Seafarers Union departs Gowanus for Jersey City

Bushburg building 12-story rental property on group’s former Brooklyn site
May 20, 2014 03:50PM

The Seafarers International Union is departing its Gowanus headquarters for a new spot in Jersey City in a move that will leave the organization without a New York City presence for the first time in nearly a century.

The union, which represents deckhands, ferry crews and other sea merchants, sold its Brooklyn headquarters at 635 Fourth Avenue to Bushburg for $10 million in December 2013. That developer plans to replace the current structure with up to 91 rental apartments, clothed in a funky exterior design.

“The union received a substantial offer for the Brooklyn Hall, and there’s no shipping in New York,” David Heindel, SIU secretary-treasurer, said in a newsletter last August. “The vast majority of our ships in that area are in New Jersey.”

The 82,000-member union maintained a national headquarters in Lower Manhattan until 1982, and has long maintained a presence in New York City. But the spot in Jersey City is “much more convenient for the vast majority of our members in this area,” Joseph Soresi, the union’s vice president for the Atlantic Coast, said in a statement last summer.

The replacement structure in Gowanus will be 12 stories high and is slated for completion within three years, Israel Hirsh, one of the developers, told the New York Daily News. [NYDN]Julie Strickland