First Tenant of Historic Waterfront Empire Stores, West Elm, Opens Doors (Photos)

Photo by Hannah Frishberg

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It’s official: Dumbo-born home furnishings company West Elm opened its new flagship to the public this morning, becoming the first tenant to debut at the massive, borough-transforming 146-year-old-landmarked-coffee-warehouse-turned-retail-hub Empire Stores.

West Elm Brooklyn Dumbo Empire Stores Grand Opening Development

Photo by Hannah Frishberg

The new retail branch comprises 14,265 square feet of Empire Stores’ ground floor, and the designers have given the space a thoroughly modern-chic look while retaining historic elements of the space, like its original stone walls, ceiling beams and the wooden columns where old notes and notches from the building’s days as a warehouse and coffee roasting factory are still visible. Next to a window by the front entrance sits old coffee processing equipment, salvaged from the building during construction. Doors leading to the complex’s central courtyard are located in the back of the shop.

West Elm Brooklyn Dumbo Empire Stores Grand Opening Development

Photo by Hannah Frishberg

The home store also contains a West Elm Market with a Brooklyn Roasting Company location and a space for local pop-up food shops.

West Elm Brooklyn Dumbo Empire Stores Grand Opening Development

Photo by Hannah Frishberg

West Elm also relocated its company headquarters to the building. The 97,650-square-foot offices, which take up all of Empire Stores’ second floor and half of the third floor, opened Monday.

Other building tenants are slated to open in March. A building grand opening is planned for October, according to a West Elm representative. The Brooklyn Historical Society is planning museum space in the building (it will likely open next year).

Abandoned for decades, the waterfront Empire Stores warehouse complex will bring stores, restaurants, offices and a significant amount of public space to the area, including a rooftop garden and stadium seating. There will be a glassy addition on the roof, and the building’s historic facade is being restored.

It will be a major addition to Dumbo and Brooklyn Bridge Park, not to mention a destination for the entire borough.

West Elm Brooklyn Dumbo Empire Stores Grand Opening Development

Accounts scribbled on an old column. Photo by Hannah Frishberg

West Elm Brooklyn Dumbo Empire Stores Grand Opening Development

Photo by Hannah Frishberg

West Elm Brooklyn Dumbo Empire Stores Grand Opening Development

Old coffee processing equipment. Photo by Hannah Frishberg

West Elm Brooklyn Dumbo Empire Stores Grand Opening Development

Photo by Hannah Frishberg

West Elm Brooklyn Dumbo Empire Stores Grand Opening Development

Rendering of Empire Stores by S9 Architecture

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