Read Part 2 and Part 3 of this story.

If coffee was a controlled substance, most of us would be addicts of the worst sort. Our national morning jones for caffeine has been the catalyst for fortune and failure over the centuries. Everyone loves a coffee shop, and most are welcomed into any neighborhood like a water fountain in the desert.

There have been countless arguments, discussions and even culinary classes about the world’s best coffee — how to grow the beans, roast them, package them and brew them. Our stores are full of different devices that do whatever we need to get us our fixes.

Although many people, especially in upscale urban and suburban communities, swear by their special blends, their small batch, artisanal and exotic coffees, most of the coffee brewed in America comes from a few large companies that supply supermarkets and restaurants across the nation.

The Arbuckle Brothers, working out of Brooklyn, were one the coffee giants of the 19th and early 20th centuries. They roasted and packaged the first popular coffee brand, called Ariosa, and created Yuban coffee, a brand still on the market after 150-plus years.

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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.

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The long abandoned Empire Stores warehouse complex along the Brooklyn waterfront is slated to open to the public in spring 2016, but from both inside and outside the antiquated structure appears nowhere close to complete.

“It’s topped out, we’re just putting in the finishing touches over the next 30 days,” developer Midtown Equities Director of Leasing David Beare told Brownstoner on a recent hard-hat tour.

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Empire Stores in 1968

The austerely impressive Empire Stores along 53-83 Water Street reveals New York City’s storied founding purpose as a port city. The complex of seven nearly 150-year-old warehouses bears “mute testimony to the prosperous commercial activity of Brooklyn during the second half of the 19th century,” in the words of the Landmarks designation report.

Today, it is a construction site, slated to open next year as a 500,000-square-foot multipurpose facility. The red-bricked, iron-shuttered walls will house various gourmet eateries as well as high-end office space, stores, a rooftop garden and exhibition space, but for most of its life, before being abandoned, Empire Stores stocked a different kind of luxury good. As a cargo warehouse, coffee beans, sugar, molasses, and the likes from Africa, South America and Cuba were the main occupants of the building.

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On the same day as a scheduled public hearing about the controversial plan to build two residential towers at Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 6, the corporation responsible for the park released via Crain’s an economic report that claims that income from the proposed towers are necessary for the park’s financial future.

Critics of the plan are not thrilled about the report’s timing or its findings.

The 35-page study by Barbara Byrne Denham, an economist at the real estate research firm REIS, is a challenge to digest in an afternoon before heading off to the community meeting. But one thing stood out: Denham writes that the predictions about the success of two other developments under way in the park, Empire Stores and 1Hotel, are overly optimistic.

“I believe Empire Stores will likely not lease up its space in two years nor earn the rents the model assumes,” writes Denham, adding that the stores “will not get the foot traffic in winter months that it needs to earn a strong profit.”

Yikes. That can’t be easy for the developers behind Empire Stores to hear. They’re like the oldest kid being pushed aside when the new baby comes along.