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There was a time when if someone told you they lived in Downtown Brooklyn, you might respond (with some disbelief), “You mean near the courts and Conway?” But those days are long gone (like Conway, the discount store). The courts are still there, of course, but the neighborhood has gone upscale and scores of new residential towers—most of which are rentals—have made Downtown Brooklyn (that’s “DoBro” to your local real estate agent) a viable place to not only live, but in many cases, live large and well.
Brooklyn has the distinction of being NYC’s buzziest borough, thanks to an influx of creative businesses and its affordability (at least, compared to Manhattan). David Maundrell, executive vice president of new developments at Corcoran, says Downtown Brooklyn's proximity, and relation to Manhattan are a big draw.
“The views in Downtown Brooklyn are great, and so are the trains. You can get everywhere [in the city.]” And, he says, Downtown Brooklyn's density means that prospective renters can cover a lot of ground and check out the buildings they are interested in over a single weekend.
To help you navigate your apartment search, Brick Underground took a look at nine of Downtown Brooklyn's newest rental towers (plus some nearly new ones). We compared building age, size, style, amenities, location, and rent. Brace yourself: You'll find the rents in these new buildings well above the median for the borough. Note that rents—and incentives landlords offer—can fluctuate. The availability of concessions like free months is on the decline. But here's one bonus: For many of these new (or newish) rental developments, apartments can be rented without paying a broker’s fee thanks to on-site leasing offices.
Pioneer buildings face new competition
A lot has changed in a short period of time in Downtown Brooklyn.
“Even 10 years ago, ‘Downtown Brooklyn’ was a catch-all term for an undefined space,” says Marie Bromberg, an agent at Compass. Now the area is thriving, as are adjacent neighborhoods, particularly around Fort Greene, and north of the neighborhood, where you find more boutique style developments, and the upscale and quiet waterfront neighborhood of Dumbo.
Residential high-rises that debuted a decade ago (or even more recently) are looking less fresh; “dated” is a word that came up more than once with those we spoke to. Additionally, what passed for an upscale amenity initially (a nice fitness center in the basement, an expansive deck) is now facing competition from buildings with gyms on high floors with great views, rooftops with deluxe grilling stations and pools with retractable walls.
More buildings means more opportunities for renters
Every renter prioritizes something different. What may seem “remote” could be appreciated by someone looking for someplace quieter (and cheaper); a studio one renter views as overpriced might be the perfect home base for another who prioritizes (and uses) top-shelf amenities and services. Others will take dated fixtures with more space for less money any day. Different strokes, as they say.
The good news is, there is no shortage of apartment buildings in Downtown Brooklyn (and there are more to come). Here's a look at what's there.
Year built: 2018
Number of apartments: 270
Starting rent for a one bedroom: $3,500
The Amberly is not in the center of it all, it’s on the outer edge of Downtown Brooklyn, very close to Dumbo. That said, its location affords it some of the most spectacular views in Brooklyn, or perhaps even the city. (We experienced them ourselves, when we looked at rental buildings with co-working spaces.) And, the building enables all residents to enjoy the incredible vistas from the 33rd floor, as well as a ninth-floor lounge and outdoor deck with grills. (The apartments themselves have floor-to-ceiling windows.) Other amenities include a gym, 24-hour concierge, and valet parking. “It’s a high-end building with nice finishes,” says Maundrell. “It’s got views, light, and nice interior design.”
Year built: 2017
Number of apartments: 750
Starting rent for a one bedroom: $3,933
From the name to its Technicolor, cartoon-filled website, The Hub wants people to know this is where it’s happening. It’s located at the southern tip of Downtown Brooklyn, almost in Boerum Hill. There are 40,000 square feet of amenities, including a 75-foot pool with retractable glass walls, and an outdoor deck with lounge chairs, cabanas, and grilling stations. “You go there and you feel like you’re at a resort,” says Bromberg, who notes that with 750 apartments, it’s big. (For now, it’s the tallest building in Brooklyn.) “It’s less intimate. But it’s still gorgeous,” she says. Many apartments come with corner views and floor-to-ceiling windows (with custom shades). The building also has a gym and yoga studio, kid’s club, dog run, party room and washer/dryer in every apartment.
Year built: 2017
Number of apartments: 714
Starting rent for a one bedroom: $3,511
33 Bond is another large development near The Hub, and Bromberg describes it as having a more personal, boutique feel. Standout features include direct access and exclusive membership to Brooklyn’s first Chelsea Piers location, and 24-hour access to “HomeWork,” which is TF Cornerstone’s first dedicated co-working space that has 1,500 square feet of communal and individual work stations, booth seating, conference rooms, and a terrace with solar-powered work tables. The building has a pet spa and concierge, kid’s playroom, and garage parking. This may be a good choice for renters who need larger apartments; it has more two-bedrooms than many other buildings.
Year built: 2017
Number of apartments: 439
Starting rent for a one bedroom: $3,440
Part of the Brooklyn Point development, City Tower is another building to consider if you like to be at the heart of things, Maundrell says. Amenities include a basketball court with glass walls and natural light and a roof deck. The building has incredible convenience built-in, with 700,000 square feet of retail—you'll find like Target, Trader Joe’s, Century 21, Alamo Draft House and the popular Dekalb Market Food Hall. You kind of don’t need to leave, but if you want to, it’s also a stone’s throw from more than 10 subway lines. The development’s blend of rental and condominiums will give this building a bit more of a community feel, as condo residents are likely to stay longer.
Year built: 2017
Number of apartments: 121
Starting rent for a one bedroom: $3,744
A much smaller building with 121 apartments, The Offerman House is also a place where you can rent two- and even three-bedroom apartments. Originally constructed in 1893 as a department store, the Romanesque Revival building was completely renovated and the result are loft-like apartments with 14-foot ceilings. Located along Fulton Mall, the entrance is on a quieter side street. Maundrell notes the building’s “amazing finishes, high-end kitchens and unique layouts.” Amenities include a rooftop deck, a gym, lounge, and co-working area, but Maudrell says it’s more about the architecture and the layouts here.
Year built: 2016
Number of apartments: 379
Starting rent for a one bedroom: $ 3,996
Bromberg describes 300 Ashland, at the intersection of Fort Greene and Downtown Brooklyn, as a building that consistently wows her clients—although they find the rents to be very pricey. Relatively fewer apartments and a smaller building create a more intimate vibe. “It’s definitely a building with a community feel. You can build a social life in the building. They have events like painting and wine tasting, it has very curated feel. I don’t think any other building has done as much of that, as well,” she says. Amenities include a 29th-floor gym with lots of natural light, and an outdoor space with open expanses. There's a Whole Foods and an Apple store in the base of the building, which is close to 10 subway lines as well as the Long Island Railroad.
Year built: 2016
Number of apartments: 586
Starting rent for a one bedroom: $ 3,744
Not to be confused with 300 Ashland, The Ashland is just across Lafayette Avenue and a bit more away from the action. Amenities include an upper-floor gym, rooftop lounge, terrace with barbecues, kid’s playroom, outdoor movies, and a 24-hour doorman. The Gotham Market food hall is at the base of the building, where residents get discounts.
Year built: 2015
Number of apartments: 500
Starting rent for a one bedroom: $3,084
AVA DoBro is part of the Avalon Bay Communities portfolio so you the benefit of a large, experienced institutional landlord. (Possible downside? A less personal, curated feel.) AVA DoBro is another building where you can find two- and three-bedroom apartments. Amenities include a 58th-floor rooftop deck, 30th-floor terrace with grills, a heated outdoor dog run, fitness center, and in-house coffee shop. It’s LEED-certified and literally on top of the major transit hub of Borough Hall.
Year built: 2013
Number of units: 378
One-bedroom rent: $3,900
Older buildings tend to be comparatively smaller, and 388 Bridge Street is one of those. It’s also a rental/condo combo, with larger apartments available, which likely gives it a more intimate feel. The street itself doesn’t have much character and although right off Fulton Mall it has a sleepier feel. Maundrell describes the building as “streamlined” with a more “commercial feel,” and amenities include a rooftop lounge, gym, media room, outdoor terrace with barbecue, children’s play area, and a fully-attended lobby.
The Downtown Brooklyn OGs
Just because a building isn't the newest one on the block, doesn't mean it isn't worth a look—or, for that matter, isn't nice. In fact, you can find some value at an "older" building. Consider The Addision (built 2011), where one bedrooms start at $3,036; The Brooklyner (2009) where one bedrooms start at $3,198, and [email protected] (2007), where one bedrooms start at $3,250.)
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