Sunday, November 23, 2008

Can we bring it back to life as a brewpub?

This is not breaking news, but the hodgepodge complex of buildings between Bergen and Dean on Franklin were once a brewery. The site is currently for sale, but given the state of the real estate development, methinks it will be awhile before it is bought up and summarily torn down. There's a useful blurb about the original tenants at the New York Food Museum page (search the page for "Nassau Brewing Company").

The brewery site appears to have been developed in phases, with the original buildings (pictured at the top) potentially dating from before the Civil War. They've been re-sided and covered up almost beyond recognition, but the basic structures and the few remaining visible bits of clapboard and cornice (3rd shot) suggest they might have once been a fairly grand property. The address of the brewery is theirs, which also suggests that they were the first buildings on site.

The rest of the structures on the site are fantastic in their own right, with their funky arched windows, the wall of whitewashed brick along Franklin (a graffiti magnet), big tanks and pipes rusting away above everything, and the remnants of painted ads (check out a great painted-advertisement blog here). Though the whole site is for sale, two buildings have already been converted for continued use: the Heinz-adorned warehouse on Bergen, which got a nice profile in the NYT last year, and the old "ice house" on Dean, which has become a very nicely appointed set of green condos. Unfortunately, most of the rest of the structures don't seem conducive to re-invention (no retail space, no passable windows), which means they'll probably be lost down the line. The exception, of course, are those grand old original houses, which could be renovated and become the coolest, newest microbrewery in NYC.