Artisanal coffee purveyor Brooklyn Roasting Company is about to move into a newly renovated building in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Brownstoner got a sneak peek of Building 123, a former power plant built in 1900 that is now part of the Yard’s Green Manufacturing Center. Brooklyn Roasting Company will soon transform the entire 32,852 square foot industrial space into a haven for the coffee-obsessed.
Company co-founder Michael Pollack told Brownstoner, “What we work with is the original power plant — coffee trees and beans. So this is the perfect place for us to call home.”
The building will serve as a centralized location for the company’s roasting, packaging, and distribution process, which is currently spread across BRC’s two existing Brooklyn locations.
Brooklyn Roasting Company was founded in a Williamsburg loft in 2009 by former Brooklyn Brewery partner Jim Munson along with chief-roaster Michael Pollack and furniture designer Rob Herschenfeld. The next year, they leased a small space on Jay Street for roasting, packaging and distribution. In 2011, they opened their coffee house in the same location, expanding to a second location in Wallabout in 2013. BRC ventured into Manhattan this year with a cafe in the Flatiron district.
And, if the Brooklyn Heights library development goes through, the company will also have a location in the base of that building.
In just four years, the company has grown from its three founders to 108 employees. The Navy Yard location will give Brooklyn Roasting Company additional room to expand.
The building is a former power plant that fell into disuse following World War II. A $60,000,000 renovation of this structure and two adjacent machine shops began in 2013.
A brick wall runs down the middle of both the upper and lower floors of the building, creating four main spaces.
On the first floor, arched interior windows look down into the second room — which is about three feet lower than the main level.
The main first-floor level, looking from the back of the room to the front. Brooklyn Roasting Company and the Navy Yard plan to offer tours of the space, giving the public an inside look at the process of roasting and preparing coffee beans.
The lower level of the first floor has a crane system installed in the ceiling, as well as a loading dock.
Company co-founder Michael Pollack told Brownstoner that this space will soon feature “Willy Wonka chutes and vacuum tubes” to move their coffee beans through the roasting and packaging process.
View of the first floor interior windows from the lower level.
The combination of exposed brick and glossy black metal extends into the building’s two stairwells.
Upstairs, an open steel truss system supports the roof. The central brick wall ends at the truss, giving the room an open feel.
Arched windows and high ceilings create a cathedral-like atmosphere.
The second-floor view from the back of the building looks out at the future site of Dock 72 — the new WeWork co-working building. The structure will be built just on the other side of the narrow strip of water. Pollack told us that Brooklyn Roasting Company “would love to imagine ourselves as a part of the WeWork retail experience.”
Windows on the east side are closed up because several feet of the building extend into an adjacent former machine shop.
A view from inside the room next door.
An archival record from 1965 detailing Building 123’s history as a power house, store room, machine shop and more.
Above and below, Brooklyn Roasting Company’s former headquarters at 25 Jay Street in Dumbo. This location will continue to serve as a cafe, while the main roasting operation will be moved to the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
Above, Brooklyn Roasting Company’s location at 200 Flushing Avenue in Wallabout.