Sentimentality and tradition have won out in a big way at the Downtown Brooklyn site of Junior's Most Fabulous Cheesecake and Desserts. The restaurant's owner, Alan Rosen, has divulged to the Times that after a summer's-worth of mulling, he has decided not to sell the valuable property at the corner of Flatbush Avenue Extension and Dekalb Avenue. The reason? Rosen told the Times of the building the restaurant has occupied since 1950, "This is Junior's identity, is this building. This is the one where I came on my first dates. It's where my family spent most of their waking hours ... Not the one down the street, not the one below 20 stories of condos. This one."
Rosen put the two-story building on the market in February and attracted some interested parties with deep pockets like Joseph Chetrit of the Chetrit Group and Michael Stern of JDS Development Group. The highest sum Rosen was offered was $450 per buildable square foot, or $45 million in cash. The unnamed developer would not accommodate Rosen's stipulation that Junior's must be brought back to any new building's ground floor. Other, lesser offers Rosen received of the $22.5 million variety would allow the restaurant back in.
The site is backed by the development rights for a 20-story building, which itself is not all that notable in the in-flux neighborhood. But in April, the neighboring landmarked JP Morgan Chase announced it was interested in selling its air rights, which if acquired would allow a 50-story building on the Junior's site. In June, the Times reported that if the winning developer collected all of the development rights on the whole triangular blockas it may appear Chetrit was aiming to do with their late 2013 buy of Junior's neighbor at 340 Flatbush Avenue Ext.a 1,000-foot skyscraper could be built. Now that's notable. But lo, Junior's has put the speculation over a new supertall tower on their lot to rest, all for the love of cheesecake.
· Legendary Restaurant Is to Stay in Brooklyn [NYT]
· 1,000-Foot Tower Could Rise on Junior's Site in DoBro [Curbed]
· All Junior's coverage [Curbed]