As Dumbo has become one of New York City’s most desirable and upscale neighborhoods, the hulking Empire Stores complex has been a persistent reminder of the neighborhood’s industrial past—before the boutiques, multimillion-dollar apartments, and Brooklyn Bridge Park. The complex—a series of seven buildings—dates back to the 19th century and was originally used to store dry goods, primarily coffee. For decades, it has been positioned in Dumbo like an impenetrable fortress—a barrier between the cobblestone streets and the landscaped waterfront. But that’s about to change.
Team Six’s Proposal for Empire Stores coffee warehouses (Courtesy of Brooklyn Bridge Park)
Proposals galore! Brooklyn Bridge Park (BBP) is moving full speed ahead with its plans to develop parcels of its 1.3-mile waterfront expanse. In September, the Park released a Request for Proposals seeking a developer to restore and makeover the crumbling Empire Stores warehouses into a lively mixed-use development consisting of office, commercial, and retail space, while also preserving the integrity of the massive historic structure.