Currently a vacant Civil War-era warehouse in Brooklyn Bridge Park, the project will create new office space and a shopping and dining destination.
Construction will being in 2014 and could be completed as early as fall of the following year. It will cost an estimated $150 million.
“Speaking as a Brooklyn native who raised my family in the borough, it is an honor for my firm to be chosen for the redevelopment of the Empire Stores, the most desirable waterfront property in all of Brooklyn, said Joe Cayre, chairman of Midtown Equities.
This proposal includes a Brooklyn-centric cultural museum and a public outdoor space. West Elm, a chain furniture store which already has a DUMBO location, will be the anchor tenant for the retail portion of the project.
“Midtown Equities was identified as the most qualified developer based on their design excellence and their willingness to provide exciting opportunities for public interaction within this historic structure,” said Regina Myer, president of the Brooklyn Bridge Park.
However, Build Up NYC, a group that has voiced opposition to Brooklyn Bridge Park projects in the past based on environmental concerns and the use of non-union labor, criticized the choice of Midtown Equities.
The company would not commit to using labor workers on the project in its proposal.
“The public has invested millions of dollars into Brooklyn Bridge Park,” said Gary LaBarbera, president of Build Up NYC. “It is the Brooklyn Bridge Park Board’s duty to protect this investment by ensuring the park is resilient and that the jobs there are good, family-supporting, middle-class jobs.”
Councilman Steve Levin sits on the board, and he didn't vote for Midtown Equities to lead the project.
“New Yorkers need wages that can support a family,” said Levin. “I have consistently expressed my desire for prevailing wages and labor standards at Brooklyn Bridge Park.”