Southern Brooklyn

Swath Of Emmons Avenue’s Waterfront Bungalow Colony Up For Sale



The bungalow communities near Emmons Avenue provides a glimpse into how people in Sheepshead Bay – along with much of coastal Southern Brooklyn – used to live when development first began coming to the resort destination in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The small waterfront homes were built for summer stays, and later became year-round homes as Sheepshead Bay became more residential.

Greenlawn Bungalow Colony on Emmons Avenue near Batchelder Street remains one of the largest intact examples in Brooklyn of how the area looked, still sporting landscaped walkways in front of the homes. We’re told it’s also one of the oldest in the area, and may have led the way in cooperative ownership, where homeowners owned a stake in the land like today’s co-op apartments.

Greenlawn, though, was one of the worst hit colonies by Superstorm Sandy, as we reported back in November 2012. Several houses were destroyed or severely damaged. Now, 22 of the bungalows are being sold for prices ranging from $250,000 to $600,000, according to the Edward Re, who is representing the property.

Re is selling the bungalows on behalf of Realty Finance Trust. Before Sandy, most of the bungalows were being rented out with the option of buying it. But after the storm, owners and tenants were left with a repair bill they didn’t want to pay for.

Waterfront activists concerned that the property might be sold to developers, who could tear down the homes and block out views of the waterfront, might take relief that the broker is hoping to preserve the properties.

“You would be buying the shell of a bungalow,” Re said. “We’re interested in finding people that want to restore the bungalow community.”

Re noted that the bungalows get interest from local business owners who want a summer home but can’t run off to another state because of the constant demands of running a small business.

But for the asking price you actually get more than a shell. Each cottage has water rights, known as riparian water rights for all you real estate geeks, to the Bay. The owner of a bungalow also has access to a communal bungalow with a cabaret license, he said.

“It’s like the old world,” Re said.