There's been, to put it mildly, a lot of movement in the PLG (and environs) real estate market...and I'm not talking about those mint $1.2 million Brown Harris limestones on Midwood, either. In the past couple of weeks, two major developments -- which combined could add thousands of new local residents -- have come on the market: 123 Parkside (which is located just west of Ocean Ave) and a package of three sites down by the Club Medical, which is a bit east of PLG proper. (That link, to a Brooklyn Eagle article, is, annoyingly, pay only. For the life of me I can't understand why small papers alienate potential customers like this...but I digress.)
The three sites by Kings County Hospital, et al, make up two buildings, three vacant lots, and have 55,950 buildable square feet; they're on sale for a combined $11.8 million. At first blush, that seemed like a steal; then I realized that my predecessor got $1.2 million for his house -- located on a lot with, if I recall correctly, somewhere around 15,000 of FAR. All of which is to say I have no idea how to assess the relative costs of empty lots, especially in an area with as many variables as ours.
The Parkside property seems like much more of a sure thing -- and, I'd imagine, is going to cost a pretty penny more as well. That site has a whopping 220,000 square feet of buildable, residential FAR, and off the top of my head I can't think of any other significant and empty property adjacent to the Park. The Prospect Park improvements are only going to make this area more attractive, and the presence -- and hopefully proliferation -- of excellent restaurants like The Farm on Adderley in Ditmas (and excellent coffee shops like K-Dog in PLG) should help bring in Manhattanites who don't want to spend a million plus for a one-bedroom in Chelsea. It's hard to imagine a developer buying that site and not trying to maximize his investment by putting in high end condos, and with penthouses a couple of miles up the road going for upwards of $6 million, well, who's to say what a top-notch place could go for down there.
All of which raises a chicken/egg question: one of the main knocks -- as far as I'm concerned, the only knock -- on PLG is the lack of services. It is an issue, to be sure. But there seems to be a fair amount of vacant storefront property along Lincoln and Flatbush; will more forward-thinking/enterprising merchants take the opportunity to establish a presence when retail rents are (I'd guess) lower then they are elsewhere in Brooklyn? Or will it take an influx of new residents to get restaurants, etc., to follow?