Trouble at the Empire Stores in Dumbo
Of all the historic structures in Brooklyn, one of the most beloved and distinctive are the old Civil War Era warehouses known as the Empire Stores. It is impossible to imagine the Dumbo waterfront without them. Yesterday brought distressing news from the state that there are some "structural deficiencies and deteriorating conditions" and that Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park has been closed while scaffolding is installed "to protect pedestrians from possible falling brick." The future of the building has been the subject of competing plans for over a decade. Developer David Walentas originally planned to develop the building. Then, Shaya Boymelgreen won development rights before losing them because nothing was happening. One commenter on Curbed yesterday even suggested a deliberate strategy at work to allow the buildings to deteriorate so that preservation becomes arguably too expansive. It is worth noting that the structures are not part of the Dumbo Historic District that was created this week.