You know development is out of control when even acclaimed local filmmaker Spike Lee feels squeezed by rising rents.
The director who sprung to nationwide attention 20 years ago with the seminal film, “Do the Right Thing,” fell victim to skyrocketing rent in Fort Greene, compelling him to vacate the converted DeKalb Avenue firehouse he had rented for his production company since the mid-1980s.
“Got priced out, the rent raise was insane,” Lee told The Brooklyn Paper.
Instead of being bamboozled by his landlord, the auteur moved his 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks to a mo’ better homestead around the corner on South Elliot Place.
The “For Sale” sign at 124 DeKalb Ave. was reminiscent of the 1997 shuttering of Spike’s Joint, a store selling Lee film memorabilia, that fanned neighborhood fears that “Mars Blackmon” had checked out of Kings County.
The director, who gave Brooklyn the starring role in films like “Crooklyn” and “Jungle Fever,” affirmed that he still had a working and personal relationship with the borough.
“Still in Fort Greene,” said Lee, obviously referring only to his film company, as he now lives in Manhattan (oy!). “Forty Acres moved to a building we already owned” on South Elliot Place between Lafayette and DeKalb.
Lee might be gone from the three-story building overlooking Fort Greene Park, but his presence there won’t be easily forgotten by its next inhabitants. Citi-Habitats, the broker selling the property for $6 million, advertises that “it has been leased to a celebrated film maker for the past 22 years as a production studio.”
There are two duplex residential units in the building.