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In Which a Toronto-Reminiscent Area is Key

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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.

Melinda Lehman and Terry Iwaskiw were relocating from Toronto to Brooklyn, and decided to explore some neighborhoods that were most reminiscent of home. Williamsburg was crossed off the list for not being quite there yet in terms of how developed it was. Park Slope? Way too many kids. Brooklyn Heights and Fort Greene had some interesting spaces, but not quite what they were looking for. Which is probably for the best, since it doesn't seem like those areas are what they wanted, either. So what Brooklyn neighborhood best replicated an area with a lot of industrial conversions? Well, that wasn't hard at all. DUMBO it is! And more specifically, the charms of a $5,735/month two bedroom at 220 Water Street was perfect.

The couple at first assumed that $4,000 to $5,000 a month would be a reasonable rental price, but soon made it $6,000 to $7,000. A four-bedroom triplex in Brooklyn Heights, listed for $7,000, was in a narrow but lovely brownstone building.

But they thought the rent was higher than it should be. Besides, their timing was off — they weren’t ready to move quite so soon.

They checked out a sunny three-bedroom duplex with two outdoor terraces at the Fort Greene-Clinton Hill boundary. The nine-unit building had been built as a condominium but was being rented out, Mr. Brown said. The rent was $6,000 a month.

The second story was suitable for an office, so the interior space worked well, but the couple didn’t like the building’s modern feel and small lobby.

They loved another four-bedroom place in a Fort Greene brownstone. It was also $7,000 a month, with a beautifully renovated interior and, again, plenty of bookshelves. But it occupied the upper half of the building, and the elderly Hanna can no longer easily negotiate stairs.

“They were proactive and took it upon themselves to explore the neighborhoods they heard the most about,” Mr. Brown said. The one they kept returning to was Dumbo.
In Dumbo, they had noticed 220 Water Street, a new rental building that had started life in 1905 as the Hanan & Son shoe factory.

The building offered quite a few layouts, but only a few were big enough to work for them. Most of the spaces were studios and one-bedrooms.

The couple rented the largest apartment they could, with two bedrooms, two baths and a separate home-office space, covering nearly 1,500 square feet. There is a separate office entrance, too. The rent is $5,735, plus a $50-per-month amenity fee, for extras like a dog-washing space.

A New Neighborhood, Not Too Lame [NYT]