Concepts for a Brooklyn waterfront community

This proposal for the historic Empire Stores warehouses on the East River between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges was in response to an RFP that asked for a boardwalk and public park in exchange for developing the warehouses.  As it was clear development of the warehouses alone would not support the cost of public amenities, the proposal expanded the site to rezone the adjacent Gare warehouse buildings for mixed-residential use and create a new waterfront neighborhood extending to downtown Brooklyn. The added value from from the zoning change would pay for the public amenities asked for in the RFP.  The proposal included:

  • Conversion of the Empire Stores similar to Quincy Market in Boston, with artists lofts at the upper levels
  • New waterfront hotel and marina
  • Conversion of Gare buildings to mixed-use residential, office, and high-tech uses
  • Public amenities including a boardwalk, waterfront park, gallery for local artists, ferry service to Manhattan, and streetscapes connecting the waterfront to downtown Brooklyn and Brooklyn Heights.

The proposal of before and after images was created for the Helmsley Organization, which owned the Gare buildings and could relocate manufacturing tenants to its other developments on the Brooklyn waterfront.  However, just at that time, Helmsley decided not to participate and sold the Gare Buildings to a developer who proposed a less extensive plan.