Open Thread Wednesday

Opening up the BHB floor to our readers to discuss events in the nabe.

One of the things that has us thinking today is this post over at Brownstoner:

We're considering buying a 2 bedroom co-op in 111 Hicks (the St. George Tower). The price is right (it needs a bit of updating) but the maintenance is unbelievably high! Are we right to be concerned about resale value? Is it worth paying such a high maintenance? Frankly, this may be the only place we can afford in BH. Thanks so much for any input or thoughts.

We found this Prudential listing for a 3BR in 111 Hicks with a whopping maintainence of $2713/month.  Is it astronomical?

We'd also love to hear from you on what you'd do to make the Henry Street and Montague Street business district's more appealing, if you've tried any of the new area restaurants, thoughts on the Cadman Plaza astroturf project or just about anything else Heights related you've got on your mind.

Comment below, thanks.

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  • pbdotc

    connecticut muffin: dumbest name ever?


  • C

    I don’t know what can be done. Montague Street is just deplorable, food-wise. I love the Grand Canyon diner, but that’s about it (that I can remember right now). Seriously, why are there no good restaurants on Montague? I love Brooklyn Heights, but Montague Street is getting me down lately.

  • wayne

    um, not sure what the top 2 comments were about, but it’s all a trade-off…high maint, low mortgage…guess the bet would be if maintenance will continue to grow higher than the normal rate.
    I’d rather carry a higher mortgage than a higher maintenance.
    Why is Hicks’ maintenance so high anyway?

  • Margaret

    No, no,no to 111 Hicks St! My husband and I recently looked into buying a two bedroom there. The price was right but the maint. was super high. We gave up when we saw the ridiculous 39 page co-op application. If you do buy there successfully you will have a tough time selling it due to the insane rules and regulations the building has. You have to actually pay a whopping fee to move into the building. Also, you may get as far as actually getting your bid accepted, paying for the lawyers fees, and submitting your 9 copies of the 39 page application only to be rejected and losing money and valuable time. I’ve watched places for sale there go into and out of contract several times only to go off the market due to not being able to sell. That’s my two cents. p.s. – the building is in debt millions (thus the hight maint.)

  • Chico

    I can’t speak to the finances, but I’ve got a friend who lives in 111 Hicks, and she loves it. She says the staff has been incredibly friendly and responsive to whatever she has needed. I’ve visisted a couple of apartments in the building and, while the common sreas are kinda grim, the individual apartments I’ve seen are attractive and bright. Again, I don’t know why the maintenance is high or if it’s ultimately worth it.

  • Dan

    The problem with Montague St. isn’t that it’s unappealing. Quite the opposite. The problem is that it’s so appealing — high foot traffic, affluent nabe, active business district nearby — that rents are too high for the kinds of stores that a residential neighborhood really needs.

    As for 111, my understanding (from looking about 10 years ago) is that there’s a huge underlying mortgage and a big staff, both of which lend themselves to high maintenance. The good news is that deductibility is high. Net-net, the place is pretty much in line with the rest of The Heights. And the apts I’ve seen there are pretty nice, if a little small. Don’t know a thing about house rules or procedures there.

  • CMC

    Henry Street needs:

    A good sitdown coffee shop with some style
    Only the dark survive – more restaraunts with “mood lighting”
    A gallery or two?
    A wash your own laundry place
    Some specialty shops?
    Dance Studio?

    Some Flavor.

  • Qfwfq

    Just moved into the neighborhood, and I would kill for a good, inexpensive Italian restaurant. Or a Queen of Sheba-like Ethiopian restaurant.

  • Mary

    Anyone try the new restaurant next to Henry’s end yet? The one on the corner of Cranberry and Henry looks a little too casual for me.

    The BBQ place actually looks good near there.

  • mcleaniac

    I moved into a Henry Street co-op about six years ago. I can’t believe the area doesn’t have some sort of Babies “R” Us type of store — seems something like that would just be printing money in the heights (that toy store on Pineapple is about the closest thing I’ve seen). Anyway, I’m single, so it doesn’t affect me much – just can’t believe it hasn’t occurred to someone to put something like that there.

    My wishlist for the North Henry street area includes:

    – A good coffee joint (for morning commuters taking the 2/3 who can’t bring themselves to buy from Chock Full of Nuts, or Chess King or whatever it is these days).

    – An even passable bbq joint. (Pig N’ Out did not fit the bill). I would even settle for something like a goodburger – especially one that delivers and stays open late. Can’t see how that wouldn’t go over well with the Pace kids.

    – A place to watch satellite-delivered sports and drink good beer. There is such a place on Court and Dean – Downtown Brooklyn Brewery or something like that – but I’d like to see something closer to home. I know I’m probably in the minority with this one.

    – A boutique like Tango (I’ve gone to far now, haven’t I)?

    Finally, as a daily 2/3 rider, I can assure anyone who is considering opening an elevator repair shop there on Henry Street that they would never, ever go out of business.

  • Mary

    Darn, never had a chance to try the BBQ place, although it looked a little out of place for the heights.

    For the high maintenance at 111 Hicks, why do you have such an unimpressive lobby – when you first walk in you had to walk up 3 or 4 steps, and not impressive steps at that.

    area wouldn’t allow a big Toys R Us – the one on pineapple is upscale and fits in well. it’s not baby haven like Park Slop is.

    Local coffee shop would be good instead of that Starbucks.

    Area does need more ethnic restaurants vs. a BBQ or Burger joint.

    many people feel like the area has changed with the influx of Pace students hanging out on the streets, even at night.

    don’t think area would support a sports bar.

    Tango boutique is nice!

    The 2/3 elevator is a pain so depressing taking it. and when they are all broken, all those steps are AWFUL.

  • Nick

    Is there a neigborhood business association to which we can address these concerns? Seems like if we could get the word out that people in the neighborhood are eager to see these types of businesses moving in, that would help a lot. So would small business loans.

    As for Clark Street, that area is in need of major improvement. The Pace kids do nothing for the neighborhood. They’re loud, obnoxious and throw their cigarette butts all over the sidewalk. It would be nice if we could plants some trees or put potted flowers along Clark. Heights prime meats is such a great place, would love to see a couple more places like the open up. I think the multiple restaurants that have failed in the Mike’s Steakhouse location suggest that the space is not cut out for a restaurant/bar. Maybe a coffee house would work well there.

    Montague has so many crappy little businesses on it – opticians, beauty salons, cell phone stores. None of these businesses really bring anything to the table. We need more stores like Tango, and sadly, Fish’s Eddy. I would love to see a nice home goods store, like Rare Device in Park Slope, or the other place over on Smith.

    Prospective Heights restauranteurs would do well to replicate the models from Jack the Horse, Noodle Pudding and Henry’s End – smaller is better, and so is “mood lighting”. Last night – a Wednesday – Iron Chef was packed at 8. A good name helps too: sadly, I think the name Food Maestro hasn’t helped to drum up much business for that place. Prospective business owners should look at what Tango and A Cook’s Companion are doing – picking a line and sticking to it, filling a niche in the neighborhood, and not trying to be all things to all people.

    Bottom line: the last thing we need are more banks and real estate agencies. How can we ensure that nice, neighborhood-friendly shops move in and the national chains stay out?

  • Qfwfq

    Some info on the 111 Hicks finances

  • Dan

    The Pace kids are a marked improvement over the previous tenants: SRO clients. It’s nice to be able to use the Clark Street station without fear of being panhandled. I’m kind of surprised that more student-related services haven’t popped up around the St. George.

    I don’t mind the beauty salons or opticians on Montague so much; most of them are local businesses and are pretty well-established. Even the cell phone stores are national chains, not cheap storefronts that take short-term subleases. However, I deeply resent all the real estate brokers who have taken prime spots; is that really the best neighborhood use for two of the four corners of Montague and Henry? Waldenbooks wasn’t so great and John’s Pizza wasn’t the best in the neighborhood, but surely something better could have come in.

    Speaking of which, what’s doing at Joralemon and Clinton? Innovative’s space has been vacant for years and years, and now Bolton’s leaving. Anyone know what’s up? Wal-Mart? (just kidding….)

    And what will help Aficionada, the Blue Pig, and Food Maestro more than anything is to get that scaffolding down already…

  • paul

    I don’t understand food maestro at all. they are always empty, never seem to advertise, and don’t seem to care at all that their business is obviously doing terrible. front? if so, for what?

  • paul

    also, a related question. why don’t all these vacancies in the nabe drive rent prices lower? everyone says storefront rents in the nabe are high, will they continue to be high when there’s lots of turnover and vacancy?

  • LD

    I’m glad to see Housing Works is going into Fishes Eddy’s spot. Has alot of things going for it (not a chain, good cause, furniture in GREAT shape) – I hope the neighborhood can suport it. I know I’ll be looking for a few items as soon as it opens.

  • BP

    I live in 111 Hicks and I thought the maintenance was high until I looked around. It’s not cheap, but at least you get 24 concierge (all of whom are friendly and helpful) and the 2/3 is in the same block. The extra couple of bucks a day is worth saving a 10 minute walk in the heat/cold and then having to fish out your key to get in the front door.

  • Jo Ann

    Food Maestro was awful when I tried it. The scaffolding must go – it went up the minute Pig’n’out opened up and surely affected their survival.

    I must admit that Cadman Plaza does look nice from outside the fence- still not happy about the astroturf though. But what did they do to the field on the other side of the Memorial – is that manure that they put down? Certainly smells that way, and I’m curious as to the reason for it. Does anyone know what the plan is for that section of the park?