Building of the Day: 412 Flushing Avenue

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Originally Malcolm Brewery, then Franklin Brewery, then Wallabout Warehouse, now Hatzlacha Supermarket
Address: 412 Flushing Avenue
Cross Streets: Franklin and Skillman avenues
Neighborhood: Bedford Stuyvesant
Year Built: 1890 (central building)
Architectural Style: Late 19th-century factory
Architect: Otto C. Wolf
Other Work by Architect: Many breweries and other buildings in Philadelphia, especially in the neighborhood of Brewerytown
Landmarked: No

The story: This building, as well as its neighbor on the block, was one of Brooklyn’s many breweries. At the turn of the 20th century, Brooklyn had many breweries, but now only a few remain, all now transformed into other things, including housing, storage, manufacturing, supermarkets and offices. I’ve long wondered about the history here, as I used to pass this great building often when I had access to a car, and this complex has a long and proud history here on the Bedford Stuyvesant/Wallabout border.

The oldest part of the Malcolm Brewery, designed by Philadelphia brewery expert architect Otto C. Wolf, was begun in 1869. The brewery belonged to George Malcolm, a Scotsman, who was one of Brooklyn’s most successful brewers. Later in his career, he would buy the Nassau Brewery on Franklin Avenue and Bergen Street, over in Crown Heights. Here on Flushing Avenue, he was brewing ale and porter beer.

Otto C. Wolf was the brewer’s architect, even if you had to bring him up from Philly. Later, Brooklyn architects like Theobald Engelhardt would dominate, but even he must have learned some tricks of the trade from Mr. Wolf. He was a mechanical engineer, as well as an architect, and also quite the inventor. He pioneered cold storage techniques, as well as cold storage warehouses, vital in the production of lager beer. Wolf practically built Brewerytown, a neighborhood in Philadelphia, and was responsible for over sixty buildings there, including, of course, breweries. The neighborhood is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Malcolm Brewery expanded with a large malt house, designed and built by Theobald Engelhardt’s father, Philip. That’s the corner building on Skillman Street. In 1890, Wolf came back to Brooklyn to build the tall central building for the Malcolm Brewery. By this time, he was also brewing lager beer, which needed a cold room, and Otto came through with this expanded building, which also had a deep artisanal well inside. By the 1890s, this kind of building, with several stories dominated by tall windows, was popular in brewery architecture, with a pyramid style roofline. The same structure also was built in Malcolm’s Nassau Brewery.

By 1903, the Malcolm Brewery was auctioned off, literally lock, stock and barrel, becoming the Franklin Brewery. Prohibition killed off the Brooklyn breweries, and this complex became the Wallabout Warehouses around 1922. In 2004, it became home to the Hatzlacha Supermarket. It remains one of the most interesting buildings on Flushing Avenue. GMAP

(Photo: Christopher Bride for PropertyShark, 2012)

Photo: Greg Snodgrass for Property Shark, 2006. Building to left is Philip Engelhard’s malt house.

Photo: Google Maps.

Photo: Christopher Bride for PropertyShark, 2012. Franklin Avenue side of 1890 building.

Close-up showing “Malcolm” signage at roofline on the Flushing Avenue facade.

One Comment

  • Otto C. Wolf was Philadelphia’s preeminent brewery architect and engineer. He designed 11 breweries in the State of New York, 6 in New York City and 2 in Brooklyn. He had an office in New York City for about a year (c. 1890s). He had projects as far away as Norway, Cuba and Sacramento, CA. Upon his death in 1917 his obituary stated that he had executed 572 projects during the course of his career which spanned 33 years. For more information visit my website http://pabreweryhistorians.tripod.com