New restaurant tenants for iconic Empire Stores

February 26, 2015 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Restaurant tenants are starting to sign on the dotted line for space at Empire Stores on the DUMBO waterfront. Rendering courtesy of Visual House
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Now that’s A Snack With A View.

The developers in charge of restoring and repurposing DUMBO’s Empire Stores, the iconic former coffee warehouses, signed leases with two restaurant tenants, Vinegar Hill House and Pizza East.

Both restaurant sites are waterfront-facing spaces at Empire Stores’ entrance from Brooklyn Bridge Park — with killer views of the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges, New York Harbor and the Lower Manhattan skyline.

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“The quality of tenants at Empire Stores is unparalleled,” said David Beare, director of leasing for Midtown Equities, which is redeveloping the landmarked 19th-Century waterfront complex with partners Rockwood Capital and the HK Organization.

Vinegar Hill House plans a takeaway outpost. It’s aiming for an early 2016 opening. It took a 1,750- square-foot space with outdoor seating in Empire Stores’ courtyard.

The well-regarded dining spot is a culinary mainstay of nearby nabe Vinegar Hill. It is located on a landmarked block at 72 Hudson Ave.

The Brooklyn Eagle‘s Eye on Real Estate column recently included the restaurant in a list of Top Ten Coolest Places in Vinegar Hill.

Restaurant founder and co-owner Jean Adamson and her team will plan a menu “that appeals to those who don’t want to sacrifice flavor for healthy choices,” according to an announcement from Midtown Equities.

The Vinegar Hill House takeout counter will serve coffee — which is only fitting given Empire Stores’  history as coffee warehouses — juices, breakfast, lunch and early dinner and will cater big events.

Pizza East is operated by SoHo House, a tony private club with a location at 29-35 Ninth Ave. in the Meatpacking District. SoHo House has been rolling out its Pizza East restaurant concept, whose signature dish is ciabatta-crust pizza. There are locations in London and Chicago.

Pizza East is aiming for a spring 2016 opening at Empire Stores. Its new location there is 13,000 square feet in size with outdoor seating in the complex’s courtyard and on the Brooklyn Bridge Park waterfront.

The design of the pizzeria at Empire Stores will include “elements such as reclaimed-wood tables [that] will mix with industrial fixtures and contemporary touches, which will complement Empire Stores’ adaptively restored design, where elements of the past meld cohesively with modern materials,” the developer’s announcement notes.

The asking rents were $150 per square foot. Both leases are for 10-year terms.

Midtown Equities execs told the Eagle last year that Empire Stores’ rooftop will have a beer garden and an elegant restaurant with a terrace. Those tenants’ identities have yet to be revealed.

West Elm, the home furnishings retailer, has already signed a lease for 150,000 square feet at Empire Stores for its corporate headquarters and a store. And there’s room in the space for a coffee shop in partnership with Brooklyn Roasters, a coffee roaster.

Midtown Equities and its partners are renting Empire Stores from Brooklyn Bridge Park in a 96-year lease. When renovations of the long-vacant warehouses are complete, there will be about 430,000 square feet of rentable space.   

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