When A-list showbiz types like Matt Damon, Emily Blunt and Daniel Craig arrive in a neighborhood, you can usually expect explosions, drama and big box office numbers. But only thing blowing up in the historic Downtown Brooklyn area, where all these stars own multimillion-dollar homes, are the real estate sales figures.
The leafy, quiet and adjoining neighborhoods of Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill and Carroll Gardens have experienced unprecedented price appreciation over the last decade, as was recently reported by The New York Times. The median sale price of Cobble Hill homes in the third quarter of 2019 was $1.5 million, based on 17 transactions, and the year-over-year increase was an astonishing 88 percent. Whether sparkling new condos or majestic old townhomes, these neighborhoods have become real estate gold for brokers entertaining A-list buyers. What’s the draw? A family vibe, historic brownstones, amenity-filled condos and myriad cultural attractions.
Brooklyn certainly has its fair share of famous names born and raised in the borough, Joan Rivers, Mike Tyson, Larry King, Edie Falco, Barry Manilow and Adam Sandler, to name but a few. In more recent years, Lena Dunham called Brooklyn Heights home and late actor Heath Ledger and his then-wife Michelle Williams set up house on Hoyt Street. Beyonce’s younger sister Solange once resided in Carroll Gardens and actor Kerri Russell is a longtime Boerum Hill resident, with her townhouse featured almost a decade ago in the pages of Elle Décor.
In 2016, Matt Damon was heavily rumored to be preparing an offer of around $40 million for the so-called Low Mansion on Pierrepont Street in Brooklyn Heights. Instead, he chose a family-sized penthouse in a newly built Brooklyn Heights condo building for which he coughed up about $16.75 million — the highest price ever paid for a home in Brooklyn. That record-setting purchase was soon followed by Emily Blunt and John Krasinki, who snatched up two units in the same building as Damon for a combined $11 million.
Adam Driver, who was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in Netflix’s “Marriage Story,” recently revealed in The New Yorker that he lived in Brooklyn Heights, and Mary Louise Parker owns a five-bedroom duplex with views of the Brooklyn Promenade, which she purchased in 2018 for $4.3 million. Other Brooklyn Heights residents include Paul Giamatti, who has been there for a decade, and Icelandic singer-songwriter Bjork who snagged a penthouse in 2009 for $4.5 million that she lucratively sold last year for almost $8 million.
Some of the neighborhood’s newest showbiz residents are long-time Brooklyn homeowner Michelle Williams and her fiancé, theater and film director Tommy Kail, who celebrated their engagement with the $10.8 million off-market purchase of a historic townhouse. Another thespian couple, Jennifer Connelly and Paul Bettany, broke townhouse sales records when they dropped $15.5 million in 2018 on an 8,000 square-foot urban palace.
Next door to Brooklyn Heights sits Cobble Hill, which also enjoys tree-lined streets, historic buildings, and a thriving restaurant scene. It has made many a Brit feel at home, perhaps due to its similarity with the UK’s period architecture and neighborhoods. And, indeed, one of England’s most famous citizens, Daniel Craig, and his British-American wife, Rachel Weizs, call it home; they purchased their townhouse from fellow Brits, author Martin Amis and Isabela Fonseca.
Multiple Grammy winner Norah Jones is a longtime Carroll Gardens resident, having first purchased a five-bedroom townhouse in 2009 for $4.9 million. That home recently sold after being listed for $8 million. However, the smoky-voiced chanteuse isn’t leaving the general vicinity — she purchased a carriage house in nearby Cobble Hill for $6.25 million.
The neighborhood, which spans around 40 blocks, has had an ever-changing demographic like much of Brooklyn, starting with the Irish immigrants who first settled there in the 19th century. Recent famous residents have included Beyoncé’s younger sis, Solange Knowles and “Girls” actor, Jemima Kirke.
Another Brit, indie actress/screenwriter, Emily Mortimer (“Lars and the Real Girl,” HBO’s “The Newsroom”) lives in a townhouse in Boerum Hill, and other longtime residents of the ‘hood include actor Ethan Hawke, who first moved there in 2013 when he acquired a four-story Greek Revival townhouse for a reported $3.9 million.