“An air of timelessness envelops much of four-block-long Montague Street, but the commercial hub of Brooklyn Heights is stirring as it hasn’t in years. Trendy eateries, cafés and boutiques have popped along the street lined with handsome Beaux Arts and Romanesque Revival buildings and Victorian row houses.” That’s the opening of a Crain’s New York Business profile that ran Sunday… perhaps taking the lead from BHB’s May 18 post “Heights Rallies For Montague Street Retail Corridor.”
The story discusses recent progress along the “avenue,” including new businesses Le Pain Quotidien, boutique clothier Ruby and Jenna, the “new” Starbucks, Area Yoga & Spa Center and Custom House.
Glenn Markman, who opened Heights Cafe on the corner of Hicks Street 18 years ago with brother Greg and will soon launch brick-oven pizzeria Della Rocco’s of Brooklyn around the corner, is quoted by Crain’s: “I’ve never seen this street so alive.”
The newspaper attributes growth along Montague less to do with Brooklyn Heights proper, but more so about expansion in surrounding Downtown Brooklyn and DUMBO, where amenities are not keeping up with the population boom. Here’s more:
Such a turnaround would have been unimaginable as little as four years ago, when the recession claimed several businesses on Montague. Vacancy rates topped out at 6% in 2008, on a street where vacancies have always been rare. In a single week, Jennifer Convertibles, the Spicy Pickles sandwich shop and Washington Mutual shuttered.
While other haunts have since followed suit—including 30-year stalwart La Traviata last November—the strip’s vacancy rate has eased back to 1.7%, according to the Montague Street Business Improvement District. And while retail rents now average between $100 and $115 per square foot, some spaces fetch as much as $250 per square foot. Higher rents have forced out a number of mom-and-pops, including a bookstore, pharmacies and florists.
Read the full Crain’s Business article here.
(Photo: lumierefl via Flickr)