Hawthorne Street Row of houses

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K-Dog's final hour?

A few weeks ago, rumors started flying that K-Dog's landlord had jacked their rent and that the cafe was headed to close. I've been largely in denial about the matter -- how can K-Dog close?!? -- but am sadded to report that the situation indeed looks bad. We received this note from Gabrielle, co-owner of K-Dog and Dunebuggy, yesterday:

So, by now you’ve heard the rumors, well I’m sorry to say that they’re true. After a year of unsuccessful negotiations with our landlord and five and a half years of serving (and loving) this wonderful community we have decided to close our doors for good.  Saturday, September 24th will be our last day. There is still hope, however, of an 11th hour reprieve. Billy, one of our oldest employees, neighborhood denizen and all around savvy guy, is interested in taking over and is trying to negotiate a new lease... People keep asking me what they can do to help and this is it, we need to hear from you guys. I’ve created an email account [email protected]  please, in the next few days, send an email , that we will print and give to the landlord in aid of negotiations, explaining why PLG needs its coffee shop.

We'd love to see someone who gives a squat about the neighborhood inherit the spot but he odds are definitely stacked against them. According to a souce close to the matter, the landlord has already reserved K-Dog's spot for La Bagel Delight.

Still, we'd urge you to write letters on K-Dog's behalf. The same landlord also owns the space rented by Enduro, and we'd hate to see these exploitative rent increases -- in a neighborhood starved for eateries -- become the trend.

CORRECTION: The "Billy" mentioned above has no connection to The Blue Roost.

Comments

Michele

Thanks so much for posting this, I am drafting an email right now. I rather a mom and pop place like KDOG than a Le Bagel Delight!

babs

I know the owner of this building personally and know exactly how much the amount of the rent increase is, and would hardly qualify it as "exploitative." Do you know the $ amount in question, or the circumstances surrounding all the tenants in this building (which include Lincoln Park Tavern (same owners as Enduro) and Papa & Sons) or all that the landlord has done for all of them, financially and otherwise, over the years? If you did I'm sure you wouldn't use such inflammatory language. To quote the part of Gabby's e-mail that you did not reprint, "I’m tired and for my family and my health and sanity I need to move on." There are two sides to every story, and this owner does not believe in airing one's dirty laundry in public. And BTW the Billy in question is not Billy Clark from The Blue Roost, but is the Billy who has worked at K-Dog's for years.

carrie

Corrected the note about Billy. My bad.

Freelee

As Gabrielle herself explained it to me, there is not only a rent increase but an increase in the share of real estate taxes she would pay - a different percentage from her original lease, and in Gabriele's opinion, disproportionate to the amount of space her store occupies in the building.
Le Bagel Delight is more of a deli and not at all known for coffee or barista style espresso drinks. I would guess that the offerings there, should they take over the space, would become more about food service than a neighborhood cafe.

Neighbor

Is that tip about "La Bagel Delight" verified? Everyone is talking about it now, based on this posting, as if it were definitely happening. Has a deal been reached? a contract signed? or is it just that one of the parties would like it to happen? It would be sad to see K-Dog go, but at least with La Bagel Delight we would know what to expect: good bagels, fast service, and not another fugly Metro PCS or whatever. I do hope they keep the community vibe of our dearest K-Dog though.

papo

im all for change ...bagel delight would be great ...

Stephen

Would anybody be interested in putting together a little demonstration?

I think we need to send the message, IN PERSON, that our communities will not be held hostage by greedy property owners. We have a say in what happens in our neighborhood, and we love our K-Dog. .......besides, they have the best cup of coffee in the city.

Bob Marvin

Time was when I'd have been very happy about a Bagel Delight opening, but they wouldn't be an adequate substitute for K-Dog by any means. I don't think I could bring myself to patronize them at that location.

Jeanne

I would be very sorry to see K-Dog go and it would be cool if an employee could take ownership of it, but our household would absolutely patronize Le Bagel Delight if they did take the spot. We need a place SO badly to grab some decent to-go food and get it quickly. Quickly being a key factor whether you're a commuter like my husband or a mom like me trying to keep a toddler from tearing apart the joint. I was excited about the wrap and salad place that put the banner up at Midwood and Flatbush claiming they were "Coming Soon" but they seem to be Coming Never. No activity there at all.

babs

Again, K-Dog closing is NOT about a "greedy landlord;" even Gabrielle has stated to me that she thought the rent increase asked by the owner was "justified." She was objecting to another proposed change to the lease, to bring it more into line with standard commercial lease terms (vs. a residential lease). So save your demonstrations for a landlord that could really use one, Stephen, like the owner of the Mike's International space, who has allowed that space to sit vacant and an eyesore for over TWO YEARS while turning down legitimate business offers because they are asking an exorbitant rent and want, preferably, a "national chain," like a phone store or Starbucks. Or how about joining the PLG Safety Task Force to work to reduce the senseless violence in our neighborhood - a cause that is even more important than coffee.

babs

I'm with you on the need for a Bagel Delight-like place in the neighborhood Jeanne - but there may be hope for Cafe Pomidor - I saw some workers in there the other day. My fear, however, is that this is another undercapitalized venture without a sound business plan and the money to put it into action. And that is the major problem with most of the retail on Flatbush - the landlords will rent to anyone with enough cash to pay a few months of overpriced rent upfront, with no regard to how they will actually create a profit-making enterprise after that. Result: they go bust in a few months (or never even open at all, as we've also seen in a few cases). As opposed to the owner of K-Dog's space, who is looking for an experienced entrepreneur, preferably from the community, with a sound business plan and capital base, backed up by all appropriate paperwork, including a financial statement, bank snd investment statements, and two years of projections. And the rent (even with the proposed increase) is lower per square foot than what the slumlords on Flatbush are asking (and getting for those few months). How hard is that to find?

Neighbor

I've got to agree that the idea of demonstrating is a bit over the top, as is the blaming of the landlord for "exploitative" practices. This is a business decision and is totally their right as an owner to profit from their investment in our neighborhood. There are plenty of crappy landlords in our neighborhood who are doing things that are morally wrong and/or seriously damaging to people and community. There is nothing morally wrong with letting one Brooklyn-based bagel joint that is willing to pay more for a property have access to it over another that is not willing to pay as much. K-Dog has been a great community-supporting business, and I hope that, in the end, the economics of their business justifies staying. But if not, I hope we'll all embrace La Bagel (if that rumor is true) and convince them to be as good a neighbor as they can be to PLG.

Adam

I will miss K-Dog dearly if, as it appears, it closes. Probably my wife and I won't go to Bagel Delight on a regular basis, because there is a place much closer to us that serves their bagels.

FWIW, I think that the part about Gabrielle's health and state of mind being the central factor in her deciding to close was taken out of context. I think the point was that because of her health and state of mind, she did not feel like making the effort that would be required to meet the new terms of the lease, which, she told me in person, includes a significant increase in the property taxes, the latter being well out of line with standard practices and well out of range of what K-Dog could afford.

It is hard for me to understand why some solution couldn't have been worked out that was amenable to both parties. Sure, a property owner is permitted and most people expect him or her to try to make as much money as possible. Nonetheless, I think that more can be expected as well.

babs

Standard commercial leases are "triple net," meaning that the TENANT is responsible for paying for water & sewer, insurance, and real estate taxes. This has not been the case here, and these steadily-increasing costs have become a financial burden. Attempting to begin to bring the lease into normal standards is not wrong, and believe me, the owner could make a lot more money by renting the space out to a chain of some sort, but she doesn't want that for this neighborhood either.

crownlfc

I'm with Babs on this one. No one will ask a Lefferts Manor Homeowner to sell their house under-market so a teacher or a policeman can afford to live there, yet for some reason K-Dog's LL is "greedy" for allegedly asking an established business to pay market rent?

I love and will miss K-Dog and I'm NOT looking forward to bagel delight - based on their sterile and generic 7th Ave location. However, it is somewhat similar and I'm sure they will fulfill the morning coffee crowd with ruthless efficiency.

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