Well, it’s a kick in the teeth to recently relocated Northside staffers, but a nice bit of news for DUMBO residents, currently down a watering hole (one of their few) after the shady shuttering of reBar. Empire Stores—the upcoming, 430,000 square foot retail hub operating out of Dumbo’s landmarked row of 19th century, waterfront warehouses—is adding a glassed-in, rooftop beer garden to their development plans.
Of course, not everyone is pleased with the idea of an ultra-modern addition to the iconic buildings, which was approved by the State Historic Preservation Office after the original design was revised, to make it lower, smaller and set back from the roof edge to minimize its visibility. In a December hearing, local resident Ethan Goldman dismissed the project as “a glassed-in party venue destined to become just another wedding mill.”
Nevertheless, Midtown Equities is moving full steam ahead on their landscape-altering behemoth, also confirming a sprawling French brasserie for the ground floor (in addition to upscale furniture retailer, West Elm, and coffee brewing bigwig, La Colombe), and are currently in talks with at least two other well-known chefs, looking to expand their reach to the borough (they’ll be neighbors with Tertulia’s Seamus Mullen, who’s fronting a farm-to-table restaurant inside of the Pierhouse, a massive condo development astride Brooklyn Bridge Park).
It’ll certainly take plenty of clout and Manhattan money to score space in the complex, which currently commands a whopping $90 per square foot for office space in the glass-faced rooftop addition, $150 a square foot on the ground floor facing the park, $125 for the ground floor retail space facing Water Street, and $65 a square foot on other floors. So no matter who moves in, expect to pay a pretty penny for your pints, croissants and coffee beans.