Thanks to its beautiful (and ultra-exclusive) real estate, low-key vibe, and proximity to Manhattan, Brooklyn Heights has always attracted its share of posh residents. And in the past few years, one property in particular has become the building du jour for a select and starry clientele: The Standish, located on Columbia Heights near the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. The Beaux-Arts building, built in 1903, started as a hotel, and in 2016 evolved into luxurious condos. The Standish now counts Matt Damon, John Krasinski, and Emily Blunt as residents.  

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The New York Post recently reported that Matt Damon moved into the building’s penthouse more than a year after purchasing the six-bedroom apartment for $16.745 million — a price that made it one of the most expensive apartments ever sold in Brooklyn. But even before The Standish became the borough’s most celebrity-studded building, it had a colorful history.

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    From Hotel to Superman’s Home to Jehovah’s Witness Complex

    The Standish Arms Hotel opened at the turn of the 20th century. At the time, newspaper advertisements for the complex made mention of the speedy commute to Wall Street by ferry and the spectacular views of Manhattan — still one of its prime attractions in the 21st century. It operated as a hotel until 1981 and then was sold to the Jehovah’s Witnesses. The group converted the building into a residence hall for workers in the neighborhood. 

    In the interim, the building reportedly inspired the Man of Steel himself. In the Superman comics, Clark Kent lived on the fifth floor at The Standish Arms Apartments in Metropolis. (Both condos on The Standish’s current fifth floor sold for just under $5 million in 2018 — surely more than Superman paid for his midcentury pad.) 

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    The Standish Brooklyn Goes Condo — and Becomes a Celebrity Magnet

    A peek inside one of the building’s units. (From a listing at 171 Columbia Heights #5A)

    The Jehovah’s Witnesses sold the building to a Boston-based developer in 2007, turning it into rentals. In 2015, it sold again to DDG and Westbrook Partners, who transformed it into just 31 apartments. “The biggest selling point is that it’s the best of all worlds,” says Deborah Rieders, a broker at Corcoran. Rieders says the building’s history, combined with the luxuries of a modern condo, has attracted plenty of buyers. “It feels spotless, elegant, and modern,” she says. “The developers used classic materials in a more modern vernacular.” 

    The building is also very exclusive — a perk for celebs like Damon, who value their privacy. “It’s only a 22-unit building, and it has a 24-hour doorman,” Rieders says. “People feel like it’s a very intimate and private setting, even though you do get the amenities of being in a new condo.” 

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    Of course, those perks don’t come cheap. Many of the building’s apartments have closed for north of $2 million, with Damon’s condo the most expensive by far. Interestingly, as of March 2023, the median asking price for homes in Brooklyn Heights was $1.7M, according to the StreetEasy Data Dashboard. However, the median recorded sale price was lower, at $1.2M.

    The Standish Brooklyn’s Famous Residents

    Matt Damon and the Standish in Brooklyn Heights

    Matt Damon: The Jason Bourne star bought The Standish’s 12th-floor penthouse for a whopping $16.745 million at the end of 2018, and in the process, became the owner of one of Brooklyn’s most expensive apartments ever sold. But it took the actor and his wife, Lucianna Barroso, more than a year to set up their new digs. According to news reports, they shut down Columbia Heights in July 2020 so that an enormous crane could haul furniture into the penthouse and trees onto the terrace.

    Emily Blunt: After selling their Park Slope townhouse in 2018 for $6.5 million, A Quiet Place star Emily Blunt and her husband, The Office’s John Krasinki, took over a floor at the Standish, paying $11 million to combine two units on the eighth floor

    John Krasinski: Krasinski and Blunt sold the Park Slope townhouse in 2018 because they weren’t spending enough time there. But they settled in quickly at The Standish, and Krasinski reportedly filmed episodes of his uplifting web series Some Good News from their Brooklyn Heights home. Interestingly, Krasinski and Damon were acquaintances before they became neighbors: the pair co-produced the Oscar-winning 2016 film Manchester by the Sea. (The film also earned an Oscar nomination for its star Michelle Williams, also a celebrated Brooklynite. Coincidence? We think not!)

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