A New Condo Building Marks The End Of The Old Bed-Stuy

As in other Brooklyn neighborhoods, Bedford Stuyvesant is showing signs of late stage gentrification.

By Jeff Vasishta October 10, 2016
Courtesy of Karl Fischer Architect

When Popeye’s Chicken and Key Foods bid goodbye to a neighborhood, you know it’s the end of an era. Franklin Avenue on Fulton Street had always been the cut off line between the pricey Clinton Hill and “affordable” Bed-Stuy. The fast food joints, clustered by the Franklin Avenue “C” and shuttle trains were like a welcoming committee across an invisible border. They cried out. “Cheap Food, Cheaper Rents”. That demarcation has now gone. And guess what’s taking place? That’s right—a glassy condo complex.

Related: No Retreat, No Surrender: As Another Condo Rises, Crown Heights Makes Last Stand Against Gentrification

The narrative is being played out across gentrifying New York.  Developer Joseph Brunner plans to construct an 11-story rental with a grocery store at 1134 Fulton Street. It will have 189 apartments. In a move that’s now so old school it should only be available on a VHS tape, 20 percent of the apartments will be below market rent because of builder incentives (tax breaks, larger apartments, yada, yada – part of Mayor Bloomberg’s Inclusionary Housing Program). Don’t believe the hype though, you can rest assured that the new building will be boxy, glossy and costly. Karl Fischer is the architect of record.

So what does a 24,700 square-foot site on prime Bed-Stuy/Clinton land go for? $19 million in 2014—in case, you were wondering.

With the Waverly Brooklyn now near completion a little further down Fulton St, the two condo buildings (1134 is rental only) are a one-two punch that signal a changing of the guard. Do-Or-Die has become Buy-Or-Bye Bed-Stuy.

The neighborhood, with its landmarked blocks and stunning brownstones was always on the frontline for Brooklyn gentrification, which has been flowing through the area in multiple sweeps like the Mexican Wave at a soccer stadium. The first influx of white “pioneers” at the turn of the millennium were struggling artists, with shaggy beards and paint splotched jeans, happy to chit chat with locals at the bodega. The latest are detached, earbud sporting, Starbucks swilling Banana Republic clad professionals off to their Manhattan offices. When brownstones are running at $2 million, what can you expect?

Vestiges of the old Bed-Stuy do occasionally surface from time to time. Spike Lee’s Annual Michael Jackson Block Party held on the Gloved One’s Birthday is a reminder of the deep seated black love that the area had for one of its old school heroes, a man often maligned by the white media. But it’s an exercise in well-meant nostalgia. Spike left Brooklyn years ago.

As far back as the 2010 census the white population of Bed-Stuy has increased more than sevenfold over the previous ten years, a trend that has no doubt increased since with gusto.

Make no mistake—real estate is booming. The term “transitional” is almost dated. New brokerages appear with the frequency of lamp posts.

What would be the final insult to the Brooklyn of yore? A Trump Tower? Gaudy, bold and boastful? Don’t say it could never happen.

Jeff Vasishta



Jeff is a writer, husband and father but not necessarily in that order. As a music journalist he counts Prince, Beyonce and Quincy Jones amongst those he’s interviewed. He's also owned and flipped homes in Brooklyn, NJ, CT and PA.

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