Aussie Landlord is Turning Storefronts into Living Rooms in Landmarked Neighborhood
By Lore Croghan
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Hey Cobble Hill! If you're waiting to see what retailers are coming to the empty storefronts at 132 Kane St., don't hold your breath.
The property's new Aussie landlord is saying Sayonara to retailing at the historic property.
The two spaces will be incorporated into two residences-for-rent that Dixon Advisory USA is creating at 132 Kane St. and a townhouse connected to it at 6-8 Cheever Place, with its front entrance facing the property's side street.
“These are people's living rooms,” Carol Santana, Dixon Advisory USA's building code and permit manager, told the Brooklyn Eagle after a city Landmarks Preservation Commission hearing on Tuesday about the landlord's proposed plan for the storefronts' restoration.
“Typically, we don't do commercial leasing,” said Santana.
Because the property is located in the Cobble Hill Historic District, the storefronts' exteriors must be preserved — even if no commerce is going on inside.
The Australian-based landlord promised a historically appropriate restoration of the storefronts — but wants to include a semi-opaque, milky-hued privacy film on the storefront windows so residents won't feel like their lives are on display.
Metal on one of the storefronts will be replaced with mahogany. Both storefronts will be painted hunter green, which is their present color.
One part of the property is an 1850s-vintage rowhouse; the other's a neo-Grec mid-19th Century residence, according to the Landmarks Preservation Commission. The asking rent for the two residences hasn't yet been determined, Santana said.
At the moment, both storefronts are covered with graffiti and partly obscured by plywood and plastic.
One of the landmarking agency's commissioners, Michael Devonshire, called the restoration plan “a reasonable approach” during the hearing.
Dixon Advisory USA, based in Jersey City, is headed by Alan Dixon, whose father Daryl founded a big wealth-management firm in the Land Down Under.
The property purchases that Alan Dixon and his cohort make become assets in the US Masters Residential Property Fund, which is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.
Dozens of them are in Brooklyn's brownstone neighborhoods, especially Bedford-Stuyvesant, as the Brooklyn Eagle recently reported.
The fund bought 132 Kane St. in April 2013 for $3.1 million, city Finance Department records indicate.
The total cost of acquisition, which includes closing costs, was $3,121,713, according to a report from the US Masters Residential Property Fund.