We noticed yesterday that another storefront on Broadway is looking for a restaurant tenant and got nervous that it meant the Williamsburg Art & Historical Center, which owns the building and which has always impressed us with its quiet mustiness, was leaving.
“Idea for Restaurant or Gallery,” a sign in the window reads. (We think they mean “ideal.”)
So are they leaving? No, says Yuko Nii, director of the Center; though she is looking for a restaurant tenant for the ground floor of the old Kings County Savings Bank building at Broadway and Bedford Streets; Nii owns the building, and the Center has its headquarters there.
“We are in the midst of finding the right tenant,” Nii told The Real Estate when reached by phone at the Center.
She said that having a restaurant tenant in the ground floor of the building would help fund the ongoing maintenance of the building, which needs some work–including installing fire escapes in the second and third floors so that the Center’s exhibition and office space can be moved up there. Money would also help to secure the future of the Center’s programs. The building, built in 1860, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The building is one of the several giant and beautiful 19th-century bank buildings on the Broadway strip near the Peter Luger steakhouse. The trendy and still beautifully desolate stretch has perked up in recent years though, with the opening of the restaurants Diner and Marlow & Sons and a Brooklyn Industries storefront,; luxury condos in the Smith-Gray Building and the Gretsch Building are also bringing greater demand for luxury goods and restaurants to the once-industrial stretch, which is otherwise lined with inexpensive lofts populated mostly by neighborhood artists who have been around forever.
The Center should do well off the space–Elliman broker Gary Dana is listing the 3,500-square-foot space for $17,500 a month.
Ms. Nii said that Italian and continental restaurants had looked at the space.
For more pictures of the building, click here.
– Tom McGeveran