FOUNDING

 

 

EMPIRE STORES™ IS A TRULY UNIQUE STRUCTURE, REPRESENTING ONE OF THE LAST SURVIVING BRICK STOREHOUSES THAT LINED NEARLY THREE MILES OF BROOKLYN’S EAST RIVER WATERFRONT.

Once referred to as “the Walled City,” Brooklyn and its hundreds of fortresslike warehouses were a thriving center of shipping, industry, and commerce. Erected in phases from 1869-1885, Empire Stores is one of a few buildings in the region that retains its original distinctive features: a brick masonry facade, schist structural walls, and heavy frame timber construction. The original tenants of Empire Stores – which is known to have been the first commercial production facility of roasted coffee – could not have foreseen that the beans they packed and shipped would help legitimize an intense, global coffee culture that continues to fuel today’s creative and technology companies.

Empire Stores along the waterfront / Photo credit: Brooklyn Historical Society