Managing Montague Chain Gang

The Brooklyn Eagle covers the struggle between local businesses, real estate agents, developers and big chain stores on Montague Street:

Brooklyn Eagle: Some Seek Balance…: When Archstone Smith was looking for a ground-floor tenant to fill prime retail space in its 180 Montague St. apartment tower, Bill Ross, then a principal of his own local real estate firm, knew he didn’t want another bank to move in. There were already several on the block, and Ross said another would take away from the value of the luxury apartments soaring above.

So, Ross offered to sacrifice a portion of his brokerage fee if Archstone agreed to take a relative gamble on a local chain, organic grocer Garden of Eden. As executive director of sales for Halstead, Ross said he took a cut in commission to convince a landlord on the corner of Henry and Montague streets to rent to Ann Taylor LOFT as opposed to Eckerds. (Full story)

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  • nabeguy

    Nice to see that there’s actually still one person left in the realty world who can see the larger picture and not view every storefront as an individual opportunity to get the highest rate on the block.

  • lakisha

    best food market in the nabe….we could not live without it – freshest poultry and produce….

  • Go Team Us!

    anyone know of any progress being made on renting the space above ann taylor? It’s been vacant for at least the last two years. Not that I can really think of anything we need in the area.

  • Vishnu Jones

    I’m all for a pool hall. Now that would be fun.

  • yo

    how about a decent bar on montague? that would be nice…..

  • JL

    I would like to know what they are doing with the space on clark between henry and hicks. The one place has white paper over all of the windows (used to be the place with “Meet me at Clark Street” in the window). Maybe something moving in?

  • cranberry

    What about the old Thai Grill, the Bagel Lady Space, the space above Ann Taylor which has been vacant at least 4 years, Palmiras, the place next door to Palmiras, the candy shop on Henry, Pig’n’Out, the little space next to Heights Cafe, the space across from Jack the Horse, there are at least 5 more on Montague…. I think the pool hall/bar above ann taylor is actually a great idea.. how about a gourmet grocery in the large space on clark between henry and hicks, and i would die and go to heaven if a Blue Ribbon or maybe a brooklyn outpost of Landmarc would go into the old Thai Grill, something open late with a great steak and a great bottle of wine. Why is it so much to ask??

  • nancy

    The “Meet me at Clark’s” space is upposedly going to be offices, as is the old Thai Grill space. Palmira’s will be truned into co-ops. I miss the Gap, and the Montague Street Saloon, but then again, I remember when there was a Manhattan Bagel, a Hot Bird and a kosher deli on Montague Street. That is what we really need, a good deli sandwich, not that poor excuse for one at Lassen and Hennings!!!

  • GHB

    Good deli and a good fish market (like Fish Tales on Court) would be perfect for BH. I also agree that we need a good bar on Montague. Sometimes, I’m too lazy to walk to Atlantic.

  • Parking!!!

    This area needs more parking!

  • splash

    We need a good bar above Ann Taylor!! This place is dead at 10pm- remember Annie’s Blue Moon-that kept this neighborhood alive. We need a good bar in this nabe to keep the 10% of young people in this nabe.

  • nabeguy

    I know I’m opening up a can of worms with this one, but isn’t Eamonn Doran’s a bar that’s on Montague Street? And what exactly does everything one think constitutes a “good” bar?

  • ChrisC

    wow, good call on the pool hall — I think that’s a great idea.. Hmm.. ideas about a good bar? Dark, couches, not too huge, no food necessary, premium beer on tap, good cocktails, and good music (that’s very important) — maybe a place that has live music on occasion? I feel like Eamonn’s is more a restaurant, and caters to slightly older than 20-30’s crowd — not that there’s anything wrong with that!:) I go there more for a Guinness and pub grub..

  • nabeguy

    ChrisC, you’re bar ideas are spot on, but probably not feasible with the high rents in the area, especially on Montague. It would definitely have to include some kind of food to get the day- crowd from the courts in order to survive. The last true “alcohol” only place that I can remember on the strip was the one in the Bossert Hotel, and that was for the old bar flies left over from the 50’s that spent their social security checks there.

  • ChrisC

    Ahh, good point nabeguy…could an “alcohol only” bar survive the rents on Henry Street maybe? Or are they too high as well?

  • lifer

    I for one loved the Montague street Saloon, an drank at Foffe’s and Annie’s Blue Moon,Clark stret station, ect. that was awhile ago, when I was younger., I think any bar opening on Montague street is gonna be a magnet for the college dorm crowd from st George hotel, and st Francis. The crowd at Blue Moon was pretty collegy,Law schooly and antagonistic. A friend of mine recently picked up a chick who was drinking at Eammon Doran’s, turned out she was from St Francis, and 18!..A loungy place might work on upper Henry st, but I think Montague is done as far as a nightlife least for an older than college crowd, just my opinion.

  • nancy

    Well now the buzz is that the Apple store and a Barney’s will be opening in Williamsburg, at “The Edge” condos. Doesn’t make too much sense, unless they want to prop up the neigborhood and bring more people in. Yuch…I wanted to see it down here.

  • lakisha

    sad to see a barney’s in williamsburg and not in our nabe! how about a gracious home! would certainly beat the trip to the upper west!

  • nabeguy

    Upper Henry might work since that was also the sight of one of the last real bars in the nabe (McGrath’s, which is where I learned to drink and is now Noodle Pudding). But, again, I wonder if there are enough regular imbibers out there to keep a place like this going; there’s got to be some kind of hook. I vote for a old-school pinball bar.

  • Homer Fink

    Given the crowd that bartender Damon draws at Jack the Horse, the answer is yes Mr. Nabeguy.

  • CS

    Hmmm, Lifer I might know you. Saloon, Foffe’s, Eamon’s…..all of my old places….

  • nabeguy

    Yes, Homer, but even a horse does not live by drink alone; every once in a while they gotta eat some hay. I haven’t been to JTH, but do you think it could survive on booze alone?

  • lakisha

    you must try jth – quite good and a fabulous crowd!

  • bornhere

    Really miss Annie’s and will never forget Caps. But moving on … a fish store would be great (how scary that I remember the wonderful one run by Dolly and Gus on FULTON STREEET, before all the houses were torn down and Cadman Plaza Whatever emerged), and a bakery that would preclude trips to Carroll Gardens for great Italian bread, lard bread, cookies, sfingi, etc, would be a gift.

  • nabeguy

    2bornot2b, as a broker, can you answer the question as to what the incentive is for a landlord to keep a space empty indefinitely? As a commercial landlord myself, I don’t see the addvantage in a loss-of-income tax deduction over actual earnings.

  • ABC

    I know the place was rented some time ago to a “kids gymboree” kind of place (but not Gymboree). They have to do a lot of renovations and won’t be open til late 08. Not sure why they continue to have that sign out there — shouldn’t be allowed.

    Nabeguy, I can tell you it pays in the end to get an Ann Taylor kind of place in a spot. The rent gets paid on time, no matter how the location at that specific address goes. The problem with a indy store is that you’ll get a Palmira’s situation: They never make money, the stop paying the rent, they’ve lost all their life savings in the place so they go for broke and stay open and make you take them to court. Takes years, tons of money, and frustration. Which is why 111 Hicks is subdividing and making that space into apartments to sell.

  • lady montague

    ABC, which space are you referring to? (That will be gymboree clone)

  • nancy

    They didn’t lose their life savings in Palmira’s. He was doing this at other places too. They just declared bankruptcy and moved on. Never paid taxes on their income either. A very shady character

  • ABC

    The Gymboree-style place I’m talking about will be above Ann Taylor Loft.

    Oh yeah, I wasn’t sure of personal deets on that Palmira’s guy. Just saying that I-got-nothin’-left-to-lose scenario is one that can suck a landlord dry. I’m not a landlord, just familiar with that kind of situation. I can see the appeal of keeping it empty and waiting for a sure thing. As a neighbor, it may not be ideal, but I get it from a business standpoint.

    I thought you couldn’t declare bankruptcy over and over? Suprised they’d rent to someone with that kind of past.

  • lady montague

    The Pineapple/Henry space has been empty for 10+ years. Could he really be getting a tax benefit worth almost $12K/month by keeping it empty for so long? Maybe he’s waiting for that boutique hotel of his around the corner to open. Oh I forgot, he reneged on that promise to LPC and BHA. Real asset to the neighborhood. I wish the BHA would spend more time on giving incentives to landlords to rent to the tenants that residents say they want, and less time on pet causes like parking permits. I’d say the retail mix is a bigger determinant of neighborhood attraction/value than parking issues.