A 67,236-square-foot warehouse previously occupied by Brick & Ballerstein, a manufacturer of boxes for perfume and jewelry, is now on its way to becoming New York’s newest creative hub.
Developers Hornig Capital Partners and Brickman Associates acquired the industrial building, located at 10-85 Irving Avenue in Ridgewood, for $10 million last year. And now, a $10 million renovation is underway to transform it into the Box Factory, a new hub for retail, dining, and creative office space.
Daren Hornig, managing partner at Hornig Capital Partners, says the structure had many interior details to work with, including 18-foot ceilings, exposed timber and steel beams, wood floors, and painted brick interior walls. Architecture firm Fogarty Finger decided to retain that “old-school and very industrial feel,” as Hornig puts it, for the office spaces and retail. The building’s original brick facade will be restored, while a new double-height glass storefront entrance will give the property a more modern appearance.
The building is located near the Halsey Street L train, so three retail spaces—accessed through the glass storefront—will be positioned closest to the train. Hornig says the firm is courting a food tenant, whose space would face a back alley that could be transformed into an outdoor seating area.
The target for a development like this is, as you might expect, the so-called “creative” firms that have been priced out of the city’s more developed neighborhoods. “We’re expecting small- to medium-sized tenants fresh from Manhattan and Williamsburg,” Hornig says.
A part of the appeal, to be sure, will be the asking prices: as opposed to rents of $65/square foot in Williamsburg, and $45/square foot in Bushwick, the Box Factory will offer rents around $35/square foot.
The project piggybacks off the growing popularity of large mixed-use complexes that offer a bit of everything—office space, retail, and food—in once-industrial spaces. The Brooklyn Navy Yard, long a manufacturing nerve center for the city, will open a public food hall on the ground floor of Building 77 that should open this year. The Empire Stores, along the Dumbo waterfront, opened to office tenants last year and includes 60,000 square feet of shops and eateries, including a rooftop beer garden. And a similar hub is in the works at Williamsburg’s Domino Sugar redevelopment.
The Box Factory is significantly smaller, but the developers hope it’ll be a game-changer for the area’s growing office and retail markets.