The Results Are In: BHA’s Future of Montague Street Survey

The Brooklyn Heights Association recently called for community input on the future of Montague Street, and the survey results are in. BHA promises to use the 1,381 responses “to support the creation of a vibrant and successful Montague Street,” while working with community members, local real estate brokers, and the Montague Street Business Improvement District.

Some highlights from the survey:

1.  Survey respondents want a different retail mix on Montague. Specifically, 80% asked for a bookstore, followed closely by new restaurants and/or cafes. Many would also like to see new types of fresh food establishments, like a butcher, a fishmonger, and a bakery.

2.  Most survey respondents (over 60%) want a greater prioritization of pedestrians/bikes on Montague Street, with more outdoor dining, shopping and seating, along with music and events to bring a more “neighborhood feel” to the street.

3.  Many respondents noted that they currently go elsewhere (DUMBO, Cobble Hill, etc.) to shop and dine. This “retail leakage” could be addressed by bringing more unique and desirable options to Montague Street.

See the complete survey results here.

What’s your wishlist for zhuzhing up Montague Street? Comment below!



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  • AEB

    Interesting, but I’d be surprised if the survey results were in any way implemented. Landlords are landlords–they want money–and “specialty” shopping requires commercial tenants with less than deep pockets. Add to this the devastation caused by COVID, which is bound to be long-lasting, and, well….

    Oh! Happy Wednesday!

  • Jorale-man

    Yes, a bookstore would be great but it’s possibly one of the least financially viable options in a high-rent district like Montague (hey, I’d love to see an old-school record store too). I think some more ambitious restaurants or some specialty food store, on the other hand, could make a go of it and attract local residents.

    Some of the other items in the survey like more historically appropriate signage and storage containers for trash bags seem like viable options that the BHA might be able to address.

  • Tom

    If you want “European-style pedestrian plaza” then move to Europe. Leave it alone, lower the rent, give small business a chance. Let it remain “Brooklyn”

  • TeddyNYC

    It sounds like a lot of the survey respondents want Montague St. to go back to the 80’s. Personally, I miss the donuts at Sinclair’s. I probably wouldn’t eat them now as an adult who tries to eat healthy, but back then I was a kid who liked my sweets.

  • StudioBrooklyn

    I advocated on the survey for a maker space: a nonprofit where you could go in and tinker with electronics, borrow tools, with one or two experts (maybe retirees) on hand to advise. No chance of viability??

  • Angela De Marco

    I love this response.

  • Nomcebo Manzini

    I think this all boils down to questions like “Will 2022, locally, look anything like 2019?” Through most of 2020, I would have thought that impossible, and I still have my doubts.

    To the extent that 2-4 years from how, all we remember is how horrible it was – but mostly are just a little older but not behaving very differently, I guess we’ll go back to whatever is then viable re dining – with next to no “pretensions.” But imagine if EAH (eating at home) stays much more common than pre-Covid. Add the lumps that the Gap and everybody “below them” have taken, making these “dream tenants” VERY unlikely to come back, and Montague WILL need to reinvent itself. My survey thoughts included turning lots of seemingly marginal retail space residential. If Chase was smart – I’m assuming they were – to put a couple of floor throughs atop their branch, why couldn’t a dozen smaller buildings do the same? Wouldn’t a street-level duplex with some outdoor space behind fetch $2-5MM?

    The part of the article that talks about “leakage” – making Dumbo & Cobble Hill & Atlantic Ave. more likely places to spend than Montague is game, set, match. Never say “Never,” but the couple of new leases – a dental practice, a place that will sell cheap jewelry – on Montague sure don’t signal “back-to-normal” foot traffic. Opticians, banks, hair salons? The survey meant well, but individual property owners are surely thinking that this is like “musical chairs” with very few chairs (viable tenants) circulating.

    I’d love to know what rents are – and “asking prices!” Book Court owned its space; not sure what the deal is re “Books are Magic,” but I’ll guess that the $/p.s.f. for the old Conn. Muffin was at least double that at which it makes sense to move here or do a start-up – especially now that spending habits have changed so dramatically.

  • ColumbiaHeightster

    Agree entirely with your sentiment, but “lower the rent” is a lot easier said than done, particularly when landlord’s have been among the hardest hit (financially) by COVID.

  • Joe

    These results are nuts. If we’re lucky we’ll get a Pret, a Madewell, and a California Pizza Company. And we’d be LUCKY to get them! The rent is too damn high for Ye Olde Unique Handcrafted Books and Sofa Pillows.

  • StudioBrooklyn

    Landlords have been hit because their tenants were either laid off or had to risk their lives (and others’ lives) to pay the rent.

    I’m sympathetic to landlords’ financial woes but shouldn’t they be advocating for relief from their creditors? Why take it out on tenants, who are having the same problem?

  • ColumbiaHeightster

    Having tenants who can’t pay rent because of a global pandemic is not a foreseeable risk of property ownership. I’m not saying that rent relief for tenants isn’t appropriate. I’m all in for that. I’m saying that telling landlords to swallow the bitter pill of lowering rent isn’t a realistic solution.

  • StudioBrooklyn

    Why not? Do landlords have no advocating power to appeal for, say, a mortgage freeze? (I edited my previous comment by the way.)

    And by that same token, not being able to pay the rent because of a global pandemic is also not a foreseeable risk of signing a lease.

  • Cranberry Beret

    I think the pandemic is a complicating factor to a solution, but it’s certainly not the problem. The rent issue on Montague has been decades in the making. The pandemic just exposed how unsustainable the situation had become.