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Downtown Brooklyn

The sky’s the limit in Downtown Brooklyn, as many new commercial and residential buildings soar. Along Flatbush Avenue and within the triangle bordered by Schermerhorn St., shiny new rental and condo towers are replacing older structures at a breakneck pace. The lifestyle pace is also fast during the workweek, as office buildings, stores, and colleges fill with students, professionals, and workers. The evenings and weekends bring less foot trafficyet maintain an active vibe. While Downtown Brooklyn isn’t quite as dense and tall, it feels closer to Manhattan than most Brooklyn neighborhoods.

The building boom extends to exciting new commercial spaces as well. DeKalb Market Hall, featuring an outpost of Katz’s Deli, Arepa Lady, Ample Hills Ice Cream, and many more mouth-watering options, sits beneath the new City Point locations of Target, Trader Joe’s, Flying Tiger, and more popular retail. Alamo Drafthouse Cinemaoffers dine-in service and a bar. An Apple store opened in a futuristic glass structure at the base of a new residential building on the border of Fort Greene.

There are some fabulous older buildings in the neighborhood as well as the many new developments. Prices in Downtown are on the higher end for Brooklyn as a whole, but not quite as high as the quieter surrounding neighborhoods of Brooklyn Heights, Dumbo, Fort Greene,Boerum Hill, and Carroll Gardens.

Just about every subway snakes through this well-positioned neighborhood, with only 1-2 stops into Manhattan.

The NYC Subway System is on the move!

Free Wi-Fi, L Train Update, Auto-refill MetroCards, Beautiful Artwork, and a New Line

New Q line subway station at 86th Street and 2nd Avenue


Free Wi-Fi and Upgrades in NYC Subway Stations

There is now access to free Wi-Fi in 150 of the 279 subway stations, with full coverage scheduled to be in effect by New Year’s Eve. That’s a full year ahead of schedule – wow!

Further improvements are in the works. New trains will have open-ended cars, USB chargers, heightened safety features, digital displays, and a sleeker look. Also coming are renovated stations, which will include new signage with digital, real-time updates at entrances, enhanced lighting, new artwork and more.

The first 3 stations to be renovated and the start dates have just been announced: the R train stations at 53rd St (March 27th), Prospect Ave. (June 5th), and Bay Ridge Ave. (April 29th). Each will be shut down for 6 months in order to complete the work as quickly as possible.


L Train Shutdown Timetable Announced, Options Being Considered To Mitigate Commute Disruption

The L train, which travels across 14th St in Manhattan and through Williamsburg and Bushwick in Brooklyn, is scheduled to be shut down for repairs resulting from Hurricane Sandy. The L will still travel through Williamsburg and Bushwick; however, it will not travel into Manhattan or along 14th St. The closure is set to begin in April 2019 and continue for 15 months (down from the originally estimated 18 months).

A number of options are being studied to facilitate transit from this section of Brooklyn into and out of Manhattan. One option is a car-free zone along 14th St. with bicycle, pedestrian, and bus lanes. Car-free zones along sections of Grand Ave. and Bedford Ave. are also being considered. Other options include ramped up G train and ferry service, shuttle busses, and even a gondola!


New Subway Fares Go Into Effect March 19

The new fares, which go into effect on March 19, will raise the cost of a monthly card by $4.50, to $121, and a weekly card by $1 to $32. The base fare will remain at $2.75, but the bonus will be only 5%, down from 11%.


Auto-Refill NYC MetroCards

We’ve all been there. You’re running to catch the subway. You hear it approaching the station. You swipe your card. Insufficient funds. You’re stopped in your tracks.

Here’s the solution! The EasyPayXpress MetroCard works like EasyPass; you sign up for an account online. You link it to a credit card, and it gets automatically refilled whenever your balance dips below $20. The card can be used on subways, express busses, and local busses. It comes in 2 flavors: Pay-Per Ride, and Unlimited 30 day. You even get the same bonus as at the machines. Check it out and never hit an unmoving turnstile again.


New NYC 2nd Avenue Q Subway Line Now Serving Art on the Upper East Side

The new Q subway line, which runs express along Broadway before heading up 2nd Avenue, boasts 3 impressive new stations at 72nd St, 86th St., and 96th St. Besides being super clean and modern, they present a fabulous and inspiring selection of tile artwork at each of the new stations. It’s worth a ride just to check it out. Upper East Side residents are ecstatic – just ask one!

While you’re in the neighborhood, why not visit some open houses? Prices have been on the lower end of the NYC real estate market in the area east of 2nd Avenue as there was no subway nearby. With easier access to the area, that is changing, so now is a great time to jump in and purchase some prime NYC Upper East Side real estate. Shoot us an email or give us a call and we’ll be happy to be your guide.



Crowdfunding NYC Real Estate

Fund a Kickstarter and get a t-shirt; fund a NYC real estate development project and share in the profits!

Crowdfunding is helping to build 3 World Trade Center in NYC


A New Kind of NYC Real Estate Investment Opportunity

The Securities Act of 1933 created a distinction between private and public investment opportunities. Only private groups of very wealthy, accredited investors were allowed access to private real estate development opportunities, which yielded significantly higher rewards. In 2012, these restrictions were loosened, and then in 2016, they were finally lifted, paving the way for the broader public to share equally in real estate development opportunities.


NYC Real Estate Crowdfunding Sites

A plethora of crowdfunding sites have emerged since 2012, and diving in can be overwhelming. The Real Estate Crowdfunding Review helps navigate the waters, with tutorials, rankings, forums, and more. Investments can be made in a single property or in a fund that invests in several properties. Minimums start at $5,000, but are more often $25-50,000.


Individual Investing in NYC Real Estate

The wait-and-see attitude of the last quarter seems to be giving way to a let’s-go attitude for 2017. With limited inventory, buyers are busy searching for the right property before rates rise again. While the market for extremely high priced properties has softened, deals on appropriately priced properties asking above 5mil are up 30% year-over-year. Co-ops offer a lower price tag, but come with more restrictions than condos – find out more here. The neighborhood will also affect the price per square foot and the potential for growth. At Spark Realty, we are constantly monitoring the many factors that go into making a strong investment decision.