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It Happened One Weekend: One Avenue B Tries to Fit In

1) Super-cool Alphabet City gets ready to welcome One Avenue B to the hood. Developer LargaVista Companies, who's previous work focused on franchise restaurants and office buildings in the outer boroughs, transformed a lot that housed a Gasateria to make way for 24 apartments that range from the mid 500's up to $1.75 million. The shiny glass appears to stick out a bit, but Principal Marcello Porcelli argues, "We didn’t want to build a big tower in the sky that sticks up. We wanted to respect what’s been there for a long time." [CJ Hughes/Posting]

2) New York apartment buildings are in a quandary searching for renovations which will simultaneously improve the building and property values. With limited space, escalating construction costs and crusty boards, the process is not so simple. Gyms and playrooms are preferred to roof decks, but sometimes the simplest solution is the best. Realtors recommend sprucing up lobbies and hallways, hiring a full time doorman or creating additional storage space for extra junk. But there is no silver bullet. Jonathan Miller explains: "á la carte amenities seldom have an impact. It’s the package of amenities that a building offers that is inherent in the value of the building." [Teri Karush Rogers/NY Times]

3) After being priced out of Clinton Hill, accountant Keith Rosenthal knew he would have to expand his search area to find a new home. The only thing that mattered was the cost. Size and location were disregarded in order to find an apartment that cost $700-$850 a month and not a penny more. After seeing some listings for places in the Bronx, he and his girlfriend found an agent to take them around, with no apartment too small or too cheap for their price. They eventually settled on a 400sqft studio for $58,000. The place is so small there is only room for a sofa bed, but this is of no matter to the stingy accountant who is happy to be in "a run-of-the-mill building, which kind of suits me because I am trying to pay a run-of-the-mill price." [Joyce Cohen/The Hunt]

4) The Ciccarone and Belmont playgrounds are four blocks apart in the Bronx. Both were scheduled for simultaneous repairs, but while the Ciccarone repairs move ahead, the Belmont playground languishes. The kicker is that the Ciccarone Playground near Arthur Avenue has a renovation budget almost three times the size of the Belmont Playground, despite being 75% smaller. Former Deputy Mayor and Arthur Avenue resident Peter Madonia admits to pushing for the increased budget. The Parks department blames delays on contractor issues while denying that the projects were ever supposed to begin simultaneously. [Clint Hedler/Belmont Report]

5) Northsix proprietor Jeff Steinhauser explains the club's upcoming transformation to the Music Hall of Williamsburg. After operating the space since 2001, even building the stage himself, the club has had to deal with fire code violations, an ongoing legal battle, and of course, rising rents. Steinhauser will stay on and manage the new club but wonders, "the way the neighborhood is changing, I don’t know that a place like this necessarily fits in." [Jake Mooney/Williamsburg Report]