Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Someone should open up at 738 Franklin

In keeping with the local chatter about Franklin Avenue's continuing development, I have a question--why hasn't anyone snapped up the space at 738 Franklin (pictured above, on the southwest corner of Franklin and Sterling)? It's a great location--right across from Bristen's and the Franklin Flea, three blocks from the 2-3-4-5 stop and very much a part of the little corridor of development that includes both coffee houses, Nairobi's Knapsack, About Time, Bristen's, Lily & Fig, and Franklin Park. From the outside, the place appears to have three large windows, and there's ample space on the Sterling side for a patio if a restaurant were to open up.

I had a chat about this and other local development with one of the guys from MySpaceNYC at the Franklin Park reading series last month. Having been in the area for six years, he's excited about the current bounce in dining and retail, and cited Jim Mamary's (of Smith Street Restaurant Empire fame) comment in a NYTimes profile in 2008 that "Crown Heights looks pretty interesting,." Mr. Mamary re-iterated this sentiment last month at Brooklyn's Real Estate Roundtable, also mentioning Greenpoint as a future gastro-destination. Having already drawn Matt Roff's attention from Park Slope and Williamsburg, it doesn't seem so far-fetched that someone like Mamary or his partner Harding might think about opening a spot nearby. Our local realtor also made the point that Franklin has everything a real estate agent looks for in a potential boom-zone: a narrow, one-way thoroughfare with wide sidewalks that doesn't attract too much traffic and is pedestrian friendly (this logic helps answer the question posed about Washington Avenue by a Brooklynian poster), ample transit access, and lots of storefronts waiting to be renovated.

A few weeks ago, a post asking for a "real restaurant" on Franklin drew plenty of comments on Brooklynian and raised some general questions about the direction residents want to see the neighborhood moving. If a restaurant is what people seek, 738 seems like a perfect location, but I'm curious if that's the number-one thing locals want on Franklin. Thinking about it raises two more questions: The storefront has been shuttered since I moved here--does anyone know what used to be there? If it was to be renovated, what would you most like to see move in?


  1. 1. sit-down restaurant

    2. a specific shop like bikes or books (a comic book/graphic novel shop would be awesome)

    3. a nice bar with a space for live music - I love Franklin Park, but sometimes i want a band not a DJ

    4. A clothing store -- there is really only 1 on Franklin Avenue

  2. The last thing we need is a Jim Mammery-owned restaurant. Believe me. Low quality food from a low-quality person that would rather shutter than take the time to actually become a neighborhood fixture.

  3. Tony Fisher tells me that this space was bricked up when he and his family arrived in the early 1980s, and that it hasn't had a commercial tenant since then. I wonder what it looks like inside--perhaps it's in terrible shape.