After two years of fighting and a year-long lawsuit, an agreement has finally been reached between community groups, preservationists, and the city on how to reuse the historic Tobacco Warehouse and Empire Stores in Brooklyn Bridge Park. It looks like St. Ann's Warehouse's wishes have been granted, as the theater group will be the tenant of the Tobacco Warehouse, which will be adaptively reused as a cultural and community venue that can be used by schools, the public, and neighborhood groups. The Empire Stores will be turned into a mixed-use retail and commercial development that will help fund Brooklyn Bridge Park's operations and maintenance.
To make up for any parkland lost through these developments, 38,000 square feet of land directly below the Manhattan Bridge will be added to the park. Everyone seems completely pleased with the settlement, a rather unusual outcome for a development battle in New York. Before any of these plans can move forward, state legislation has to be passed, but those involved say this will happen ASAP, allowing for the Tobacco Warehouse to reopen for programming this summer.
· Important Update: Brooklyn Bridge Park Settlement [NY Landmarks Conservancy]
· Key Deal Forged for Brooklyn Bridge Park [Crain's]
· Tobacco Warehouse coverage [Curbed]
· Brooklyn Bridge Park coverage [Curbed]
Tobacco Warehouse photo, via Ed Costello/Flickr CC