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Prospect Heights' Sterling Green: What Democracy Looks Like

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Prospect Heights' 580 Sterling Place made its debut in November 2007 with a basic illustration and an interesting gimmick: the developer invited just about anyone to help design the eight-unit condo project. Was he crazy? Yes. Was he successful? We'll soon find out. Sure, the building?now called Sterling Green?has rounded up 147 Facebook fans, but now it's time to sell those eco-friendly apartments. It came out of the process looking like the rendering at right, with prices starting at $299,000. According to Sterling Green's website, two units are already spoken for. But how did the design-by-committee tactic work out? Developer Seth Brown wrote in with this update: "A year and a half ago you called me 'either the smartest or stupidest man alive' for launching an open source condo project. I'm definitely somewhere in the middle."

I picked up some good ideas from open sourcing the project (like turning private cellar storage into a bike room), but also loads of vitriol from some angry, angry architects, who somehow thought that I was designing a building in NYC without an architect. Don't you guys know you can't do that? Anyway, I recently launched sales at Sterling Green, which, true to the original scope, is an 8-unit green condo project in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, and it's at least partially based on the ideas people sent in. We have the most affordable seriously green condos in NYC, as far as I know - from $299,000 to $499,000 - and the first two just went into contract. Private outdoor space with every unit, too. Construction should be complete in another 6 weeks or so.

· Sterling Green [Official Site]
· Brooklyn Building Will Be Designed By Time's Person of the Year [Curbed]