bank building—was not used to having neighbors, because we’re having this open house and this naked man is wandering through his apartment!”