Following months of rumors, it turns out President Obama approved cheesecake spot Junior's Restaurant won't be leaving its Downtown Brooklyn home after all. Despite some lofty offers on the building, third-generation Junior's owner Alan Rosen has told the Times that he isn't interested in selling after all. A Brooklyn landlord resisting the urge to cash in? This has got to be the most Brooklyn-hipster non-conformist move in history. Well played, alt landlord.
There was substantial interest in the two-story building, which has been home to the cheesecake-and-burgers restaurant since 1950. In fact, one offer of $450 per buildable square foot set a new record for Brooklyn real estate at $45 million in cash. Fortunately for cheesecake lovers, that offer did not include reinstating Junior's on the ground floor, a stipulation that was important to Rosen. "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," Rosen explained to the Times. "Not the one down the street, not the one below 20 stories of condos. This one."
Though Rosen denies having turned down the bids as his way of making a stand against the whitewashing of Brooklyn neighborhoods, he does acknowledge Junior's specialness amidst the "thicket of glassy spires that has risen over the past decade," as the paper puts it. "I'm not just running a restaurant," he explains. "I'm running something that has such a heritage and such a tradition for so many people here in Brooklyn, that it just can't be replaced." Hear, hear.