Thursday, February 5, 2015

$400M Development Plan for Industrial Red Hook

Fairway market and Ikea may soon have a very big neighbor. Estate Four, a Los Angeles firm known for devising stylish new uses for faded industrial properties, has an ambitious plan to construct a 12-acre, 1.2-million-square-foot mixed-use complex called the Red Hook Innovation District. The $400 million project will develop the space between Coffey and Wolcott streets, and Ferris Street and New York Harbor. The plan includes offices, shops, performance spaces, public plazas and courtyards and a waterfront esplanade. The developer plans to phase in the project over five years.

The development boom of office and apartment towers that displaced warehouses and refineries along the Brooklyn waterfront has largely spared Red Hook.

Even the addition in recent years of a Fairway market and an Ikea store that attracted shoppers didn’t lessen much of the activity in Red Hook, which mostly revolves around the loading of freight onto trucks.

But this remote Brooklyn neighborhood may not be a bystander much longer.

Estate Four, a Los Angeles firm known for devising stylish new uses for faded industrial properties, plans to phase in the project over five years, at a cost of $400 million. The purchase of a final property in December gave the developer control of the entire 12-acre development site.

While the project will feature mostly new construction, Estate Four plans to preserve key parcels and plazas and courtyards will dot the site.

Among them is a three-floor factory complex that takes up an entire block at Coffey and Ferris Streets and whose oldest sections date to the 1800s.

The dilapidated 122,000-square-foot complex will be used to stage performances and large-scale art installations in soaring brick-walled rooms with 45-foot high ceilings.

A century ago, the building was home to the Lidgerwood Manufacturing Company, which produced cable-car construction equipment, used to build dams, like one at the Croton Falls Reservoir.

Still, given that the site is situated just a few yards from the water and flooded in 2012 along with much of the neighborhood during Hurricane Sandy, protection from future flooding damage is a high priority.

The new buildings in the Red Hook Innovation District will not have basements and will sit about three feet higher than what is there today, the developer said.

Red Hook has been promised a $200 million flood-protection system, which as of this winter is a step closer to reality.

To blend in with the existing manufacturing buildings, the overall design includes brick facades for the lower stories, with paned windows found in older factories.

Multilevel glass additions will rise from their roofs.

Ranging from 215,000 square feet to 300,000 square feet, the buildings will offer offices upstairs and stores. Architect Will Robertson, of the firm NBBJ, is designing the bulk of the project.

Part of the project will entail removing a central section of the building, opening Dikeman Street all the way to the water’s edge and creating two acres of public parkland with a promenade. A long pier will tie that park to an existing one on Coffey Street.

Estate Four will also preserve a former printing plant for The Daily News, in operation from the 1950s to 1990s that is now a storage facility for Snapple beverages.

While New York Water Taxi already provides regular ferry service from Manhattan to the Fairway Market and Ikea, the developer is pushing for the ferry to add a new stop at the Atlantic Basin, which would be closer to his development.

A few blocks away, at 160 Imlay Street, the firm is at work converting a six-story concrete warehouse once occupied by Montgomery Ward and Company into luxury condominiums.

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