High rents and puzzling delays may cause entrepreneurs looking for a Court Street storefront to settle elsewhere, though some spaces have been leased at or near their asking price.
Kevin Barry, who had finally recovered from the loss of “Grandma’s House,” his South Street Seaport restaurant that was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, was hoping to reopen at 384 Court Street, where Casa Rosa recently closed after three decades. The property has been sitting vacant since late 2013 and its 4,700 square feet seemed like a good fit, but the asking price made him recoil: $24,999 a month.
“It’s just outrageously high,” Barry said. “There’s a Chase Bank across the street. Maybe they’re hoping for something similar.”
In downtown Brooklyn, a space at 93 Court also remains vacant. The Brooklyn Eagle detailed the saga of the property and its apparent incoming tenant, Boneheads restaurant, as far back as June 2013. But no tenant ever moved in, and not much has changed.
In response to an updated inquiry, building owner John Vendikos made vague reference to Boneheads being “over-financed,” then quickly directed all further questions to an e-mail address for his son, where no response was ever received. James Sozomenu, Co-Northeast Area Developer for Boneheads store sites, directed inquiries to a personal e-mail address, but then did not respond. A phone message and e-mail to company publicist Kelly Ronna also went unanswered.
Despite the continued lack of occupancy, new signs for leasing firm CPEX Real Estate Services have appeared on on the property. A spokeswoman for the company advised that the available space–with 2,200 square feet on the first floor and 1,400 square feet on the second–was available for $35,000 per month.
Just two buildings over, the corner property at 97 Court Street was asking for $25,000 per month for its nearly 3,000 square foot space. The property was recently leased (at an undisclosed price) to Paris Baguette Bakery Cafe, according to Hymie Dweck of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, which handled the lease on behalf of owner AM 97, LLC.
The good news for Mr. Barry is that he did eventually settle on a location–just not on Court Street.
“I’m in talks with the owner of 374 Atlantic,” Barry said. “We’re moving forward, and I’m hopeful we can sign a lease and recreate the restaurant there soon.”
Brooklyn Brief has reached out to RKF, an independent firm leasing 384 Court Street on behalf of owner Sterling Equities, and can update this story if they respond.