.

Meet the Owner: Richard Flateau of Flateau Realty

For more than a decade, realtor Richard Flateau has mastered the art of mining for jewels

Richard Flateau is the owner of , located at 368A Decatur Street near Malcolm X Boulevard.

He was born and raised in Bedford-Stuyvesant. He left the neighborhood only briefly to earn his degree in economics from Harvard University and then later, an MBA from NYU’s Stern School of Business.

In 2000, he opened Flateau Realty where he works with clients primarily in Central Brooklyn, which includes the neighborhoods of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights and Bushwick.

“What I enjoy most about what I do is meeting different people, business people, helping people out in their transitions and learning more about the community,” said Flateau.

As someone who not only has traversed every street in Central Brooklyn, but who also has seen the insides of literally thousands of homes, Flateau is a walking Wikipedia of architecture and history with enough anecdotes to fill a Bible.

For example, on Classon Avenue and Clifton Place, where he was born, he now has a client leasing space inside of the Bed-Stuy Child Development Support Corporation—consequently, the very same building where the multi billion-dollar organization, Bristol-Myers Squibb, first opened its doors.

Or another example: Most recently, he came upon a mansion on MacDonough St. and Tompkins Ave, the home of the New York chapter of The United Order of Tents, a secret society of black women that dates back to the Civil War and is still active today. 

“It’s a benevolent society and, I believe, the oldest living organization of black women in the United States that was started by white abolitionists and some black women to assist in the Underground Railroad,” his eyes flickered with excitement.

“Bed-Stuy used to be an Irish and German neighborhood, so (as the plot thickens),” and he leans in, “it also turns out that the building where the United Order of Tents is now, was built by the founder of Emigrant Bank, and Irish guy.”

It’s obvious Flateau is passionate about his work, his community and its history.

He’d be the first one to tell you that when it comes to Bed-Stuy, its homes, architecture and people, there’s a lot more beneath the surface than what is only visible to the eye.

And with his clients, he’s mastered that art digging in the right places to mine for the perfect jewel. Selling and renting properties? That’s the easy part.

Joe Gonzalez August 31, 2012 at 01:02 PM
Dear Richard Flateau; You have some serious explaining to do to this community. You need to start explaining to the Black Community your role in the sale of the 175 year old property at 87 Macdonough Street in the Village of Bed-Stuy. As mentioned in the above article,the Tents was an organization of free Black women in the 1840's. You are selling their building and surrounding land to interlopers from Williamsburgh (We all know who they are). You are selling a 150 year old Black Church at 54 MacDonough street (First AME Church) and you are selling the Historic VIDA Building at 1440 Fulton Street among other Historic Black owned properties. YOU NEED TO EXPLAIN TO THE COMMUNITY WHY YOU ARE A PARTY TO THE BIGGEST RIPPOFF OF HISTORIC BLACK PROPERTY IN THE HISTORY OF BED-STUY. We need to preserve Historic Black buildings for future generations as yet unborn. Shame on you. Have you no conscience nor sense of obligation to this community?
peter s. August 31, 2012 at 06:04 PM
I recognize and share your sentiment regarding the steady loss of historic properties. It is my belief that as a licensed realtor, Richard is legally bound to provide his service to all comers regardless of where they interlope from or "who they are". The same laws enacted to enabled "us" to move into areas where we were not welcome are still applicable now when "them folks" are choosing to return.
Marcus Thompson September 07, 2012 at 04:04 PM
Joe you are so misinformed it's sad. Just because you see a Flateau Realty sign on a property does not mean that the building is being sold. Your accusations are baseless and before you go attack someone on a public site you should have more first hand primary facts from the source. If you knew anything you would know that Richard is not selling the Tent building. Also you would have more knowledge on the situation of that organization and you should ask yourself why they would need a realtors help in the first place. The people in this community spent years letting their properties become decrepit and run down and now that other non- residents are coming in and doing something with it everyone's panties are in a bunch. The residents of this community had plenty of time to get their ish together and never did so if we lose property to people of other cultures its our own fault. We need to take care of our own situations first before we go around pointing fingers at other people. Every long term resident in this community plays a part in the transition that is currently taking place. Do not attack a man who is just trying to provide a service for his community and provide for his family.
peter s. September 11, 2012 at 03:14 AM
Marcus, I must take exception to your comment, "The people in this community spent years letting their properties become decrepit and run down." Apparently you are not familiar with the long standing policy of "redlining" by banks and lenders as it was applied to Bedford-Stuyvesant and other black neighborhoods. Black homeowners were not able obtain loans for the purpose of maintaining & improving their properties. This policy was gradually lifted only as recently as the 1990s. Also you must also consider that many rental properties were owned by absentee landlords who merely reaped profits from collecting rent while allowing the properties to fall into disrepair. Your statement seems to imply that the residents of this area are fully responsible for the area's descent. You can easily search the topic of redling and it's effects. Here is one link that shines some light on the topic. http://pbskids.org/bigapplehistory/life/topic19.html
Akeba Augustine September 24, 2012 at 02:20 PM
As a Realtor myself. I like what bed-stuy is becoming. I walk around and become sadden by all the run down properties, vacant lots & squatters further damaging the properties. We as black ppl need to stick together and welcome the change. " Redling" by banks may be an issue or excuse. But if we as black ppl restored our own community by finding other means to get funding by an outside investor instead of solely relying on these banks, we would be a lot further. Flateau Realty was hired to sell them he did not force anyone. Your disgruntlednesss needs to be with the owners of those properties. Maybe you should find a solution instead of attacking. Ive work with Flateau Realty on many deals.
Sonia September 24, 2012 at 06:45 PM
No matter who owns what property, Bedford-Stuyvesant is an awesome location with so much history and culture from all over the world and our country. It's nice to find pride in both its buildings and its people.
Tia September 27, 2012 at 02:50 PM
Thank you for that comment, Joe. As a Broker in the Bedford Stuyvesant community, I am learning that many Realtors [African America ] are refusing to work with each other. I am already aware as to what is expected from some of the other brokers and realtors in the field. I am hoping that Flateau and others will eventually “to preserve Historic Black buildings for future generations as yet unborn." It is truly a mess as to what is happening in Bedford Stuyvesant. And I clearly understand that if you are granted a listing--go with it. The practice of Redlining and blockbusting needs to stop. Many of the homeowners were not, and are not being offered the same opportunity to obtain loans, mortgages etc. {credit worthy} to improve.... And like everywhere, there are the drug addicts and the lowly souls that just refuse to keep the corners clean (not literally the corner) resulting in poor quality of the neighborhood. If we always had eight cops on every block, {2 on ea. corners} as they are now on my block daily..., perhaps the problem's of the past would have never existed. ~~To be continued
Tia September 27, 2012 at 02:53 PM
Thank you for that comment, Joe. As a Broker in the Bedford Stuyvesant community, I am learning that many Realtors [African America ] are refusing to work with each other. I am already aware as to what is expected from some of the other brokers and realtors in the field. I am hoping that Flateau and others will eventually “to preserve Historic Black buildings for future generations as yet unborn." It is truly a mess as to what is happening in Bedford Stuyvesant. And I clearly understand that if you are granted a listing--go with it. The practice of Redlining and blockbusting needs to stop. Many of the homeowners were not, and are not being offered the same opportunity to obtain loans, mortgages etc. {credit worthy} to improve.... And like everywhere, there are the drug addicts and the lowly souls that just refuse to keep the corners clean (not literally the corner) resulting in poor quality of the neighborhood. If we always had eight cops on every block, {2 on ea. corners} as they are now on my block daily..., perhaps the problem's of the past would have never existed. ~~To be continued
Tia September 27, 2012 at 02:55 PM
Re: Thank you Joe. I have been trying for over a year to gain access to several buildings {for sale} in the Bed-Stuy area; it has been excuse after excuse as to why they can't get in. I had to actually disguise my voice to get an appt in an effort for my AA client to purchase a home. This is a real disgrace and shows something. I have reported these particular agencies--no word back yet. One associate-- broker in a particular real estate actually refused to work with me in locating a home for an AA family. Believe it or not, I have known this gal for years. I can see if the person was NOT pre-qualified, poor credit or some job issue; this was clearly not the case. I am questioning, are meetings being held some- where that realtors are being "trained" to not sell to AA's? And to me people are either black or white, so.... This issue goes way beyond Flateau and the cohorts. I am all for preserving black history and culture. It's so unfortunate that history in right in the face of the ignorant--but they choose to stay blind as to what is really happening out here; AA are being forced out--slowly but surely. Some of the (AA) realtors who have refused to rent and sale to other (AA's), you will be first on the list. I would love to challenge some of those individuals to initiate an effort to rent or buy in Oneonta, or Ossining, NY. and see what happens. In fact try as close as Bensonhurst Bklyn.

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »