Empire Stores receives the 2018 Best Adaptive Reuse MASterworks Award from the Municipal Arts Society NY
BEST ADAPTIVE REUSE
Stationed on the DUMBO waterfront between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges, the seven Civil War-era warehouses known as Empire Stores sat abandoned for half a century. The massive complex, which the Landmarks Preservation Commission called a “mute testimony” to the prosperity of 19th century Brooklyn, had once been a bustling economic hub. But for generations it served more as a fortress dividing the neighborhood and the waterfront.
Today that fortress is a gateway. The new Empire Stores, opened last spring, brought 450,000 square feet of much-needed office space to the borough along with retail, dining, public space, and art galleries that make it a 24/7 destination.
The project exemplifies the goals of adaptive re-use: it celebrates and preserves the building’s monumental presence on the waterfront, transforming its 19th century industrial shell to a 21st century creative community hub.