Inside the Adaptive Reuse of Former Schlitz Brewery at 95 Evergreen Avenue, Bushwick

95 Evergreen Avenue, August 22, 2016. Photos by the author unless indicated95 Evergreen Avenue, August 22, 2016. Photos by the author unless indicated

Adaptive reuse is more than a buzzword. It’s one big way for cities to keep their pasts from ending up in landfills. Structures for which the originally intended use is no longer viable are converted for another purpose.

Sometimes, it happens in historic districts or to landmarks, and at other times, it’s just determined to be good business. One big adaptive reuse conversion underway is the Bronx General Post Office in Grand Concourse. Another sits in Bushwick, Brooklyn. It’s the former Schlitz brewery at 95 Evergreen Avenue, at the corner with George Street and opposite Melrose Street. It was built in 1951.

Schlitz left in 1982 and a series of other tenants occupied in the following decades. Last January, the five-story building sold for $33.7 million and developers Hornig Capital Partners and Savanna have been converting it for office use. That conversion is now complete. Earlier this week, the project’s lead architect, Harshad Pillai of Fogarty Finger, gave YIMBY a tour.

There is still a sky bridge connected to the warehouse across the way. There is a divider in the center, with half being for 95 Evergreen’s second floor and the other half being for the warehouse.

95 Evergreen Avenue, rendering by Fogarty Finger

95 Evergreen Avenue, rendering by Fogarty Finger

When renderings were revealed a year ago, massive vertical letters spelling “EVRGRN” were on the front of the building. As seen at the top of the story, that has not been realized. Pillai said the idea was to show potential tenants a “your name here” idea. So, it’s still possible that signage of some sort will end up in that spot. The rendering also shows a retail space on the George Street corner, but that will only be built out if a tenant is found.

As one approaches the front door, there are metal panels that are, themselves, adaptive reuse. They were salvaged from an Abercrombie & Fitch store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.

Main entrance of 95 Evergreen Avenue

Main entrance of 95 Evergreen Avenue

95 Evergreen Avenue, facade panel close-up

95 Evergreen Avenue, facade panel close-up

The lobby features 8,500 backlit glass bottles similar to those that would have been used by Schlitz. The ones on the wall have the bottom facing out and the sections swing open for maintenance access.

Lobby of 95 Evergreen Avenue. Photo by Connie Zhou

Lobby of 95 Evergreen Avenue. Photo by Connie Zhou

Wall bottles in lobby of 95 Evergreen Avenue

Wall bottles in lobby of 95 Evergreen Avenue

Wall bottle panel opened for access in lobby of 95 Evergreen Avenue

Wall bottle panel opened for access in lobby of 95 Evergreen Avenue

The ones on the ceiling have the tops facing out, but actually can swing 360 degrees. So, the bottoms could face out there.

Ceiling bottles in lobby of 95 Evergreen Avenue

Ceiling bottles in lobby of 95 Evergreen Avenue

The lobby is Pillai’s favorite part of the project, and it’s actually a repurposing of the loading dock. It’s envisioned that a coffee shop or small café will occupy the space. A sliding door can separate the office entrance from the retail space after business hours.

The lobby’s waiting area doesn’t forget the building’s history.

Lobby waiting area at 95 Evergreen Avenue. Photo by Connie Zhou

Lobby waiting area at 95 Evergreen Avenue. Photo by Connie Zhou

The upper levels have large floorplates and an impressive view of the city skyline. The fenestrations were originally for industrial use, but have been extended down to accommodate office use.

Second floor of 95 Evergreen Avenue

Second floor of 95 Evergreen Avenue

The third floor remains unfinished, so potential tenants can see the found conditions and compare them to the renovated floors.

Third floor of 95 Evergreen Avenue

Third floor of 95 Evergreen Avenue

The fourth and fifth floors share an even larger space.

Fourth floor of 95 Evergreen Avenue

Fourth floor of 95 Evergreen Avenue

Fourth floor of 95 Evergreen Avenue

Fourth floor of 95 Evergreen Avenue

This terrace is envisioned for the occupant of the upper floors, but could be divided for use by multiple tenants or the building as a whole.

Terrace atop 95 Evergreen Avenue

Terrace atop 95 Evergreen Avenue

View from terrace atop 95 Evergreen Avenue

View from terrace atop 95 Evergreen Avenue

The solar panels on the roof were there before the developers took possession of the building, and they are hoping for LEED Silver certification.

Solar panels atop 95 Evergreen Avenue

Solar panels atop 95 Evergreen Avenue

Roof of 95 Evergreen Avenue, pre-conversion. Photo by Connie Zhou

Roof of 95 Evergreen Avenue, pre-conversion. Photo by Connie Zhou

Roof of 95 Evergreen Avenue, August 22, 2016

Roof of 95 Evergreen Avenue, August 22, 2016

View from roof of 95 Evergreen Avenue

View from roof of 95 Evergreen Avenue

No tenants have yet been signed, but the architect sent over a few before-and-after shots that show the building as the developers found it and how it looks, post-conversion. Here they are.

95 Evergreen Avenue, exterior, pre-conversion and post-conversion. Photos by Connie Zhou

95 Evergreen Avenue, exterior, pre-conversion and post-conversion. Photos by Connie Zhou

95 Evergreen Avenue, loading dock/lobby, pre-conversion and post-conversion. Photos by Connie Zhou

95 Evergreen Avenue, loading dock/lobby, pre-conversion and post-conversion. Photos by Connie Zhou

95 Evergreen Avenue, fourth floor, pre-conversion and post-conversion. Photos by Connie Zhou

95 Evergreen Avenue, fourth floor, pre-conversion and post-conversion. Photos by Connie Zhou

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4 Comments on "Inside the Adaptive Reuse of Former Schlitz Brewery at 95 Evergreen Avenue, Bushwick"

  1. Marc Leslie Kagan | August 23, 2016 at 8:12 pm |

    Excellent job of repurposing from factory building to office building. It shows that it can be done with imagination.

  2. Excellent Job! Wish I Was Involved In This One! Great Work! No “We Work” Interest?

  3. Eighty Five HUNDRED Bottles Of Beer On The Wall !!!!!……..THAT Is Gonna’ Be One LONG Song!!!
    *Great Job!

  4. Get a permanent modern style inside, light and number can show the symbol of building obviously.

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