Sea Asian to move to Livingston Street

(BHB/Sarah Portlock)

(BHB/Sarah Portlock)

The pan-Asian restaurant Sea Asian, at 78 Clark St., will move to 125 Livingston Street later this month, as a sign posted this morning indicates — but manager John Tjon told BHB that he’ll still deliver Sea’s trusty tuna rolls and pad Thai to the Heights.

“The place I’m existing is pretty good, and I’m comfortable there, but, regarding the rents, they were asking a lot more than we were expecting and we couldn’t go for what they were asking,” Tjon said. “It was too much.”

But he wanted to stay in the neighborhood, so he found a space several blocks away on Livingston Street, between Boerum Place and Smith Street, and will reopen sometime in the next few weeks. The Clark Street location will close on April 26, he said.

While he hasn’t hammered out a delivery range yet, Tjon said he’ll return to the Heights if need be.

“If anybody calls, we pretty much deliver,” he said. The restaurant will keep its same phone number — 718-625-9893.

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  • alex

    As long as they’ll still deliver to me, makes no difference where they’re located. I just hope something other than a pet store moves in.

  • GHB

    That’s good landlord… keep jackin’ those rents up! Pretty soon Montague will be totally empty!

  • GHB

    Oops! Sorry… that’s Clark Street

  • paul

    so, the rent is going way up, and the place will most likely be vacant like the old thai restaurant around the corner on henry st, and the old palmira’s space, and the litany of places on henry.

    what I cannot understand is why it makes economic sense for the landlords to ask the kind of rent that leaves these places vacant for years at a stretch. can anyone explain?

  • mike

    Paul, when they finally get that high rent that they hold out for, they put a long-term lease in place with a strong rent. It is a bet on short-term pain for long-term gain.

    Commercial leases are typically much longer than residential leases in years. Assuming a 10 year lease, every $1,000 dollars in extra rent bumps up total income over the life of the lease by $120,000. Since they are probably holding out for more than a $1,000 a month difference – it is likely worth it to keep the store empty for a year or two.

    I don’t know the specific economics of this situation, but that is the basic idea behind it.

  • nabeguy

    Mike, how about an escalating lease that starts reasonably low and increases over the life of the lease based on market rates? Sure, it’s a risk on the landlords part given that no one can accurately predict those rates, but I still don’t understand how leaving a storefront empty for months on end is a better alternative. It can only foster the idea that the space is undesirable or that the landlord is unreasonable, especially given that most prospective tenants are likely to ask what and when was the space last occupied.

  • paul

    thanks for the explanation, mike. I’ve always been a bit puzzled by this but it’s too prevalent (especially in the heights) for there not to be some kind of reason behind it, your explanation makes sense.

  • Val

    I really hope they keep delivering to the north side of the Heights. I am at Hicks & Orange. They are fast and their food is tasty. It’s usually my go-to order because of speed and the ease of ordering.

  • bh_dad

    I’m pretty sure the “owner” of the space got a 100 year lease in the mid 70’s, early 80’s when no one wanted that entire stretch of space. The rent he/she is paying is dirt cheap, almost like a rent controlled apt. They were trying to sell the lease a few years ago as part of the space.

    Never ate at Sea Asian so I wish them the best of luck at their new location.

  • Andrew Porter

    The bright red “space for rent” sign in the window has been there for over a year, apparently an inducement for the current occupant to leave. I’m sure it affected their business. This is the same sort of commercial shenanigans that’s been going on in Coney Island of late.

    [Did I actually just use the word “shenanigans”? Great jumpin’ jehosophat!]

  • No One Of Consequence

    Standard boiler-plate commercial leases give the landlord the option to post “signs to let” beginning six months prior to the end of the lease.

    Mike’s explanation is correct, except, assuming $120,000 annual rent, gains are wiped out for each year of vacancy (using the $1000 figure). Also factor in, however you wish to, having cash in-hand vs. the prospect of someday getting paid.

    In that 10 year scenario, you also have to assume that the lease is held by a solvent entity for that entire period. When you’re talking about a restaurant the odds are against you.

    It’s just more landlord greed which makes absolutely no sense in this economy (there, I said it). Who in their right mind is opening a new retail/storefront business _now_ when consumer spending is on the decline and the outlook remains bleak?

  • hickster

    this SUCKS. Sea Asian was my go-to place bc of quality and proximity. I am so sick of the Brooklyn Heights tenant jacking. Soon this will look like a ghost town.

  • HDEB

    That’s too bad; hope their new location works out better.

  • heather

    sad news. sea asian is pretty good for cheap asian fare. i’ve ordered from them quite a bit and never had a bad dish. i’ll miss having them nearby.