City mum on whereabouts of 3rd Ward food incubator funds

November 22, 2013 08:26AM

The city gave Bushwick’s 3rd Ward art and design space part of a $1.5 million grant to start a food incubator in Crown Heights before the center shuttered abruptly in early October, but no one will say how much was handed over or where it went.

The funds were intended to kickstart a “food incubator” in 1000 Dean Street, the mixed-use development started by Brownstoner and Brooklyn Flea founder Jonathan Butler, in Crown Heights. The mayor’s office, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz and the city Economic Development Corporation chose 3rd Ward to head up the project in February 2012, but the workspace closed without warning just last month, citing financial troubles stemming from rapid expansion, founder and 3rd Ward executive Jason Goodman said at the time.

The mayor’s office, EDC and Butler refused to talk to the Brooklyn Paper on the record about the status of the grant, and Markowitz would not discuss it either. A bank that reportedly assumed control of some of the company’s assets, Next Street, did not respond to the Brooklyn Paper’s requests for comment.

Since the 3rd Ward fallout, the city has been asking business owners to pitch ideas for the culinary business center, an EDC spokesperson told the Brooklyn Paper.

The remainder of the four-floor industrial building, to Include A Food Court On The Ground Floor And Beer Hall On The Bergen Street side, is on track to open in January 2014, realtor Chris Havens, who is managing the project on behalf of Butler, told the Brooklyn Paper. [Brooklyn Paper]Julie Strickland