Slowly and stealthily, the warehouse building that was once the Bond Bakery has been undergoing an extraordinary change from within, thanks to the attention of Jack Srour, son of Albert, who, by the way, is neither particularly fat OR phat. But danged if he didn't have some good timing, personally and professionally. Albert fled the start of the civil war in Lebanon nigh on 40 years ago and humbly built a humble retailing humble empire of humble goods. Jack's inherited the savvy. And as a Brooklyn resident himself, he knows precisely the enormous worth of the building his family owns. Trust me, he gets it.
If "location, location, location" means anything, the old Bond Bakery has it in spades. Park, Garden, views and a plethora of trains and buses. Planet Fitness was the first new tenant to change the vibe, but it's the recently opened Bklyn Commons that will really remake the triangle. Maybe we should call it Flempwa (Flatbush Empire Washington?) Or Fleffwemp? (Flatbush Lefferts Washington Empire? Because it's actually a rhombus). Whatever. It's clear Srour would prefer to highlight the Bond Bakery aspect of the building. Old-timers will tell you they can still remember the wafting of baking bread in the neighborhood each morning. That and perhaps the smell of smog from the ghastly air quality of NYC in the '60s and '70s?
The Brooklyn Commons is a top-notch first-rate ship-shape co-work space, with simple one-desk spaces running from $475 a month to larger multi-desk offices that look like, well, an office. You get complimentary coffee and tea, the utilities and wi-fi etc included. Air conditioning in summer (crucial) and you don't have to buy something once an hour from the barista to legitimize your hogging of table-space. You can come in hourly too and sit at communal desks, or do that by the month (around $150 unlimited). There's a sweet outdoor patio on the roof, and the design is all super-slick and up-to-date, replete with vintage photographs and graffiti. He's nearly 80% rented already, and that's why he's expanding into another big space at the Washington side of the building. Workers were doing demo and construction just today as I peeked into the cavernous room.
You can do events at the Commons too. Apparently the Brooklyn Film Festival's coming (tenants have to agree to cede the common space for nighttime shindigs when they happen.) Rentals of the big space can hit $250 an hour, with breaks for community minded stuff. Jack wondered aloud if the Community Board might be interested. Wow, now THAT would be something. I told him that probably wouldn't be such a good idea, but I'll bet there are some groups out there that would be perfectly suited to the space. Like I says, location, location, location. Interested in renting for events? Contact Johanne Brierre, who just so happened to grow up on Hawthorne III, by the by.
|Events & Community Manager Johanne Brierre & Owner Jack Srour|
And what of Phat Albert's? Well, it's safe to say that the Savvy Srours will find a more profitable use for the downstairs space. He wasn't committing, but Jack and I did talk a bit about Berg'n over at 1000 Dean, you know, Brownstoner Jonathan Butler's old Studebaker factory cum chum-hang and offices. It's clearly not lost on him what a nice combo of businesses might look like on the upper Flabenue. Imagine, tons of workers, fitness space, bar and food. And with Wendy's just around the corner to provide Frosties at most any hour, what's not to like?
Actually, speaking of sweet chilly treats, check out the pic below of the Bond Bakery and corner where the Wendy's is. Zoom in and you'll see an Ice Cream Parlor, right there where the beautiful parking lot is now.
And lastly, yes, big plans are afoot to rejigger the long-forlorn clock and tower. New windows, newfangled electronic mechanisms, and pretty soon you got yourself a great countdown clock to New Year's.
I'm telling you Jack. Fix up that clocktower and you will be, I assure you, a neighborhood hero.