Oz fans out: Developer plans to destroy beloved Aussie bar to erect office complex

Crikey!: Developers plan to raze the popular Australian bar Northern Territory to make way for a new seven-story office building.
FXCollaborative/Bezier

Greenpoint’s gonna be drier than a dead dingo’s donger!

Australian ex-pats’ go-to neighborhood pub for grub and suds from Down Under, Northern Territory, is set to be bulldozed by a developer to make way for a seven-story office building — a far more necessary commercial space in an area already oversaturated with bars, according to the builder.

“North Brooklyn is teeming with apartments, hotels, restaurants, and nightlife — but what’s missing is enough high-quality office space to meet the demands of the area’s growing workforce,” said Matthew Baron, president of Manhattan-based Simon Baron Development.

Baron wants to erect what he called a boutique office building at 12 Franklin St. on a plot now occupied by the popular Aussie hangout and its neighbors, Greenpoint Beer and Ale Co. and a hardware store. The structures housing all three businesses would be demolished to make way for the new complex, which would rise roughly 20 blocks from similar facilities in nearby Williamsburg, including two locations of shared-workspace provider WeWork and the swanky offices going in at the landmarked refinery on the Domino Sugar factory campus.

The developer’s proposed commercial hub would include more than two football fields’ worth of office space and roughly half a football field’s worth of manufacturing space, along with ground-floor retail, outdoor terraces on all above-ground floors, a “rooftop amenity,” two lobbies, underground parking for 36 cars, a bike valet, and storage for 85 two-wheelers, according to information from the builder, which tapped city-based architecture firm FX Collaborative to design it.

But before Baron can break ground, the city must first sign off on zoning changes to the lot bounded by Franklin, Gem, and N. 15th streets and Meserole Avenue that would allow for the proposed parking and other components.

The city in May kicked off its Uniform Land Use Review Procedure to assess the builder’s request for new zoning, which will next go before the local community board.

If officials green-light the scheme, the developer plans to start work in late 2019 and to have tenants in and operational by 2021, giving Northern Territory owners and loyalists about a year to say goodbye — and get a few more glimpses of the Manhattan skyline from its rooftop — according to one of its three proprietors, who said the trio plans to shutter the watering hole sometime in the back half of 2019, before its lease officially ends in March of 2020.

“We have another summer,” said Katie Bruce. “We’ll close the bar at end of the next summer, end of 2019, because we’re not very busy in the winter.”

Bruce, whose bar became a lodestar for Australian-style establishments across the city after it opened in 2014, said its absence will be felt among Aussies in Kings County and beyond.

“Hopefully, there will still be a place where they feel at home,” she said. “As far as Greenpoint goes, it will definitely be a loss there.”

But she and her co-owners aren’t ready to pour their last pint of Coopers Pale Ale, and are keeping their eyes peeled for a place to open a new version of their beloved hangout, although they don’t have anywhere in mind just yet, she said.

“We’re sad, we don’t want to leave, but the neighborhood is changing,” she said. “We’re looking, but we have another year, so there’s a little time.”

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.

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