Goodbye, Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable? Also 192 Montague, AKA 200 Montague, to be Razed for Residential?

For some years now my wife and I have patronized Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable, at 181 Atlantic Avenue, a few doors west of Sahadi’s, for fresh produce at reasonable prices. It appears this may be coming to an end soon. According to Brooklyn Community Board 2, the agenda for its Land Use Committee meeting to be held at 6:00 PM tomorrow, Wednesday, February 20 at NYU Tandon School of Engineering, Dibner Building, Room LC400, 5 Metrotech Center (on the north side of the Metrotech Commons) includes this item:

181 Atlantic Avenue — Brooklyn Heights Historic District — Application is to demolish the existing, one-story, commercial building and construct a new, four-story, apartment building with ground floor retail using concrete masonry unit construction and four-inch face brick, a pre-cast metal cornice, cast stone lintels and at the ground floor, aluminum and glass with custom columns, corbels and cornice.

IMG_1133We earlier noted that a demolition permit had been filed for the four story commercial building at 192 Montague Street (photo above), sometimes known as 200 Montague, but that no plans had been filed for its replacement. Now on the Land Use Committee’s agenda for tomorrow is the following:

200 Montague Street — Borough Hall Skyscraper Historic District — Application is to demolish an existing, four-story, “Altered Modern” commercial building and construct a new, 20-story residential building with ground floor retail.

Whatever action is taken by the Land Use Committee tomorrow, these applications will be further considered by the Executive Committee at its meeting to be held at 6:00 pm, Monday, February 25, 2019 at the CB2 District Office, 350 Jay Street, 8th Floor (across from Metrotech).

Photos: Claude Scales for BHB

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  • Jorale-man

    Oh, no. That’s the only good place in the South Heights to get fresh produce. And the employees there are really nice. I can’t even imagine the neighborhood without it. What is going on with Atlantic Avenue all of the sudden??

  • A Neighbor

    Yes, awful!

  • gwc

    We keep losing those places that make our neighborhood an appealing place to live. Losing the Promenade may be the tipping point for some of us.

  • Jorale-man

    So true. That’s what happened to the Upper West Side – real estate costs went up and many of the mom and pop businesses were replaced with banks and drugstores. Losing the Promenade would be far worse. A six-lane expressway there would turn the area into a semi-ghetto.

  • A Neighbor

    There are a few empty storefronts on Atlantic. Maybe Atlantic F&V will relocate.

    Does anyone know what rents are like there these days? Based on the vacancies and some of the stores that have moved in in the last few years, I’m thinking our end of Atlantic is not considered prime real estate. Here’s hoping..

  • BrooklynHeightzer

    Call it natural selection – urban evolution.

  • Claude Scales

    The point of Darwinian natural selection is that species evolve by adapting to new opportunities in their environment. The businesses that are being killed are well adapted to theirs, but the landowners’ greed is causing them to be replaced by others that, in the short run, may generate more cash. I say “in the short run” because I think the neighborhood’s ability to support fast food chains, cell phone stores, bank branches, and nail salons is limited. This implies that many retail spaces are likely to remain vacant for long stretches of time; something we see happening here now.

  • Banet

    I happen to know what the rent is for the children’s haircut place across the street and half a block down, pinkies place. I imagine the fruitstand would have no problem affording the rent. Especially with the constant stream of traffic I see in and out of that place every day. There’s never not at least one or two people in line at the register.

  • BrooklynHeightzer

    Wrong! Amazon, Trader Joe’s and others are better adapted (all started from a garage, small shop, etc.) and will survive – for now…

  • Jorale-man

    What it has now is a good location on a food shopping-dominated block. A Heights resident can walk to TJ’s or Sahadi’s, then stop there on the way back. Or pair that with a visit to Key Food. I wonder if the convenience factor would remain if, say, it took over the old Chip Shop space…

  • Banet

    100% true. I frequently hit Trader Joe’s, Sahadis, and the produce stand in one trip with an occasional stop at Key Food for the odd item. I’d likely go anywhere between Hicks and Court onneither side but the further towards Hicks it goes the less likely I am to go.

  • Claude Scales

    AF&V has done well, at least by my estimation, based on the number of customers there at any given time, despite being less than a block from Trader Joe’s. They offer better produce, at comparable or lower prices, and without having checkout lines the length of a football field.

    Is it your argument that, to survive, a business must grow to monstrous size? Your final “for now” implies an unpleasant world of constant churn.

  • Arch Stanton

    I find the produce at Trader Joes to be pretty much garbage, at least by my standards. Atlantic F&V is vastly superior, it will be a real loss if they close.

  • BrooklynHeightzer

    Economy of scales achieved by large corps is hard to overcome and compete with; the only serious competition could be offered by the disruptors – Amazon is a good example. However, a small niche business like a fruit stand should do fine if managed well, having minimal CAPEX and employing low wage labor.

  • Nomcebo Manzini

    Interesting thoughts from all – yes, I, too, have long patronized AF&V – but no one mentions the BIG picture. When a “serious” residential building replaces something like what’s there now – whether or not it’s called or is “gentrification,” a barber shop or a mom & pop store IS toast. That’s just the way it is…. The likes of Trader Joe’s needs a very different “property”/footprint. It IS hard to believe that banks & chain drug stores can keep defying internet “gravity” – I don’t get it, but they apparently haven’t even “maxed out” yet. Consider 2 pathetic Chase branches on Court Street about a block from one another.

    It’d be a HIKE and a half, but maybe that new grocery store in the Navy Yard will shake things up. Could they have good prices AND good produce? We shall see.

  • A Neighbor

    Good news, guys!

    The building is reportedly owned by AF&V, the owner is the developer – and the plan is to have the store in it’s rightful place on the ground floor of the new building.

  • Arch Stanton

    Hopefully, they won’t be lured by greed to simply rent the space out and make as much or more income without having to run the store.

  • TeddyNYC

    I hope they mean it because neither Trader Joe’s or Key Food are good alternatives when it comes to quality. It would be a noticeable degradation of the quality of life in this area.

  • Reggie

    For the record, I won my bet with Cranberry Beret (see earlier post). 200 Montague is going to be demolished and an entirely new building constructed in its place.

  • MaggieO

    hope this happens! i used to go to AF&V quite a bit but it’s impossible to shop there with a stroller so my visits have been limited lately. i do love the value and quality there though – especially the ability to fill your own amount of mixed greens, etc, since the pre-boxed ones are always over filled and rot before i can use them…

  • Arch Stanton

    What did you win?

  • Andrew Porter

    How many hundreds of brick-and-mortar stores, how many thousands of people have Amazon closed down and put out of work?

    If you tear down a forest to build a housing development, is that progress or improvement?

  • Robert Perris

    The architect stated that a produce stand would occupy the new storefront.

  • Reggie

    The offer was to take me out for drinks in the Heights but that’s not necessary.

  • StudioBrooklyn

    I accept the drink on your behalf!

  • BrooklynHeightzer

    Amazon did put out of business a l lot of b&m stores and mom&pop shops, yet, among many other things, they employ thousands of workers (and were about to employ thousands more in NYC…), keep inflation at bay, save you (and most of the BHB readers) time and money. You can’t hold such simplistic, one-sided view of the matter, there are always cons and pros and various nuances to most situations.

  • Arch Stanton


  • Teresa

    AF&V and the farmers’ market are the only places I buy produce. I’m already weeping at the prospect of losing this place. Please say it ain’t so…

  • BrooklynHeightzer

    Do they sell organic produce?

  • Banet

    Not really. Every now and again some of the berries are organic but that’s about it. I keep asking for more.