10/02/12 4:00pm

Empire Stores from Manhattan Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge Park (BBP) today released a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the adaptive reuse of the historic Empire Stores Warehouses, located in the Empire Fulton Ferry section of the Park. The RFP seeks qualified developers for the long-term lease, rehabilitation and operation of commercial and retail development in the historic structures. Revenue generated by the development of the site will help fund the maintenance and operations of the of the Park. The space will not be turned into condos, according to the proposal.

The Empire Stores are a complex of seven contiguous four- and five-story historic warehouses with an approximately 75,000 sq. ft. footprint and containing approximately 327,000 gross sq. ft. Constructed shortly after the Civil War, the Empire Stores played an integral part in the prosperous shipping activities that once dominated the Fulton Ferry portion of the Brooklyn waterfront.

The warehouses have been vacant for over 50 years and have slowly deteriorated. Since December 2007, the Empire Store buildings in the Brooklyn Bridge Park have been boarded up due to structural issues with deteriorating brick window frames.

According to the press release:

“The re-development of the Empire Stores is part of a larger effort to transform underutilized buildings and piers on 1.3 miles of Brooklyn’s East River Waterfront into an iconic park. The 85-acre Brooklyn Bridge Park project is the most significant park development in Brooklyn in over a century. The park has already proven to be a huge hit, attracting almost 90,000 visitors during an average weekend including 20,000 a month to Jane’s Carousel, located adjacent to the Empire Stores site…

The RFP requires respondents to submit conceptual plans that demonstrate thoughtful adaptive reuse of the structures, responsiveness to the site design guidelines and a level of design that is on par with the investment made on the part of the public sector.”

This site offers a highly visible opportunity to transform a historic waterfront complex into an active retail/commercial location. Developer Shaya Boymelgreen lost his deal to develop the Empire Stores after he let it sit for three years (2002 – 2006) while moving forward with luxury condo projects in other parts of Brooklyn.

Proposals are due on December 10, 2012.

{Empire Stores on Endangered List, 05Dec2008}
{Sidewalk Bridging Being Installed at Empire Stores Warehouse, 08Jan2008}
{Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park Temporarily Closed, 21Dec2007}

04/16/10 1:25am

(Photo by Josh Derr)

As noted on Monday, there’s no parking on Dock Street and is a temporary two way street while the Water Street construction is being done. Brownstoner noted that the Belgian blocks on Dock Street got spray painted with a double yellow line today. Both Dock Street and Water Street between Old Fulton Street and Dock Street are temporarily two way streets. We contacted Paul Kidder, the DCC Community Construction Liaison who told us that:

Water street will not be closed at Old Fulton Street and Dock Street. The contractors plan is to work from the bend on Water Street to Dock Street, May through July and there will be an emergency lane maintained for traffic on Water Street. Water Street will remain a one way street as it is today. A special note: Dock Street as of this past Tuesday is now a two way Street. The project is still fairly close to schedule at this time. As far as I know Water Street from Old Fulton to the bend on Water Street will remain a two way street as it always was. The contractor is in the process of cleaning up Old Fulton Street and Furman Street for the annual Bike Tour on May 2nd.

Photo from Josh Derr’s blog, Brooklyn Complex.

{Notice: Cars Parked on Dock Street, 12Apr2010}
{Water Street Reconstruction Update (Mar/Apr 2010), 10Mar2010}
{Water/Washington St Reconstruction Project Update, 03Dec2009}
{Belgian Block Reconstruction to Begin, 04May2009}

01/05/10 9:56am

Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park Closed

A note from the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation:

Empire Fulton Ferry State Park is closed as of January 1, 2010 as construction gets underway to implement a series of exciting park improvements. Improvements include:

  • Jane’s Carousel, a gift of Jane and David Walentas. The magnificent, restored 1922 carousel will be housed in a beautiful pavilion designed by Pritzker-Prize winning architect Jean Nouvel, making the carousel available for use in all seasons. (also see: Jane’s Carousel To Be in Brooklyn Bridge Park)
  • Extension of the park lawn to the south across the current alignment of New Dock Street
  • Stormwater retention tanks to irrigate the park’s natural features
  • Park furnishings including railings, benches, picnic tables and bike racks
  • Lighting so that the park will be open after dark for the first time since its opening in 1979
  • Regrading the park to improve drainage

Scheduled reopening of the park is Spring 2011. The adjacent city park will remain open during the renovation. Pier 1 of the Brooklyn Bridge Park will open as early in 2010 as possible and will host the popular Movies with a View this summer.

04/29/09 11:30am

(Photo courtesy of Brooklyn Heights Blog)

The Brooklyn Flea announced yesterday that they will be launching a second outdoor market at a location in Brooklyn Bridge Park, directly under the Brooklyn Bridge in the Fulton Ferry Historic District on the waterfront (Water Street and New Dock Street). The “Brooklyn Bridge Flea” will take place on Sundays, starting June 14, and the Fort Greene Flea will continue on Saturdays. The last date of the Flea’s indoor Dumbo locations will be Sunday, May 31. Brooklyn Bridge Flea will feature between 80 and 100 vendors and will feature existing vendors as well as new additions.

Congratulations to Eric Demby and Brownstoner on this partnership with the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation (BBPDC). The Fort Greene Flea has attracted 10,000 visitors each Saturday, and the Brooklyn Bridge Flea will likely draw even more, with the Empire Fulton Ferry State Park next door, and other nearby businesses such as Jacques Torres, who is planning to open an ice cream parlor this summer (as early as June) next to his chocolate shop.

The new location was the site of the landmark Art Deco Purchase Building (Brownstoner link). The Brooklyn Paper reports that the building was torn down to make way for a piazza only to lose control to the Department of Transportation, “which says the tract is needed as a staging area to overdue repairs to the historic suspension bridge.”

Click here for the BBPDC Press Release (pdf)