Suds over Dumbo! Beer garden headed for Empire Stores development

Soak it in: A developer wants to put a beer-drinking complex on the roof of its office and shopping project at Empire Stores in Dumbo.
Studio V

Raise a glass for the new elevated ale area on tap in Dumbo.

The Empire Stores development on Water Street between Dock and Main streets will include a rooftop beer hall and garden, its developers announced this week.

“Where else in New York can you enjoy great food and drinks on the roof of a 19th century warehouse with unparalleled views of the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges, New York Harbor, and downtown Manhattan?” asked Jack Cayre, principal of Midtown Equities, rhetorically.

The project will repurpose seven connected waterfront warehouses built in the late 1800s to create a new tech-office hub with high-end retail on the ground floor.

The former coffee warehouses have been abandoned since the 1960s and had fallen in to disrepair before the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation turned over the properties to Cayre’s company late last year. The developer is getting a 96-year lease, which is expected to generate $60 million for the maintenance of Brooklyn’s front yard.

The roofs of the four- and five-story structures boast expansive views of the waterfront and the Manhattan skyline. The top deck will feature a beer hall with outdoor and indoor seating, a separate restaurant, glass-walled office space, and a public park, the developer says.

“The beer hall, and Empire Stores in general, will be a place of community, mixing work and play,” Cayre said.

Plans for the rest of the complex include retail space and five football fields worth of office space — a sorely needed commodity in Dumbo, where vacancy rates are estimated at less than one percent, according to the Dumbo Improvement District.

The furniture store West Elm is the only official tenant so far, and it has committed to leasing office space and a storefront in the complex, Midtown Equities said.

Big-time Dumbo builder Two Trees Management sat on the properties from the 1980s until 2002. The Empire State Development Corporation then handed the site over to a rival developer, Shaya Boymelgreen. When his project failed to come to fruition, the state took it back.

In 2007, state officials had to evacuate the surrounding area when the Empire Stores structures were found to be unsound.

The project is located next to the Tobacco Warehouse, the roof-less shell of an 1860 industrial building that is being transformed into the new home of the Saint Ann’s Warehouse theater company.

Reach reporter Matthew Perlman at (718) 260-8310. E-mail him at Follow him on Twitter @matthewjperlman.
The city expects that Brooklyn Bridge Park will complete its redevelopment of the Empire Stores by 2015.
City of New York

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