Fixer Uppers: When Once-Derelict Buildings Turn Into Pristine Condos and Co-ops The Renovations Could Have an Impact on the Neighborhood

What the Arcade looks like now after the renovation (CTA Architects).

In many neighborhoods, there is always that one building that just drags down the vibrancy of everything in its vicinity. Maybe it was derelict and an always an eyesore. Or perhaps it's the one property left that doesn't fit in with a specific trend. But whatever the reason, people notice, and it can be a buzzkill.

One recent example, as reported by Curbed last month, involves a once “dilapidated” apartment property in Park Slope on Second Street and Seventh Avenue. After a thorough renovation and restoration of much of the facade, the building is a now a luxury condominium property, serving as a boon to the neighborhood rather than a bane.

There have been many such scenarios in which ugly ducklings are renovated into multifamily swans over the past few years. These are but a few.

Artist Rendering

Fixing up a neglected property does not necessarily mean ignoring its history, as Anthony Morena of Mortar, an architecture and design firm based in Manhattan, can attest. The firm recently finished a conversion of a three-story 120-year-old building at 324 E. 4th Street in the Alphabet City section of Manhattan, adding three additional stories and restoring the facade, thereby transforming it into an 11-unit condo.

But perhaps more interesting that the admittedly impressive finished product was the demolition process. “A handful of local artists decided that they would have a weekend gallery exhibit at the building,” relates Morena. “They came in and tagged every single wall in the property on all four floors, turning it into this whole big showcase. We took a ton of pictures of both the artists and their works for prints and a marketing booklet that we used for the launch.”

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