DUMBO — Midtown Equities presented their plans for Empire Stores redevelopment, angering many residents who say the proposal will create too much traffic and noise in the small neighborhood.
Architect Jay Valgora told residents in a DUMBO community meeting Monday night that the historic Empire Stores building would eventually be home to a bustling "Brooklyn marketplace" with restaurants, cafes, retail space, a museum and commercial office space. Their plans further include an event space and public green space on the roof.
And though some called his plans "stunning," most locals were concerned about the effects the redevelopment would have on the neighborhood.
Resident Sebastian Stubbe called the event space "the most terrifying part of the entire plan," saying DUMBO's small historic streets are already clogged with traffic without adding "lines of limousines and foot traffic."
Stubbe's comments were met with wild applause from the upwards of 100 attendees, many of whom also raised concerns about how DUMBO would handle the large influx of people, commercial trucks, and cars that the new development would bring.
Other residents, many of whom live on Water Street directly behind the development site, were concerned with view obstructions.
"We are the people that have been in DUMBO for years and helped make it what it is today," one resident, who did not give her name, said. "Now we have to look at your elevator shaft all day."
Resident Lee Meirowitz questioned to historic integrity of the plan asking "How do restaurants, shops and an event space protect the historic nature of these warehouses?"
Valgora and Midtown Equities officials told residents that they would be responsive to concerns and would work with potential commercial leaseholders to ensure traffic and noise were kept under control.
Brooklyn Bridge Park official chose Midtown Equities to redevelop the 327,000-square-foot former coffee and dry-goods warehouse from a group of 10 other bidders in August.