WRITTEN BY DEVIN LAPIERRE
With most of the media’s attention focusing on northern Brooklyn neighborhoods such as Park Slope and Williamsburg, Mill Basin in southeastern Brooklyn has received little coverage — but that could change soon.
With its mini castles, and a water fortress belonging to one of Russia’s wealthiest industrialists, Mill Basin has fancy homes that rival Fifth Avenue.
Mill Basin’s history goes back to 1614 when Dutch settler Jan Martense Schenck built a house and tide-mills to grind grain, giving the area the name Mill Basin.
This was more than 20 years before the Canarsee Indians sold their land and water to Dutch settlers, paving the way for future developments.
Mill Basin and its sections Old Mill Basin, Georgetown and Bergen Beach have been experienced housing booms since the 1920s.
Many of the homes in the area were built in the 1940s and 50s. At that time the one to three ranch roof styled family homes were worth about $12,000 — and today some are worth over $200,000.
By the 1990s many newcomers were buying these old homes, knocking them down and building new custom homes by the waterfront. In the Mill Basin and Bergen Beach sections many of the custom, hi-ranch roof and colonial homes are waterfront properties fetching over $1.5 million.
In 2007 Queens-based developers H&H Builders began construction on new gated community The Bay Front Estates in Mill Basin. The Bay Front Estates website offers information on the different types of model homes. The four to five bedroom homes range from $1 million to over $2 million.
On Curbed.com one reader of the Mill Basin Redux: Homes on Dry Land article wrote: “I am thinking about buying here and they are priced right for a 4,500/sf home in this hood I get to Union Square by car in a half hour at 7am.”
But not everyone is happy with these new custom homes. “I think they are ridiculous. Its become some race on who has the best looking house here in Mill Basin,” said longtime resident Regina Jefferson. With the new construction occurring and the influx of newcomers, Mill Basin’s population is now 168,806 according to Brooklyn.com.
With the development of custom homes and The Bay Front Estates, Mill Basin is on its way to becoming one of the hottest residential areas of Brooklyn.
It will strike a chord for some New Yorkers who long for the suburbs but don’t have the heart to leave the city that never sleeps.