On a noisy street in Brooklyn is a little clapboard house that looks as if it dropped out of a charming suburban sky. It has friendly yellow siding and a pitched roof, a chimney and a backyard. It all looks quaint and adorable. Except for the view from its front door: 12,000 panels of arched, rusted steel.
The house, in an area where only 12 houses sold last year, was listed for $1.495 million.
Its neighbor directly across Dean Street is the Barclays Center, which stands just a few dozen feet away.
“Oh, it doesn’t really fit here anymore, does it?” said Kristen Noble, a fan on her way to a Brooklyn Nets game last week, examining the little yellow house.
No, it does not. But apparently, not everybody minds.
At the end of February, that little yellow clapboard house at 474 Dean Street was put up for sale, listed for $1.495 million. And despite a domineering neighbor — or perhaps because of it — the owners of that house received an offer, which they planned to accept, after less than two weeks.
Critics of the Barclays Center predicted that the arena would ravage and ruin surrounding areas, but six months in, those concerns have failed to materialize. On Dean Street, however, directly across from the Barclays Center’s pulsating metal walls and busy loading dock, the arena dominates the blocks, and dwarfs the centenarian row houses.
“It’s not four blocks away, it’s not two blocks away, it’s right across the street,” said Kris Sylvester, a broker at Halstead Property, who attended an open house at 474 Dean Street two weeks ago.
Sara Champagne, who has rented at 476 Dean Street for nine years, said, “It is like living across the street from Madison Square Garden.” From her zoomed-in vantage point, she continued, the stadium “looks like an old parking garage.”
On the outside, No. 474 is both charming and a bit confusing. There is a front door on the ground level, and then another one directly above it, most likely the original entrance, which now opens onto the roof of the ground-floor entryway.
“That door leads nowhere,” said Mr. Sylvester, who said he watched several people try unsuccessfully to open the upper door at the open house. He was not terribly impressed with the condition of the house, either. Patches of paint on the floors were skinned back, he said, and the garden room at the back of the house looked like a shed.
Nonetheless, the open house was busy, Mr. Sylvester said, and he was not surprised to learn that the owner had an acceptable offer so quickly, because there had been such scant inventory available for sale in recent months.
Sofia Song, a vice president at the Web site StreetEasy, which compiles real estate data, said only 12 houses sold last year in all of Prospect Heights. And while 474 Dean’s $1.495 million price tag is an aggressive number for a house of its size — it has three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a small footprint — it still costs less than many of the 12 homes that closed last year.
It is also possible that the size of the house does not matter, because whoever buys it might just knock it down to put up something bigger. The listing description switches abruptly from talk of “moldings,” “mantels” and “wide-plank pumpkin pine flooring” to “The site is zoned C2-4/R6B and R7A.” That zoning allows for the construction of a somewhat taller residential building that can include commercial space, a boon in that location. In an e-mail, a spokesman for the Corcoran Group, which is listing the property, said the house was “being traded for its value as a town house.”
Jill Baroff, who has owned 474 Dean since 1984, declined to explain why she chose this moment to sell her home after withstanding years of construction. Reached by phone last week, Ms. Baroff said that because she hoped to be in contract soon, she did not want to discuss the deal. Her real estate broker, Paul Murphy, a vice president at the Corcoran Group, also declined to comment.
Perhaps after nearly 30 years, it was simply time for her to move on. Or perhaps the dozens of flattened cigarette butts on the sidewalk provide some clue: Ms. Champagne, who lives next door, said her stoop had become an unofficial smoking lounge for arena employees. And maybe certain ill-mannered Barclays visitors have played a role.
Ms. Champagne pointed to a bare set of shrubs in front of the yellow house that people have been treating as a urinal. “So, I’m really glad they have those bushes,” she said.
She said the arena had made the street feel like an extension of it rather than part of a neighborhood. But not all of her neighbors agree with her assessment, or mind the change.
“It’s actually way less intrusive than we thought it would be,” said Sally Morgridge, who moved into her boyfriend’s apartment in December. “Though it does depend on who’s playing.”
“It turns out wrestling fans are very loud,” she explained, “and after a big basketball game there are crowds out chanting ‘Brooklyn.’ My boyfriend tells me Justin Bieber fans were quite loud.”
In general, residents said that the noise was negligible, less noticeable than sirens from a nearby firehouse and police station, and that arena visitors did not tend to hang around.
Lourdes Pacheco, who has lived at 478 Dean since the early 1980s, said she loved being able to scamper across the street to take in a show or a game, which she had done six times. (The Marc Anthony concert was particularly good, she said.) But not everyone is tempted to try that convenience on for size.
Asked if they would live in a house across the street from the Barclays Center, a young couple heading to a Nets game last week called out in unison as they trotted toward the stadium: “No!”
“But we wouldn’t want to live in Brooklyn, either,” the young woman clarified. “We live on Long Island.”
“Yeah,” her companion concurred. “It’s the location.”
test“It turns out wrestling fans are very loud,” "It's not four blocks away, it's not two blocks away, it's right across the street, " said Kris Sylvester, a broker at Halstead Property, who attended an open house at 474 Dean Street two weeks ago.
Monday, March 18, 2013