Midtown Equities Awarded Empire Stores Development Project on DUMBO's Waterfront

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Established Brooklyn Developer Will Restore Iconic Waterfront Building To Create An Adaptive Reuse of 380,000 Square-Feet of LEED Certified Cultural, Commercial and Retail Space. Executes Lease With West Elm For New 150,000 Square Foot Office/Retail Location

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Midtown Equities, in partnership with Rockwood Capital and HK Organization, announced today that it has been awarded the highly coveted Empire Stores conversion project by the Brooklyn Bridge Park. The project is located in the DUMBO section of the Brooklyn Bridge Park. As a leading real estate investment and development firm, Midtown Equities and its partners will restore seven historic warehouses and will include new construction atop the existing structure for a combined offering of approximately 380,000 square-feet of thoughtfully curated office, restaurant, retail and commercial space. As the crown jewel building in DUMBO, with unparalleled views of the Manhattan skyline, the Empire Stores building is situated on the picturesque waterfront at 55 Water Street in Brooklyn’s Fulton Ferry Historic District and features a rich history dating back to the Civil War era as a former coffee warehouse.

“All across the waterfront, we are reclaiming and renewing areas that have long been abandoned or neglected, and Empire Stores and the Tobacco Warehouse are the latest examples of that work,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “These redevelopment plans will bring even more new life and excitement to the DUMBO waterfront at Brooklyn Bridge Park, giving residents and visitors more places to work, shop, dine, and experience the arts. The expansion and success of the park is due in large part to our partnerships with New York State Parks and the National Park Service, and we are grateful for their help.”

“Midtown Equities was identified as the most qualified developer based on their design excellence and their willingness to provide exciting opportunities for public interaction within this historic structure,” said Regina Myer, President of Brooklyn Bridge Park. “We are committed to the adaptive reuse of the Empire Stores and believe that its restoration will reinvigorate the community.”

Brooklyn Bridge Park chose Midtown Equities after reviewing proposals from several distinguished New York developers. The approved proposal features commercial and retail space to serve the existing community, a Brooklyn-centric cultural museum to celebrate the rich history of the borough and sprawling outdoor spaces for the public, including a rooftop terrace with unobstructed views of the New York City skyline. Midtown Equities is projected to achieve LEED Silver Certification and will work with Architect Jay Valgora of Studio V Architecture throughout the development process.

“Speaking as a Brooklyn native who raised my family in the borough, it is an honor for my firm to be chosen for the redevelopment of the Empire Stores, the most desirable waterfront property in all of Brooklyn,” says Joe Cayre, Chairman of Midtown Equities. “We have extensive experience in adaptive reuse projects and a considerable Brooklyn real estate portfolio, featuring close to one million square feet of development properties in the borough. It has been a great privilege working with the Office of the Mayor, the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation, and the Economic Development Corporation in a model of public and private partnership.”

“After the Brooklyn Bridge, the Civil War era Empire Stores is the most iconic structure on the Brooklyn waterfront. Our design will restore buildings that have sat empty for a half century, adding a rooftop garden, museum, and dramatic glass courtyard addition that reconnects the community to the waterfront,” says Jay Valgora of STUDIO V Architecture. “Our plan combines historic with contemporary architecture to demonstrate how the waterfront offers opportunities for innovative design.”

In addition, Midtown Equities announced that the DUMBO based home furnishings brand, West Elm has executed a 20 year lease for 150,000 square feet at the property for a new expanded home office, as well as retail spaces for West Elm and West Elm Market stores, coffee shop and communal space created in partnership with La Colombe. Empire Stores will also likely draw numerous tech companies as additional tenants to Brooklyn’s expanding Tech Triangle.

“The West Elm brand was founded in DUMBO more than 10 years ago, and the neighborhood and community we were born in continues to be a point of inspiration for us,” said Jim Brett, president of West Elm. “We are thrilled to be part of this historic expansion as we expand our office and retail operations to the iconic Empire Stores.”

Rockwood Capital joins the Midtown Equities led development team at Empire Stores, marking the real estate investment firm’s first Brooklyn based investment.

“We have long believed that the city of New York offers superior investment opportunities. We are very excited to partner with Midtown Equities on this project and look forward to entering into a booming Brooklyn market,” said Arne Arnesen, Senior Managing Director at Rockwood Capital.

The $150 million project will begin in early 2014. For more information, visit http://www.midtownequities.com.

About Midtown Equities:
Midtown Equities is a privately held real estate investment and development company that is headquartered in New York. The firm was founded by Joe Cayre who serves as Midtown Equities’ Chairman and leads the firm with his two sons, Jack and Michael Cayre. With a portfolio of more than 100 properties in the retail, office, residential, industrial and hospitality sectors, the firm actively acquires, develops and leases properties ranging from urban redevelopment projects to commercial centers. With a focus on prime retail properties, Midtown Equities maintains holdings in urban markets including New York, Washington D.C., Miami, Chicago and Los Angeles, as well as abroad.

About Rockwood Capital, LLC:
Rockwood Capital is a privately‐held real estate investment firm with offices in White Plains, NY, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Rockwood provides equity and debt capital for core, core-plus, value-add, and special situation real estate investment opportunities in key US markets. The firm manages more than $7.0 billion of office, retail, residential, hotel and mixed-use assets on behalf of over 90 public and private pension plans, endowments, foundations, insurance companies, and high net-worth families and individuals. For more information, visit http://www.rockwoodcap.com.

About HK Organization:
HK Organization is a diversified real estate firm focused on operating and developing properties throughout the NY metropolitan area. HK Organization's professional team combines many years of industry specific knowledge in all facets of real estate acquisition, development and management. With vast experience in adaptive reuse and converting existing structures as well as ground up construction, HK Organization has successfully developed several million square feet of residential, commercial and industrial products.

About Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation:
Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation, known as Brooklyn Bridge Park, is the not-for-profit entity responsible for the planning, construction, maintenance and operation of Brooklyn Bridge Park, an 85-acre sustainable waterfront park stretching 1.3 miles along Brooklyn’s East River shoreline. The award-winning firm of Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc. and design features expansive lawns, waterfront promenades, innovative playgrounds, a greenway, sports facilities and the popular Jane’s Carousel the self-sustaining park.

About West Elm:
Mixing clean lines, natural textures and global accents, West Elm creates unique, affordable designs for modern living. Headquartered in Brooklyn, NY, the brand introduced its first catalog in 2002 and opened the doors of its first retail location in 2003. The brand’s complete collection of modern furniture and room décor, including modern dinnerware, wall shelves, and modern bedding available in 51 retail stores in the United States, Canada and Australia, and around-the-clock at http://www.westelm.com. West Elm is part of an active community on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram and a member of the Williams-Sonoma, Inc. portfolio of brands.

About STUDIO V Architecture
STUDIO V Architecture is committed to innovative architecture that connect contemporary design with urban culture. STUDIO V rapidly rose to prominence for its expertise in urban architecture, innovative waterfront master planning, the re-design of former industrial sites, and the integration of contemporary architecture with historic structures. Recent projects include the complete redesign of Macy’s historic Herald Square building, an extensive series of new public parks and sustainable residential communities that are transforming the Astoria waterfront, a major contemporary architectural addition to Yonkers Raceway, and recently, and the recent designation as architect to redesign the area surrounding the train station in Stamford, Connecticut.

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Shin-Jung Hong
Nicholas & Lence Communications
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