After establishing Brownstoner.com and the Brooklyn Flea, Jonathan Butler has expanded his Brooklyn empire into brick and mortar, acquiring 1000 Dean Street in a joint venture with BFC Partners and the Goldman Sachs urban investment group. The 140,000-square-foot commercial building in Crown Heights will open for occupancy on October 1 and is expected to welcome a mixture of artists, technology firms and nonprofits, offering lower-cost office space for Brooklyn’s entrepreneurial class. Mr. Butler spoke with The Commercial Observer outside his office in Dumbo last week, offering insight into his motivation for acquiring the property and his vision for the future.
Brooklyn Vs. Queens
A few weeks ago, word got out that Brownstoner, the real estate blog that has not only chronicled, but embodied so many of the things that have transformed Brooklyn in the last decade (founder Jonathan Butler also started Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg), would be launching a new site: Brownstoner Queens.
“Certainly from the real estate market’s perspective, momentum has been building,” Mr. Butler told the Daily News when Brownstoner announced the new site. “As Brooklyn becomes more out of reach, more and more people will be looking at Queens.”
But how, exactly, would the site’s super Brooklyn-y ethos translate to Queens? (A colleague quipped that it should be called vinylsider.) When we learned that Roland Li, who has written for this paper’s pink pages and The Wall Street Journal, would be editing the site, we called him up to chat about his plans for Brownstoner Queens and the borough of Queens versus the borough of Kings.
The Mysteries of Brooklyn
There was a time when the comments on Brownstoner approached those of the Brooklyn turf wars of yore. New York magazine even wrote an entire feature about it.
But lovely surprises were buried in there, and one blossomed into a beauty to rival the entire Brownstoner enterprise (all respect to the blog itself). That would be the thoughtful work of Montrose Morris, an anonymous longtime resident of Bed-Stuy and Crown Heights who knew the neighborhoods, their history and architecture, better than just about anybody.
Regular columns ensued, and they will continue. But they will not be the same. Montrose Morris is leaving Brooklyn.
The Mysteries of Brooklyn
Over the years, Jonathan Butler has covered countless Brooklyn real estate deals and developments—and by extension, the delights and absurdities of living in the borough—for his blog Brownstoner.
Now, he can finally write about his own. Mr. Butler and his partners have paid $11 million for a former Studebaker Service Station on Dean Street in Crown Heights. They plan to convert the 155,000 square-feet of space into a commercial mixed-use development that will house artists and assorted creative types as well as a food hall—a $30 million project, to which Goldman Sachs’ Urban Investment Group will contribute $25.5 million. BFC Partners, the developer behind Toren, is also involved in the deal, which was first written about in The Journal and then, of course blogged about by Mr. Butler on Brownstoner.
A promising first step—bringing Selldorf Architects on board to design the space, which should be interesting given Selldorf’s success with high/low projects in the past: Manhattan galleries and penthouses, a renovation of the Plaza’s famed Oak Room and designing a Brooklyn recycling plant.
On April 6, a weekly Brooklyn flea market will kick off in Bishop Laughlin Memorial High School in Fort Greene, but the event is a far cry from your neighborhood stoop sale or the dusty, glorified junkyards that linger in Manhattan.
For one thing the “Brooklyn Flea” is curated, said founder Jonathan Butler—until Read More
The creators of real estate blogs like Curbed, Brownstoner, and Apartment Therapy hosted their second annual Design Blogfest holiday party at the Henrybuilt furniture store at 79 Wooster Street on Thursday night.
“Last year we promoted the hell out of the party on our blog,” said Lockhart Steele, the Read More