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A Two BR Close to Gowanus- Preferably Cleaner Than the Canal

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If reading The Hunt stokes your deepest hopes that someday everything in life could work out, then you, too, are obsessed with the New York Times Sunday Real Estate section. Join us as we venture into the depths of this weekend's installment.

Jordan and Michael Kingston were expecting a baby and though they would have loved to live the dream of renovating a brownstone, they knew that a new apartment in Brooklyn would be the most pragmatic option. They looked around in Gowanus and Carroll Gardens, but in the end they ended up at Third and Bond in Gowanus. Let's hope they don't take any swimming lessons in the canal.

With a baby on the way, they had their hearts set on a two-bedroom two-bath home, with outdoor space, for $600,000 to $700,000. They figured they could afford to buy in Brooklyn and sought help from Vanessa van der Linde-Brown, an agent at City Connections. She took them to Third and Bond, a just-completed four-story condominium on the Carroll Gardens side of the Gowanus Canal. But the 44 units were walk-ups, and they would soon be lugging a stroller around. Besides, two-bedrooms were in the mid-$700,000s, beyond their price range.

A good combination of old and new presented itself at 25 Carroll Street in the Columbia Street Waterfront District.

Two of the two-bedroom apartments had prices well within reach.

“The bones of the building were phenomenal,” Ms. van der Linde-Brown said. And, in the area, “it is rare to get a condo-loft situation.” The first open house, last fall, was mobbed, she recalled. “I felt a little uncomfortable with it being such a pressure cooker to make an offer.”

Location was a problem: the building was a long walk from the subway.

Twenty-five Carroll Street sold out quickly.
At Columbia Commons on Warren Street, which also had a roof deck, two-bedroom condos were in the $600,000s and $700,000s.
Again, the location stopped them in their tracks.

Meanwhile, the couple found themselves returning to Third and Bond. They asked an environmentalist friend about living just two blocks from the Gowanus Canal, a federal Superfund site. Their friend told them they needn’t worry, as long as they didn’t swim in the canal.

They had a choice of a two-bedroom two-bath condominium two flights up, and an identical unit, at a similar price, one flight higher. That one, though, had a small terrace. And they decided they wanted the terrace more than they didn’t want the stairs.

The Kingstons bought the 1,100-square-foot apartment for $755,000.

· 'Something New and Sparkly' [NYT]