Open Thread Wednesday

What’s on your mind? Comment away!

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  • AEB

    In case you missed this in last Sundays’s Times real estate section, on our nabe:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/23/realestate/living-in-brooklyn-heights-new-york.html?rref=collection%2Fcolumn%2Fliving-in

    “The neighborhood is upscale but funky….” Funky?! Well, there’s Fortune House….

  • Chris Bastian

    Is Montague St losing its restaurant vibe? Armandos and Taperia join Friend of a Farmer and Vegetarian Ginger.

  • gc

    Did Montague St ever have a restaurant vibe?
    We’ve been here more than 40 years and can’t ever remember it being known for particularly good food.

  • Peter Darrow

    Clover Hill

  • Banet

    The new James Weir florist is now open in the old Ricky’s space. Nice people, nice setup. Someone (not the owner) I spoke to in there said their old location was asking $18,000(!) a month. The Ricky’s space was $11,000/month.

    I know rents are high but I find it hard to believe that either of those numbers are correct, especially the Ricky’s space. Can you imagine how many plants and flowers you have to sell to cover that rent?!?

  • gc

    Time frame sounds about right.

  • Andrew Porter

    Delicious bank, cellphone and real-estate offices, though!

  • Andrew Porter

    There’s a movement to institute retail rent control. Otherwise we get tons of empty stores, because landlords have raised the cost of rent to where local stores–including basic services–can’t pay and make a profit. Then the stores sit empty while the landlords wait for a chain that can afford the price to move in.

    Result: lots of empty stores, loss of neighborhood services, tons of chains like Dunkin’ Donuts or 7-Eleven. Or banks.

  • Andrew Porter

    Monday night, fire engines came to my block; then, Tuesday morning, National Grid was jackhammering outside my windows at 2:30am and again at 8am. Today, more noise, more test holes along the block. Running A/C and earplugs helped, but still…

    Could have been worse: no helicopters…

  • Andrew Porter
  • DIBS

    Good luck with that. There are a lot of movements.

  • Andrew Porter

    I made several comments there, including to the guy who moved here in 2012, claimed nothing ever changed, then moved away to London 6 months ago.

  • Andrew Porter

    A bunch of ne’er-do-wells called the City Council is among those supporting the idea:

    https://therealdeal.com/issues_articles/rethinking-retail-solutions/

  • Joey

    You can’t implement rent controls on retail stores, which limit income landlords receive yet not put a cap on costs like real estate taxes and other costs. While greed is a factor (I have no problem with landlords charging whatever rate they want if they get it) but I think the cost side is rising fast as well. What’s the point of investment if you can’t generate a return? I don’t see retail rent control fixing the issues of vacant store fronts. That being said, I’m against all rent control and let the market set the price.

  • Andrew Porter

    Then you’re living in the wrong city!

    How about Landmarking? Want everything short to be torn down and 100-story highrises to destroy Brooklyn Heights? Landmarking is a form of architectural rent control.

  • Joey

    Two different issues. I’m for land marking. Architectural control is not the same as rent control.

  • Andrew Porter

    But Landmarking prevents property owners from maximizing the potential worth of their property, by limiting the size of buildings.

    Sorry, you can’t be for one and not the other.

  • Stanley

    I don’t remember that deli. Wasn’t that the spot that the Montague Street Saloon was?

  • Joey

    Wrong. Landmarking is for architectural preservation not limiting the size of buildings or maximizing property worth. Again, two different topics.

  • Andrew Porter

    Columbia Heights is now renamed in part for Emily Roebling. Read the article here in Gothamist:

    http://tinyurl.com/y9sotzf8

  • http://www.yotamzohar.com StudioBrooklyn

    Couldn’t the argument be made that in this case, as Andrew has pointed out, commercial/retail rent control is also for preserving something of the character of a neighborhood (as is landmarking)?

  • http://www.yotamzohar.com StudioBrooklyn
  • DIBS

    Neighborhood groups push for it. Those in the know realize it would never survive a legal challenge.

  • DIBS

    Apples & oranges. Don’t be disingenuous. And unrealistic. I know it’s the liberal thing to support but it’llnever survive a legal challenge.

  • DIBS

    FAR rules limit building sizes.

  • Banet

    An excellent point. Commerical rent control could go a long way in preserving the mom & pop nature of retail in NYC… something most people would prefer to anonymous chains.

    For what it’s worth, while some have been advocating for commercial rent control, I think the more likely solution would be a “vacancy tax”. An ever-escalating bill from the city on empty storefronts.

    Would that stop every landlord from making foolish financial decisions? (I’m looking at you, crazy old lady landlord for the old Starbucks space next to Lassen.) No. But it would likely go a long way towards convincing landlords to settle for a more reasonable rent and stop holding out for national chains and their allegedly deep pockets. (I think those pockets aren’t as deep as they used to be — Amazon is hurting a lot of these chains as much as it’s hurt local businesses.)

  • Jorale-man

    Interesting points both in the article and from one commenter about how the Witnesses’s departure is really going to transform the neighborhood. It’s not something that gets raised on this blog much, but if you think of how much real estate is being vacated by people who never went out, and how the newcomers may look for better restaurants and services, it could have a big impact on the Heights.

    I also think the article sorely glossed over the negative side-effects of BBP, but the Times has always been pretty pro-park.

  • Cranberry Beret

    The article’s opening is unintentionally ironic. Quotes the former BookCourt owner as complaining about a “lot of upheaval and construction in Cobble Hill” because she “loved everything old.” This is the same person who owned one of that neighborhood’s oldest and most quaint clapboard storefronts, and sold it to a developer who’s turning it into a glassy box as we speak. That’s the best interview the Times could come up with??

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7nPOzGeyaw Arch Stanton

    Yeah, he glossed over the twenty something years the Saloon was there… Picadeli was just before that.

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7nPOzGeyaw Arch Stanton

    Sounds like a socialist wet dream… thankfully, no chance of it ever happening.