Cobble Hill

Nostalgic look at landmark bar sounds alarm

July 30, 2015 Special to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle
A nostalgic look at the landmark Montero Bar on Atlantic and Hicks was featured in a New York Times piece earlier this week, inadvertently sounding an alarm right in the middle of a “perfect storm of development concerns,” which is right now nearby Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park and the old LICH site just across Atlantic Avenue. Eagle photo by Rob Abruzzese
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“This could be the next South Street Seaport.”  That is the way Stuart Venner, owner of 71 Atlantic Ave., referred to the potential development happening around his building, as quoted in a recent New York Times article. Venner’s property is part of a group of seven buildings on Atlantic Avenue below Hicks Street that has agreed to sell only if they collectively get an offer of at least $56 million. The block is literally a stone’s throw from the proposed new high-rises at Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park, as well as the tower developments planned across the street on the old Long Island College Hospital (LICH) site.

What is astounding is that Venner and members of the Montero family, owners of the beloved landmark bar bearing their name at number 73, waxed eloquent to the Times about the possibilities of selling a whole block of buildings to one developer. Their dreams, brought vividly to life in the Times piece, did not mention that the entire row of buildings not only falls within the Brooklyn Heights Landmark District lines, but also within a separate zoning heights limitation of 50 feet.

Said one longtime Heights resident, “It’s as if the developers are now saying ‘the waterfront belongs to the future; the future belongs to us…’ it’s a bold new world.”

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“Everyone else on the block wants to sell, so I said OK,” Pepe Montero, owner of Montero Bar and Grill, told the Times. “Even my brother Frank said, ‘Try it, Pepe.’ So I tried it.” 

Montero has stood at 73 Atlantic Ave. since it was relocated in 1947 when the BQE was constructed. The owner inherited the bar from his parents Joseph and Pilar Montero. For years it was a favorite spot for many of Brooklyn’s longshoremen, and the Times dubbed it the “last of the longshoreman’s bars on Atlantic Avenue.”

The property is being sold by Avi Adiv of Brick Real Estate, according to the Times. Adiv told the paper that he feels like the block can fetch $56 million with all of the condominiums planned to be constructed in the area. However, he told the Times that so far only “lowball” offers have come in. 

The group has an agreement to immediately sell if it gets get a $56 million offer, but reportedly would be willing to at least consider lower offers.

Pepe’s brother Frank Montero owns one of the other properties up for sale. Their other brother, Ramon Montero, was formerly the owner of 75 Atlantic Ave., but he sold it in 2013 for $1.9 million, according to the Times. The current owners of 75 Atlantic Ave. are the only owners on the block whose building is not up for sale. 

—Additional reporting by Rob Abruzzese

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