Vacant Storefronts on Vanderbilt Avenue


PROSPECT HEIGHTS – Strolling along Vanderbilt Avenue between Atlantic Avenue and Grand Army Plaza, it’s difficult not to notice the many empty, papered-up storefronts dotting the commercial corridor.

Here are some we spotted on a recent walk along the eight-block stretch. Let us know if we missed any and what you’d like to see open up on the avenue.

568 Vanderbilt Avenue (Photo: Pamela Wong/BKLYNER)

568 Vanderbilt Avenue (between Dean & Bergen Streets)

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Back in November 2014, an application was filed to convert this former medical store into a restaurant, according to the NYC DOB website. In August 2015, an application was filed with the DOB to install cooking equipment in the first-floor space as well as an a/c unit on the roof.

As of October of last year, it seems the property changed hands, with a new engineer “supersed[ing] and assume[ing] full responsibility as applicant” and “submitting new plans” for the space. According to StreetEasy, the four-story property was built in 1930 and includes four rental apartments on the upper levels.

599 Vanderbilt Avenue (Photo: Pamela Wong/BKLYNER)

599 Vanderbilt Avenue (between Dean & Bergen Streets)
Across the street at 599 Vanderbilt, a residential project with a ground-floor commercial space is scheduled to be completed this summer. The property formerly housed Los Viejos Amigos Restaurant.

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601 Vanderbilt Avenue (at Bergen Street)
Right next door,  the “new Korean” restaurant and bar, White Tiger had to close temporarily due to an electrical fire in the building which resulted in the property’s power, gas, and water being shut off.

Closed since mid-January, the restaurant promises, “We are working on resuming business as soon as possible!” About a month ago, according to the eatery’s Facebook page, they were awaiting building permits so they could begin repairs on the fire and water damage. Hopefully White Tiger will be back soon.

576 Vanderbilt Avenue/638 Bergen Street (Photo: Pamela Wong/BKLYNER)

576 Vanderbilt Avenue (at Bergen Street)
This four-story landmarked building, also known as 638 Bergen Street, has a commercial space on the ground floor and four residential units above, according to Curbed. The building was purchased in 2015 for $2.9M by an LLC and OPerA Studio Architecture was enlisted to restore the property as well as design a new penthouse addition on the rooftop.

While the Curbed article from March 2017 notes that the rental apartments would come on the market early this year, the netting and scaffolding around the building seem to indicate that might be delayed.

The 1,500-square-foot ground-floor commercial space was formerly the home of longtime restaurant Beast before becoming the “dessert speakeasy” Spirited in September 2014. Spirited lasted a mere six months before closing in April 2015.

607A Vanderbilt Avenue (Photo: Pamela Wong/BKLYNER)
Nicko’s Unisex Salon, 607A Vanderbilt Avenue via Google Maps

607A Vanderbilt Avenue (between Bergen St. & St. Marks Ave)
The DOB Work Permit notice (issued March 2016 and expired on February 2017) on the paper-covered side of this storefront indicates that Nicko’s Unisex Salon is expanding. The notice reads, “Conversion of existing barbershop and studio to one commercial space.” The work includes interior renovations, minor plumbing, and a new rear door and porch.

612 Vanderbilt Avenue (Photo: Pamela Wong/BKLYNER)

612 Vanderbilt Avenue (between St. Marks Ave. & Prospect Place)
Formerly Fish Fish Mo Fish, a seafood eatery and “sports lounge” that initially planned to debut in December 2011 but was delayed until August 2015, closed after only a few months in business. According to a comment on Brooklynian last summer, a vegetarian restaurant was expected to take over the vacant storefront.

631 Vanderbilt Avenue (Photo: Pamela Wong/BKLYNER)

631 Vanderbilt Avenue (between St. Marks Ave. & Prospect Place)
This single-story 1,750-square-foot retail space has been keeping neighbors curious for years now, with locals questioning on Brooklynian back in 2015 what’s planned for the brick structure located next to Soda Bar.

According to that discussion, back in 2015 it served as the sales office for 280 St. Marks Avenue, a 32-unit condo built just around the corner. In July 2017, DOB approved a permit to remove the interior partitions, doors, millwork, and furniture from the existing commercial/showroom space.

622 Vanderbilt Avenue (Photo: Pamela Wong/BKLYNER)

622 Vanderbilt Avenue (at Prospect Place)
Formerly the home of Asase Hair Salon which opened in the 1980s, this 1,000-square-foot corner space is currently available for rent.

626 Vanderbilt Avenue (Photo: Pamela Wong/BKLYNER)

626 Vanderbilt Avenue (between Prospect & Park Places)
After nine years on Vanderbilt, the sports bar Plan B shuttered in April 2017. According to Eater, the owners of the highly-acclaimed seasonal restaurant, Olmsted, located across the street at 659 Vanderbilt, will take over the space with a 75-seat French bistro. No word on an opening date yet.

663 Vanderbilt Avenue (Photo: Pamela Wong/BKLYNER)

663 Vanderbilt Avenue (between Prospect & Park Places)
Across the street, the small storefront where A Shoe Grows in Brooklyn moved to after leaving 7th Ave in Park Slope now has a “Retail For Lease” banner hanging above the awning. The space directly to its left at 661 Vanderbilt, that used to house Claudine’s VIP French Cleaners, also recently covered up its windows with brown paper. A restaurant is reportedly planned for the former dry cleaning shop.

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  1. Would be interesting to read, from a landlord’s perspective, what the calculations are in leaving storefronts vacant instead of cutting the rent.

  2. Some additional info:

    Last year, a wine bar and restaurant was approved by CB8 for a liquor license at 576 Vanderbilt. Unfortunately, it was discovered that the new owners had demolished the antique bar as bar of their renovation.

    Nikko’s at 607 is not expanding. The papered-over storefront next door is its previous location before it relocated next door two years ago.

    My understanding is that 631 will be the site of the sales office for 856 Washington Avenue (the former Green Point Savings Bank).

  3. timely article. i’ve also noticed how many long term shuttered store fronts there are on vanderbilt. i assume landlords were waiting for the condo buildings to be completed in order to fetch max rents. now that 2 buildings are complete and the rest are on hold indefinitely, will they continue to wait?

    im convinced the owners of 568 vanderbilt are using it just to live there or as a private hangout spot. i see people going in and out of there very casually all the time and at all hours of the day.

    the owner of spirited at 576 vanderbilt was kicked out of her spot very unceremoniously by the landlord so that he could renovate the whole building, and then proceded to let the building languish into disrepair for 2 years.

    the spot on 575 vanderbilt is missing from this list, it’s a former funeral home that was renovated a year or two ago.

  4. I heard a rumor that Olmsted was expanding into the former Claudine’s.

    Mermaids Garden seems to be doing well. (And I love it.) the nearest good place to buy meat is Fleischers, which is always packed and a bit of a walk. I’d love to see a butcher.

  5. Olmstead’s expansion into the former dry cleaner is not a rumor. They just got approval from CB8 for an alteration on their liquor license for the additional space. My understanding is that they’ll use the interior area for private events and other non-dining purposes.

    The vacancy tax idea is a good one, but it will go nowhere as long as our city government remains captured by the real estate industry.


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