Well that sucks. Or does it?
The developer of a Red Hook waterfront property once slated to house a hotly anticipated outpost of BJ’s Wholesale Club says the dream of buying bulk toilet paper and buckets of candy en route from Ikea to Fairway is well and truly dead, because it is instead building offices aimed at hip tech startups.
“It’s going to be a campus-type structure that’s common in Silicon Valley where tech firms have offices — that’s not really common here,” said Joshua Greenwald, a spokesman for Joe Sitt’s Thor Equities.
Thor recently unveiled plans for two four-story office and retail buildings at the site of the former Revere Sugar refinery at Beard and Richard streets, which it has dubbed Red Hoek Point — a title inspired by the neighborhood’s old Dutch name of Roode Hoek — and will be designed by the same architect behind Apple’s iconic headquarters in California.
Sitt bought the property in 2005 and at one point planned to build a mall there anchored by a branch of the members-only big box store — though over the years he has also pitched luxury condos, college dorms, and a Nets training facility for the site.
But now the company is looking to cash in on the city’s growing tech industry and high demand for office space in the borough, according to Greenwald.
“There seems to be a need for more office space for more technology companies,” he said. “We’re looking at what these companies want and building something that will fit their needs.”
Red Hook is hardly a white-collar hub right now, but an area real-estate expert said that Thor is getting ahead of the curve by expanding into the industrial neighborhood as space becomes increasingly scarce elsewhere.
“Red Hook is just a stone’s throw away from Brownstone Brooklyn,” said Jakub Nowak, a commercial broker with Marcus and Millichap. “There’s a limited size of land so Red Hook is going to be filling in — where else are you going to go?”
The neighborhood has remained relatively untouched by the borough’s office-building boom in part because it is far from a subway stop, but the increasing number of cyclists and the complex’s planned parking garage should help prospective tenants see past that, Nowak said.
The city is also opening a ferry stop in the nabe next year and, if Mayor DeBlasio gets his way, a streetcar line by 2024. Thor may also run a shuttle service for workers running to and from the subway, although the company hasn’t finalized anything, Greenwald said.
The complex hasn’t signed on any tenants yet, he said, but construction is scheduled to kick off this fall.
Brooklynites looking for BJ’s can still visit the outposts in Bensonhurst, Canarsie, and East New York.
©2016 Community News Group
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