The ambitious adaptation of the Empire Stores warehouse complex in Brooklyn Bridge Park on the Dumbo waterfront is inching closer to completion. The impressively austere red brick and iron-shuttered structure was built in 1869 and abandoned to the elements in the 1960s. When the complex opens to the public in spring 2016, it will have indoor and outdoor public spaces, a rooftop garden, exhibition space, offices, restaurants, and retail.
The glass window panels that make up the facade of the modern rooftop addition are making their way around the steel structure on the northeast side, closest to the Manhattan Bridge. Down below, new window glass is filling up long-empty arched holes in the historic schist and brick walls of the original buildings.
The modern rooftop addition topped out several weeks ago, as Brownstoner reported at the time, but two-thirds of it (the two-story section in the middle and another one-story section on the northwest side, closest to the Brooklyn Bridge) are still bare steel skeletons without any cladding. They will be getting their glassy skins in the next few weeks, developer Midtown Equities Director of Leasing David Beare told Brownstoner last month. “It’s topped out, we’re just putting in the finishing touches over the next 30 days,” he said.
Most of the structure on the roof will be given over to offices. Soho House will operate a beer garden on the roof terrace, and there will also be a rooftop garden open to the public on top of the glass-clad addition. Dumbo-based home furnishings retailer West Elm will take up about a third of the building with its headquarters and store.
Studio V and S9 Architecture have designed the renovation and adaptation of the historic warehouse complex. Rockwood Capital and HK Organization are also involved in the development, along with developer Midtown Equities.
Retail and office tenants will start taking possession of the raw space inside next month. The nearly 150-year-old complex of seven cargo warehouses originally housed coffee beans, sugar, molasses, and the likes from Africa, South America and Cuba. It was landmarked in 1977 as part of the Fulton Ferry Historic District.
Empire Stores Coverage [Brownstoner]
Photos by Hannah Frishberg; renderings via Empire Stores