Cobble Hill

Upward rents for Court St. lead to businesses moving elsewhere

October 29, 2014 By Matthew Taub Special to Brooklyn Daily Eagle from Brooklyn Brief
Casa Rosa closed its doors after 34 years. The landlord is purportedly asking for $24,999 per month from prospective new tenants. Photo by Matthew Taub

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.

Take Kevin Barry, who had finally recovered from the loss of Grandma’s House, his South Street Seaport restaurant that was destroyed by Superstorm Sandy. Barry was hoping to reopen at 384 Court St., 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 $24,999 per month asking price made him recoil.

“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 his son’s email address, where no response was ever received. James Sozomenu, Co-Northeast Area Developer for Boneheads store sites, directed inquiries to a personal email address, but then did not respond. A phone message and email 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 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.

But just two buildings over, the corner property at 97 Court St. 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 Barry is that he did eventually settle on a location — just not on Court Street.

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“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.”

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