When you think about Brooklyn real estate, Williamsburg, Park Slope and the downtown district - the borough's hottest and priciest areas - are probably the first neighborhoods that come to mind.
But with the opening of a new arena in seven months, other nabes may be rising to the top - even if it comes at a price.
The buzz surrounding Barclays Center in Prospect Heights is expected to attract an onslaught of investment to the area and turn the nearby neighborhoods into some of the most sought-after ZIP codes in the city, real estate experts said.
"Crown Heights, Bed-Stuy, Bushwick and Sunset Park are on the verge of exploding," said Jamella Swift, senior associate broker at Citi Habitats. "Once the stadium opens, the domino effect from Fort Greene, Park Slope and Prospect Heights will carry over to the adjacent neighborhoods."
And developers are looking to make over these areas, said Andrew Barrocas, CEO of realty firm MNS.
"Anytime a large financial investment [like the arena] is made in an area, retailers and restaurants are drawn [there] along with developers," Barrocas said.
Swift said Crown Heights, Bed-Stuy, Clinton Hill and Bushwick are fertile ground for new residential projects, since they have smaller brownstone, limestone and loft buildings that could be converted into boutique condominiums.
But a major venue could "Manhattanize" the borough, Swift added, and potentially ruin the slower pace and more serene way of life that attracts residents there.
Housing prices could also be impacted, Barrocas said, since many of the neighborhoods around the arena are some of the last bastions of affordability in the city.
"People will begin investing in the area surrounding the new center, and when that happens, we can expect a rise in prices," he added. "It won't just be home values that will go up. Rental prices will increase as well."
Reports showed home prices were down 1.1% in New York City last November compared to the prior month, while rentals were up in the fourth quarter of 2011.
But the appetite for the new developments is there: In Bed-Stuy, a luxury condo at 315 Gates Ave. is selling out, and units at 111 Monroe St. are going fast, Barrocas said.
Michael Slattery, senior vice president of research for the Real Estate Board of New York, said it's hard to stop progress.
"Visitors [to the arena] will boost economic activity, and the capital investment and the creation of new businesses will have a spillover effect on housing," he said.
(with Erik Ortiz)
Expected real estate boom already shaping up nearby
1. Crown Heights
Gourmet markets are hitting it big in this neighborhood, and there are more and more entertainment venues popping up, Swift said. One of the most notable hangouts is NoBar on Nostrand Avenue, owned by actor Anthony Mackie ("The Adjustment Bureau," "The Hurt Locker"). Restaurants such as Basil on Kingston Avenue offer an eclectic palette. But the best part of the neighborhood is the value: The average two-bedroom brownstone condo goes for $379,000, Swift said.
Those who are getting priced out of Williamsburg are already flocking to Bushwick, said Doug Perlson, co-founder and CEO of RealDirect.com. It's also one of the biggest attractions for new development projects, he added. A thriving artist community has created demand for new businesses and restaurants, as well as diverse housing stock. Lofts are selling for around $300,000 for 800 square feet, while 1,500-square-foot two-bedrooms go for $629,000, Swift said.
Bedford Avenue is a virtual restaurant row, with popular eateries such as SUD, Do or Dine, Joloff and Black Swan opening along the main drag. Brownstones can be bought for $400,000 - but they will "definitely require work," Swift said. "If you are into customizing your home, then that will be perfect for you." Condos in the area range from $285,000 to $500,000.
4. Clinton Hill
"This is an established neighborhood experiencing resurgence due to its value," Perlson said. "From the Clinton Hill Co-ops to pockets of modern new construction to the grand historic brownstones, buyers are finding housing options at all ends of the architectural and economic spectrum." Business is really picking up around the neighborhood, with Grand Avenue as an anchor for Choice Market, Urban Vintage Café and the popular bakery Dough. You can find good housing for between $350,000 and $599,000, Swift said.