East New York’s Empire State Dairy Could Become a Landmark Tuesday

Photo by Susan De Vries


After years of advocacy by local preservationists and a year-long official designation process, the Empire State Dairy complex at 2840 Atlantic Avenue could become a landmark Tuesday. Late last week, the item appeared in the calendar of the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

Under a new law, the time the commission has to decide the matter is drawing to a close. The group already calendared and has held multiple hearings on the matter. At one of these, in September 2016, a developer in the process of purchasing the building testified landmarking would make environmental remediation of the contaminated building more expensive — and adaptive reuse less likely, CityLand reported. Preservation expert and Columbia Professor Andrew Dolkart and a longtime neighborhood resident spoke in favor of designation.

empire state dairy designation

Photo by Susan De Vries

Completed in 1915, the buildings were designed by architects Theobald Engelhardt and Otto Strack. Part of the complex is “Abstracted Classicist with Secession detail,” according to the LPC — an unusual style for Brooklyn.

empire state dairy 2840 atlantic avenue east new york

The building in 1916. Image via Brooklyn Daily Eagle

The building sports large and rare tile murals made by the American Encaustic Tiling Co., according to tile expert and architectural historian and writer Michael Padwee.

The complex, which processed milk and made ice cream until its midcentury closure, could be “demolished or substantially altered” as a result of the recent East New York rezoning if it is not protected, according to the New York City Department of City Planning’s environmental impact statement on the rezoning.

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