Luxury pick of the week

A renovated Park Slope limestone with a built-in aquarium and library, for $6,000,000

By Jennifer White Karp | January 7, 2020 - 12:00PM 

The nearly 5,000-square-foot historic townhouse was fully renovated, and its original details were restored. 

Brown Harris Stevens

Welcome to Brick Underground’s luxury pick of the week, a feature spotlighting a condo, co-op, or townhouse for sale with an asking price of at least $3,000,000, the current entry threshold for luxury apartments in Manhattan. If you’re in the market for a high-end abode, you should know that while sales have slowed considerably over the past couple of years, that trend is starting to reverse as sellers come to grips with the new market reality and adjust their prices accordingly. It's good news for your wallet—just be aware that many luxe listings won’t linger on the market indefinitely. For more information, check out Brick Underground’s tips on buying a luxury apartment in NYC.

If you are looking for lots of space and want to live vertically, this 1910 Brooklyn limestone townhouse, 556 1st St. in Park Slope, has nearly 5,000 square feet spread over four levels, with five bedrooms and three bathrooms. 

It has a traditional style but it’s not a completely formal place: The kitchen is modern and there are quirky touches, like an oversized, built-in aquarium; a library with room for 2,000 books; and a music room. Outside, there’s a landscaped garden and roof deck.

The seller is asking $6,000,000 and annual taxes are $15,015. (It’s not clear how long the property has been on the market or whether there have been price cuts—Brown Harris Stevens doesn’t share its listings with StreetEasy, which provides this sales information, and we have not yet heard back in response to a query.) 

The property last sold for $3,525,000 in June 2009, which was a 6 percent discount off the asking price of $3,750,000. Curious about what the house looked like previously? You can see the old listing photos on StreetEasy. 

Townhouses don’t turn over frequently on this rarified block near Prospect Park. The most recent sales, according to PropertyShark, appear to be #572, which sold for $4,800,000 in December 2018; and #566, which sold for $5,400,000 in 2017.

A 2015 renovation by architecture firm Delson or Sherman restored the property's classic details and added modern updates and finishes, like the basement media room where you’ll find the aquarium, a new kitchen and three new baths. 

You can see the contrast between old in new in cast glass globes that hang over the ornate wood stair. There's also a modern stained glass door in the traditional dining room.

Other updates include using soapstone for the kitchen counters as well as the baseboards and flooring border, adding new electrical, plumbing, windows, roof, copper water main, zoned central air, and radiant-heated floors. 

The kitchen also has custom bamboo cabinets, a Sub-Zero refrigerator, Thermador double oven and built-in dining area.

There are cedar closets in the master bedroom and ground floor.

There are six gas fireplaces, which have decorative covers for when they are not in use.

One potential drawback: No bath on the parlor floor.

The ground floor music room has a window overlooking the backyard.

The media room with the aquarium is also on the ground floor. It is in the front of the house.

The address is half a block from Prospect Park and around the corner from the Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture and prestigious Poly Prep Country Day School, and five blocks from Grand Army Plaza.


Jennifer White Karp

Managing Editor

Jennifer White Karp steers Brick Underground’s editorial coverage of New York City residential real estate and writes articles on market trends and strategies for buyers, sellers, and renters. Jennifer’s 15-year career in NYC real estate journalism includes stints as a writer and editor at The Real Deal and its spinoff publication, Luxury Listings NYC. She holds a B.A. from Wesleyan University and an MFA in nonfiction writing from the New School.

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