The Real Deal New York

Landmarks “troubled” by Empire Stores design

December 27, 2013 01:29PM

A rendering of the Empire Stores at Brooklyn Bridge Park

A rendering of the Empire Stores at Brooklyn Bridge Park

Designs for Midtown Equities’ Empire Stores project in Dumbo aren’t sitting well with the Landmarks Preservation Commission, which sided with unhappy neighborhood residents at a hearing on the plans last week.

At issue are designs for the building’s rooftop, drawn up by Midtown Equities and Studio V, which include a two-story glass wall and hefty bulkhead. LPC Commissioner Michael Goldblum said he was “troubled by its generic quality.”

The commission holds an advisory role in the project, and will deliver a report detailing its concerns as the State Historic Preservation Office gives its final ruling on the Empire Stores development. The LPC declined to comment to the New York Observer.

The Cayre family’s Midtown Equities, along with the White Plains-based investment firm Rockwood Capital and Brooklyn-based developer HK Organization, are redeveloping the warehouse building in Dumbo and have secured tenants for at least 80 percent of the site. Furniture retailer West Elm, with a 150,000-square-foot lease agreement, is to be the site’s anchor tenant.

Office rents are in the $90s per square foot, said to be a record for the borough, as The Real Deal reported. [NYO]Julie Strickland

  • Jamie Lewis

    Generic quality at best. The renderings were flashy and obviously played too big a role in convincing the Park of Midtown’s bid. Sadly enough, the entire community knew that not only were their designs boring (and not just generic) but also impractical from a landmark and SHPO perspective.

  • 15YearsinDUMBO

    I note that the image in the post above is not Midtown Equities’ proposal. It is the one here http://therealdeal.com/blog/2013/09/04/midtown-equities-scoops-two-trees-tenant-for-empire-stores/.
    The problem with their proposal is not only lack of originality, but also lack of adherence to historic preservation principles, which should be paramount here. The glass box, at any height, proposed to be stapled onto the roofs of the Stores, is clearly only there to maximize their return on this project. Given the tight market for space in this area, particularly of this caliber, why do they need to add so many tens of thousands of square feet to an already extremely large site?
    I look forward to seeing the LPC’s report, which I hope will take historic preservation guidelines into consideration, especially for such a significant part of waterfront Brooklyn’s history.

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