NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Wednesday announced the contractors for a new plan for the redevelopment of a warren of empty warehouses along the East River in the DUMBO section of Brooklyn.
Bloomberg announced that Midtown Equities, along with Rockwood Capital and HK Organization, have been selected for the redevelopment of the Empire Stores and Tobacco warehouses near Brooklyn Bridge Park.
“All across the waterfront, we are reclaiming and renewing areas that have long been abandoned or neglected, and Empire Stores and the Tobacco Warehouse are the latest examples of that work,” Bloomberg said in a news release. “These redevelopment plans will bring even more new life and excitement to the DUMBO waterfront at Brooklyn Bridge Park, giving residents and visitors more places to work, shop, dine, and experience the arts.”
The plan calls for a new space for the St. Ann’s Warehouse theater in the old Tobacco Warehouse, which is now an open-air space framed only by the exterior walls of the old structure. It will include a performance space, administrative office, and a multi-use community space, and an outdoor public space that will be operated by Brooklyn Bridge Park.
The Tobacco Warehouse space is currently used as an outdoor entertainment and exhibition venue.
The Empire Stores warehouses, next to the Tobacco Warehouse at 53-83 Water St. in Brooklyn, will be transformed into 80,000 square feet of restaurant, retail and event space and 300,000 square feet of office space. A team led by Midtown Equities will enter into a 96-year lease on the property, which is expected to generate $60 million for maintenance of the park.
The plan also calls for new parkland at the northern edge of Brooklyn Bridge Park at Main Street, which will replace a Department of Environmental Protection water meter testing site, a parking lot, and a Department of Transportation paint shed.
The Tobacco Warehouse was constructed in the 1870s as a tobacco inspection site, and has become a city landmark after being saved twice from demolition, according to the Brooklyn Eagle.
The St. Ann’s Warehouse theater company currently uses a space at 29 Jay St. in Brooklyn, after being evicted from its old space at 38 Water St. for a condo redevelopment project.
The Empire Stores warehouses were built between 1869 and 1885, but have been vacant and decaying since the 1960s, according to Bloomberg’s office. The seven contiguous four-and-five-story warehouses were originally used primarily for coffee storage.
The complex has long been on the New York Landmarks Conservancy endangered buildings list, as its huge scale, few windows and poor condition made it a difficult building to reuse.
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