For years, a dilapidated apartment building dominated the corner of Seventh Avenue and Second Street in Park Slope—seemingly one of the only rundown buildings left behind as the neighborhood rapidly gentrified. That changed back in 2014, when developer Sugar Hill Capital Partners announced its plan to convert it to luxury condos after purchasing the building in foreclosure.
What followed was an intensive gut renovation that stripped the historic building down to the studs, restored much of the facade, and outfitted each of the four levels with luxury floor-through condos. With construction now finished and a certificate of occupancy expected any day, Curbed spoke with Juan Herrera and Jay Solomon of Sugar Hill Capital Partners about this intensive project and what it took to transform Park Slope’s most well-known eyesore.
When Sugar Hill had the opportunity to purchase the rundown property in 2013, “it was too good to pass up,” says Juan Herrera, an executive director with the firm. “It was the opportunity to fully restore a very famous property in Park Slope.”
Both the interior and exterior renovation was tasked to New Amsterdam Design Associates (NADA), a division of Sugar Hill. The NADA team faced the very daunting task of cleaning the building out and stabilizing it for further construction. “You’d go inside and wonder if you could even walk up two steps without the staircase collapsing,” Jay Solomon, creative director with the company, says.
For years the building had been neglected by its eccentric owner, who rented out apartments here and ran a bar from the ground floor decades ago, before Park Slope gentrified. (A longtime Park Slope resident described the bar to the New York Times as such: “It wasn’t uncommon to see broken doll heads strewn across tables, or a homegrown folk singer playing to an empty bar, playing to the doll heads.”)
Solomon says that the apartments, two per floor, were “filled to the brim with furniture and old tchotchkes.” Rubbish removal took about four months. “Until we cleared it out, we couldn’t tell what condition the building was in,” Herrera says.
Unsurprisingly, it wasn’t in good shape. The structure was wrecked by water damage and neglect; the roof was “basically nonexistent;” there was even a tree growing inside. Although the floors and joists stayed, “everything was redone,” Herrera says.
NADA started on the facade, restoring as much as possible. The wood turret and bay windows were structurally unsound, however, so “we recreated them with a modern touch,” Solomon says. (The building isn’t landmarked so Sugar Hill had some flexibility with the facade design.) Graffiti and paint were removed from the brickwork, and the cornice was repaired and painted black to match the new turret.
Interior renovations began in the summer of 2016 and lasted about six months. Each of the four full-floor apartment have similar floorplans with direct elevator access and a small foyer that opens into a 30-foot-long combined living area, dining area and kitchen. A hallway from the living area leads to three bedrooms and two bathrooms, with a bay window in the master. All the new windows are environmentally sustainable, selected to reduce incoming sunlight and energy costs, and are decked out with electrically-operated shades.
After a false start launching sales mid-construction, Douglas Elliman is now handling listings. Two units—one asking $3.225 million and the other asking $3,499,999—are now in contract. The remaining two are currently listed for $3.125 million and $2,999,999. Douglas Elliman will move its Park Slope office into the ground-floor commercial unit.
Both Herrera and Solomon say the project was particularly unique because there was so much curiosity, and mystery, surrounding the property—not to mention a sidewalk shed that obscured the facade for years. “We spoke with lots of curious Park Slopers,” Herrera says. “When we removed the scaffolding in May of last year, everybody was taking pictures. They remembered an eyesore.”