Landmarks OKs New Building Set to Rise Behind Historic Empire State Dairy in East New York

The new proposal. Rendering by Dattner Architects via LPC

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A modern building that will climb 14 stories just behind the landmarked Empire State Dairy in East New York was approved by the LPC Tuesday morning.

Landmarked in December 2017 after years of advocacy work by local preservationists, Empire State Dairy, located at 2840 Atlantic Avenue, is noteworthy for its unusual architectural style and tile murals.

empire dairy

The Empire State Dairy in April. Photo by Susan De Vries

Originally the developer, nonprofit firm HP Brooklyn Dairy Housing Development Fund Company, wanted to cantilever the new building over the old and demolish the dairy’s chimney. Both moves proved controversial, and this time around the developer removed the cantilever and committed to keep the chimney.

empire dairy

Prior design submitted to LPC. Rendering via Dattner Architects

The size of the building remains the same. The proposal calls for constructing a new 14-story building that would rise in the place of two existing but not landmarked buildings and a parking lot. More than 330 affordable apartments will be included in the new building.

empire dairy

Prior design submitted to LPC. Rendering by Dattner Architects via LPC

Dattner Architects is behind the design of the proposal. The firm is well known for affordable housing work and designed the Prospect Plaza affordable complex in Ocean Hill and an addition to the landmarked Dean Sage House in Crown Heights, whose LPC approval was, unusually, recently revoked by the courts.

Tuesday’s vote of approval was not unanimous. Commissioner Michael Goldblum, who voted against the proposal, was suspicious of some of the developer’s promises. There’s “not a lot of conversation about how to preserve this chimney,” he said, despite the developer’s promise. He suggested that the commission staff see how the developer plans to do this.

empire dairy

The new proposal. Rendering by Dattner Architects via LPC

As at the last meeting, the commissioners considered the relationship between the old and new buildings. Goldblum said he thought the new building needed to speak to the old “more positively.” Commissioner Michael Devonshire agreed. “There’s no great dialogue between the historic building and the new building,” he said.

empire dairy

Rendering by Dattner Architects via LPC

But he, like the rest of the commissioners, ultimately voted to approve. Commissioner John Gustafsson, while noting that he was initially one of the “aggressive anti-cantilever people,” said he thought that, while not perfect, the major problems had been solved.

“I don’t object to it,” he said, ending his comments.

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