In December 2000, the city evicted 60 tenants from an illegally converted loft building at 247 Water Street in Dumbo, and landlord Joshua Guttman ultimately bought out the renters for $30,000 each. When he applied to legalize the building’s apartments, the city denied his request. A week later, a mysterious four-alarm fire raged through brick factory. Now, after years of sitting vacant and boarded up, the five-story building between Bridge and Gold Streets may become office space.
An alteration application filed earlier this week reveals that the building will remain the same size, but it will hold offices and about 2,700 square feet of manufacturing space. The first floor would be a warehouse, and the remaining four floors would be office space. The existing structure stands 60 feet tall and measures about 35,000 square feet.
In the last several months, the factory has gotten new windows and freshly painted brick, a signal of its impending conversion.
Architect Nicholas Scire-Chianetta, of Gravesend-based NSC Architecture, applied for the permit.
Two years ago, the Guttmans tried to expand the old industrial building into a seven-story hotel, but the plans were disapproved. They’re also slowly converting an eight-story factory down the block at 53 Bridge Street to office space, after the DOB forced them to remove an unstable six-story addition from the roof last year.
Jack and Joshua Guttman might be the last Dumbo landlords to jump on the conversion bandwagon, as nearly every other industrial building in the small waterfront neighborhood has become condos or office space for tech and creative companies. But the redevelopment of Empire Stores promises to command $65 to $85 per square foot for offices in the old tobacco warehouses.
Similarly, office rents at the future “Dumbo Heights” complex, the former Jehovah’s Witnesses bible printing factories, will hover around $60 per square foot. Clearly there’s no shortage of demand for offices in the “Brooklyn Tech Triangle,” and some small to mid-size tech companies are willing to pay for the cache of Brooklyn over Chelsea or NoMad.