Buy Curious

What you need to know about living in Mill Basin, Brooklyn, a suburban-like community without the high taxes

By Nancy A. Ruhling | May 10, 2022 - 12:30PM

This 1,904-square-foot, single-family house has three bedrooms and is listed for $729,000.

Listing by Talk Of The Town Realty Corp./StreetEasy

The South Brooklyn community of Mill Basin, where late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel got his start at cracking everyone up, could be considered the borough’s version of Long Island.

Mill Basin’s properties, some of which are on the waterfront, are defined by detached single-family houses with grassy lawns, flower gardens, swimming pools, and, in some cases, boats docked in the backyard.

In this week’s Buy Curious, Arlene Peldman, owner/broker of Talk of the Town Realty, and Doreen Alfano, co-owner/broker at Bergen Basin Realty, give us the inside story on Mill Basin.

The question:

Someone told me Mill Basin is for city people who want suburban-style living without the high taxes of the suburbs. I have to admit that I had never even heard of the area. What can you tell me about it?

The reality:

Calling Mill Basin a “whole different world in Brooklyn,” Alfano says that it’s a new place to many “because we are tucked away in our own little world, so much so that we also are known as Mill Island. It’s really country living in Brooklyn.”

Peldman notes: “It’s a very relaxing, private, exclusively residential community. I have one friend who owns a weekend home here and compares it to the Hamptons.”

Where is it?

The community, which is on a peninsula in Jamaica Bay, is bordered on the northwest by Avenue U and on the Mill Basin/Mill Island Inlet on the other three sides. Bergen Beach is to the northeast, Flatlands is to the northwest, Marine Park is to the southwest, and Floyd Bennett Field and what used to be Barren Island are to the southeast.

Why would NYers want to move to Mill Basin?

Alfano says that “people from other parts of Brooklyn flocked to Mill Basin during the pandemic because they were getting cars and we have parking, driveways, and garages.”

“It’s close to the city, and for many people it’s a vacation away from home—the houses are detached one-families, and we wake up to birds singing each morning. People come here for the community feel. And we have great public and private schools,” she says.

Mill Basin attracts a large number of professionals, particularly doctors and lawyers, who want to be close to the city and their hospitals and offices. 

“They like the idea that they can say they still live in the city,” Peldman says. “Also, the taxes are a lot lower than on Long Island, Manhattan, and Jersey.”

She notes that privacy, security and the suburban lifestyle are immense draws. “We have our own private security that has cars on the streets 24/7,” she says.

Where in Mill Basin should you live?

Mill Basin is not divided into any neighborhoods or sections.

What are housing and pricing like?

Housing is mostly single-family, although about 30 percent of the housing stock is two families, Peldman says, adding that original residences, many of which have been renovated, are about a half century old.

You’d be lucky to find something to buy in Mill Basin these days, though: There are only 25 single-family houses on the market, according to StreetEasy.

“Right now, it’s a seller’s market because of the huge demand,” Peldman says, adding that this may change if interest rates continue to rise.

Prices for single-family houses start at $700,000, Peldman says, adding that the highest-priced sale—$7.2 million for a 14,000-square-foot, single-family, detached custom mansion on the waterfront—was recorded in August 2021.

That record sale aside, she says detached single-family houses generally start at $950,000; single-family semi-detached houses typically sell for $700,000 to $900,000; two-family semi-detached houses are $950,000 to $1.2 million; and detached two families go for $900,000 to $1.55 million.

The community doesn’t have condos or co-ops. For those who wish to rent, two-family houses are the option. Rents are about $1,700 for one bedrooms, $2,100 for two bedrooms and $2,600 for three bedrooms, according to Alfano.

Is there a lot of new development? 

There is not a lot of new development in the community. The newest project, a six-acre, luxury waterfront gated community of 34 single-family detached houses called The Bay Front Estates at Mill Basin, opened in 2005.

What’s the transportation situation?

Although there is no subway service in Mill Basin, the B2, B3, B41, B46, B46 SBS, B47, B100, and Q35 bus lines do operate in the community. The private express bus service BM1 goes to Downtown and Midtown Manhattan.

The B and Q subway lines are available at the Kings Highway subway station, which is a 15- to 20-minute bus ride from Mill Basin.  

What is there to do?

Lindower Park, recently renovated, is the community’s green space. In addition to an outdoor swimming pool and a sprinkler pool, it has baseball fields, handball courts, basketball courts and a children’s playground.

What’s the restaurant/nightlife situation?

Mill Basin, which is exclusively a residential enclave, offers a small selection of Italian, Russian and American dining options on its outer boundaries.

They include La Villa Pizzeria, which despite its name serves not only pizza but also other Italian specialties, and Duet Bakery & Restaurant, which is known for its custom cakes and cupcakes and chef’s tasting menu.

There are a few shopping centers in Mill Basin. The most prominent is Mill Basin Plaza, which is anchored by Walgreens and Home Depot.

Kings Plaza Shopping Center, which is right outside Mill Basin, has all the big-box stores as well as several restaurants.

How about grocery stores?

Key Food is the only major supermarket in the community. There are more options in surrounding areas, including the Food Way supermarket that anchors Georgetowne Shopping Center in Bergen Beach.

Check out these listings in Mill Basin.

2309 East 65th St.

Listed for $2.599 million, this renovated, split-level, detached house, which is 4,833 square feet, has five bedrooms, one full bathroom and one half bathroom. It has a formal dining room, patio, family room with a fireplace, and primary suite with a balcony and walk-in closets. The backyard has an inground heated pool, Jacuzzi, and a summer kitchen with a pizza oven. There's also a one-car garage and private drive.

356 Whitman Dr.

This four-bedroom, three-bathroom, 1960 single-family house is listed for $1.399 million. Features of the 2,928-square-foot, two-story residence include a loft, eat-in kitchen, finished basement with a wet bar and fireplace. There’s a three-car garage in the backyard, which is entered through a private driveway.

2770 East 63rd St.

Built in 1960, this 1,904-square-foot, single-family house, which has three bedrooms, one full bathroom, and one half bathroom, is listed for $729,000. Features of the two-story residence include a private drive, finished basement with a separate entrance, open layout, large family room, laundry room and built-in garage. There is a back yard with a large deck.

2140 East 65th St.

Set on a 20-by-100-foot lot, this 2,040-square-foot, single-family brick ranch is listed for $1.249 million. The house, built in 1950, has four bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a den with a wood-burning fireplace. The basement, which has a separate entrance, has one of the bedrooms and one of the bathrooms, a family room, and a kitchenette. The backyard has a porch and private covered parking for five vehicles.

2254 East 64th St.

This renovated 6,000-square-foot, single-family, center-hall Colonial, listed for $2.399 million, has five bedrooms and five bathrooms. Other features of the custom-built residence include a Jacuzzi, high ceilings, custom moldings, radiant-heat floors, and an elevator.

Nancy A. Ruhling is a freelance writer based in New York City.

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