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A Brooklyn Neighborhood Is Feeling The ‘Girls’ Effect

Greenpoint has received a lot of attention lately for its role as the setting for the HBO mega-hit-series “Girls.”

That exposure, brokers say, has boosted the neighborhood’s rental market.

“We get more and more calls there for rentals every day,” said David Behin of the brokerage MNS.

And while the twenty-something crowd at Grumpy’s Café — the Meserole Avenue hangout featured on the show — probably can’t afford to buy real estate, the Greenpoint residential sales market is also seeing an uptick.

Sometimes referred to as “Little Poland” due to its large population of Polish immigrants, Greenpoint’s housing stock is composed mostly of low-rise brownstones and attached single-family houses. The area has virtually no co-ops, noted Jonathan Miller, CEO of appraisal firm Miller Samuel.

Along with Williamsburg, the Greenpoint waterfront was rezoned in 2005 from industrial to mixed-use, but the downturn halted much of the planned residential development there. Now that the economy is improving, however, a slew of new residential buildings are popping up, including two massive rental projects: Park Tower Group’s 5,000-unit Greenpoint Landing and a 210-unit project by the Domain Companies. The two are the first large-scale residential projects in Greenpoint since the rezoning.

Plans for two other large residential developments — one by the Chetrit Group and another by Red Sky Capital — have not been made public, and neither developer returned calls for comment.

The neighborhood also has nearly a dozen boutique condo buildings on the market or in the works. And the units in those projects are selling quickly amid high demand and low inventory, said David Maundrell, president of the brokerage aptsandlofts.com, which is marketing several new buildings in the neighborhood, including 145 McGuinness Boulevard, 287-299 McGuinness Boulevard, 141 Dupont Street and 98 Clay Street.

Prices are on the rise, too.

The average price per square foot for a Greenpoint condo was $739 in the fourth quarter of 2012, jumping 22.2 percent from $605 per square foot in the same quarter of 2011, according to data from Miller Samuel. The average condo sales price, meanwhile, grew slightly to $610,048 in the fourth quarter, up from $601,070 in the same period of the previous year.

Meanwhile, rents in existing buildings are skyrocketing, brokers said.

Bram Lefevere, vice president with brokerage Miron Properties, estimated that Greenpoint rents increased by more than 30 percent in 2012, and said he expects a similar increase in 2013.

“A decent two-bedroom two years ago rented for $1,900,” Lefevere said. “Last year, it went up to $2,400, and this year it’s going to be $2,800.”

Still, Greenpoint’s lack of subway access will likely limit price growth.

It currently takes two subways or a ferry to get to Manhattan, and many area residents walk over the Pulaski Bridge to Long Island City to catch the 7 subway line, Behin said.

The city is looking into adding stops to the G line, but for now, “Greenpoint is getting rents of $45 to $50 a foot, and I think landlords would get 20 to 25 percent more if you had better transportation,” Behin said.

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