3rd Ward “food incubator” to anchor Jonathan Butler’s Crown Heights development

Food-crazed Brooklyn to get local food education center

Brooklyn’s first “food incubator” has found a home: the Crown Heights commercial mixed-use development that Brooklyn Flea and Brownstoner.com founder Jonathan Butler announced plans for earlier this year. Sources told The Real Deal that 3rd Ward, a Bushwick-based “multi-disciplinary workspace and education center,” is finalizing plans to open a what they bill as an incubator in a 30,000 square-foot-space on the ground-floor at Butler’s 1000 Dean Street, along with 12,000 to 15,000 square feet of office space on the second floor. 3rd Ward and Butler are finalizing a 20-year lease, sources said.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s office worked with city’s Economic Development Corporation and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz on the deal, sources said.

3rd Ward earlier this year won a $1.5 million grant from the EDC to develop a “food incubator,” which will “provide culinary entrepreneurs with the tools, equipment, and workspace that they would otherwise not be able to afford,” Markowitz told the Brooklyn Paper in February. The space will host cooking classes and provide access to a large commercial kitchen, previous reports said.

3rd Ward received the funding on the condition it open in a section of Brooklyn suffering from high rates of unemployment, according to news reports. Crown Heights certainly qualifies: Figures from the Fiscal Policy Institute cited by the New York Daily News showed unemployment of over 15 percent in the neighborhood last year.

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The new $30-million site at 1000 Dean Street, formerly the site of a Studebaker service station, is being developed by Butler and partner BFC Partners, the builder of the Toren condominium in Downtown Brooklyn. Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group also contributed $25.5 million to the project, according to previous reports.

Butler and BFC, helmed by Don Cappocia, together bought the three parcels that comprise 1000 Dean for $11 million earlier this year, and announced plans for a “food hall” in the space.

The EDC declined to comment. Markowitz and Bloomberg administration officials were not immediately available for comment.

The rest of the 155,000 square-feet of space available at Butler’s development is likely still up for grabs. Butler told the New York Observer in April he hoped it would serve artists and assorted creative types, but also local Crown Heights residents.

Margaret Anadu, vice president of the Urban Investment Group, also told the Observer that office rents would be in the mid $20s per square foot.