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.

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  1. These were the best maintained, and prettiest, of the bungalow colonies in the area… before Sandy; other bungalow colonies looked, frankly, pretty beatdown.. I have doubts that people will spend so much to buy a shell, and then re-build to current code. More likely, you will see bungalows bought two at a time, cleared away, and then some character-less monstrosity built as a replacement (or a killer offer from a single developer results in a more grandiose development).. Sad… but also part of any area’s evolution. Ultimately, if it is true that most were rentals anyway, can it really be said that we are losing “community.”

  2. I live around the corner from this property.The storm did a great deal of damage to the bungalows. Though I hope that someone buys them up and restores them, I don;t know how feasible that idea is. I’d hate to see someone scoop up the property and turn it into a condo development and further ruin the shorefront. They haven’t even sold all of the units in The Breakers after many years.

  3. As a resident of Greenlawn I don’t foresee the whole complex being bought up and turned into condos. There has been a lot of work going here being done to some of the bungalows and even one that has ben torn down and completely rebuilt. There are also a total of five different owners in the complex so for all of them to get together and agree on a selling price seems like big hurdle. I hope that some of them do get purchased and fixed up though. As for the communal bungalow with a cabaret license, that building got washed away and ended up on the Sheepshead Bay Yacht Clubs boat ramp in the storm, so good luck with that.

  4. The price point of these units is fairly high, and that’s before flood insurance goes into play. As a commercial real estate agent who only represents owners, and as a 3rd generation pre-gentrified Williamsberg resident kicked out of my own rent-controlled apartment via legal loopholes, I see all sides to the issue with this site. To develop or not develop. Never an easy outcome; sometimes harder than political opposites collaborating. If it does get developed, hopefully it is by an eco-friendly developer who wants to incorporate neighborhood use of the waterfront. The first time I saw the site I knew that Eddie had an interesting future…curious to see how it pans out.

  5. I lived in bungalow in 1957- 1968. I grew up there and I had the best childhood. It was like living in your own little town. We rode bikes through the alley ways. Went swimming off the stairs or the floating dock. We would have bingo in the pavilion and our parents would have dances on Saturday nights and the kids would get to have hot dogs and soda’s on Sunday. It was just a great place to live. It is funny my Mom sold our bungalow #32 in 1968 for $12,000.00. What a bargain compared to today.

  6. Speaking of bungalows, I grew up eating Bungalow Bar ice cream in the 1950s-1960s. They were Avis to Good Humor’s Hertz, but I think they had more interesting trucks and better made ice cream pops. Anyways, since this story was first written in 2014, can anyone update on the status of the subject matter bungalows ?

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