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Empty For Years, The Former P.J. Hanley’s Soon To Become Flora, A Family Friendly Restaurant


The former Irish tavern P.J. Hanley at 449 Court Street on the corner of Third Street has stood empty. since 2014. In the past few years, the bar, one of Brooklyn‘s oldest, was tangled in a messy bankruptcy proceeding between the Hanley family, who owns the building, and the last tenant of the commercial space, James McGown.
(Many may better remember McGown as the owner of 320 Court Street, which housed Buschenschank for a number of years.)

McGown, known as ‘the bankruptcy baron‘ for the trail of failed businesses and real estate investments he left in New York City, took over Hanley’s in 2005. By February 2013, he filed for Chapter 11 for the bar. Months before, he had done the same for his South Brooklyn Pizza chain that occupied the retail space next door at 451 Court Street.

Rather than vacate the premises to return it to the Hanley family, he remodeled the space (without permits) and renamed the bar Goldenrod.

The matter ended in court when the Hanley family accused McGown of having “breached his lease by making substantial alterations without getting consent from the building owner or the Department of Buildings” and for paying rent only sporadically. The Hanleys began eviction proceedings and City Marshals finally seized the property in November 2014.
The place has been empty since then.

That may soon change. Last night, representatives of a new venture at this location gave members of Community Board 6’s Permits and Licenses Committee a presentation for an on-premise liquor license. (The Committee voted to recommend approval to the NYS Liquor Authority.

The new family friendly restaurant is to be named FLORA. It is a new venture by Matthew Shendell of the Paige Hospitality Group, which also owns The Ainsworth, a small chain of restaurants in Manhattan.

Flora’s menu will mostly offer standard American cuisine and will offer a raw bar, big salads, sandwiches, pasta dishes and steaks. The restaurant will be serving lunch and dinner, brunch on week-ends. 
The side yard will allow for outdoor seating.  Flora will also occupy the former South Brooklyn Pizza space at 251 Court Street, so it will be a rather large venue for Carroll Gardens standarts.
Interestingly enough, the entire building is currently for sale for $6,750. It is being marketed by Meridian Capital Group.

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