If you've walked down the south side of Flatbush Avenue between Sterling Place and Eighth Avenue within the past couple years, you've probably come away slightly depressed. This once-thriving stretch has turned into a no-man's land since Blockbuster Video, the block's dominant business, closed down, and as for the coral-colored dialysis center... well, the less said about that, the better.
All that is about to change, though. I had a lengthy chat with landlord Michael Pintchik earlier this morning, and he confirmed that big, imminent changes to the block are in store. "We're turning it from worst into first," Michael told me. "We're making it dramatically more walkable and interesting."
Pintchik is one of the best-known last names in the neighborhood due to the stalwart Pintchik Hardware on Bergen and Flatbush, and Michael is responsible for transforming Bergen Street between Fifth and Flatbush into the bustling, thriving Main Street it's become, home to Bark Hot Dogs, Bergen Street Comics, and many other great places to shop.
According to Pintchik, all of the storefronts pictured above, (the four that once housed Blockbuster, and the dialysis center) will be completely overhauled. The northernmost one (with the plywood above) will soon be home to a Weight Watchers, and a restaurant will be coming to the storefront under the marquis.
As for that restaurant, Michael was coy about exactly who the tenant will be, but it was clear that he was very excited about it. "It's going to be a great restaurant," he said. "Something everyone's familiar with, and that everyone will love." Not sure if that implies a chain or Mario Batali, but we certainly have good reason to be intrigued.
The coral-colored dialysis center at 342 Flatbush will undergo the most extensive overhaul. The entire facade will be stripped away and replaced, new tenants will be brought in, and additional stories will be added into the existing structure, which stretches all the way to the other side of the block. "We're turning it from something mundane into something great," said Michael. Here's hoping it returns to its 1914 look.
"We have a responsibility to do the right thing with this block," he added. "It has potential to seed the whole area, like what happened with Bergen Street. Some people don't like change, and want to keep the status quo, but all the changes will be contextual. We can contribute to making Flatbush Avenue walkable again."