CROWN HEIGHTS — A culinary incubator could be back on the menu for 1000 Dean St.
After plans fell through for a giant test kitchen run by 3rd Ward at 1000 Dean, the owners of the former Studebaker Building are now in discussions with other potential operators, said broker Chris Havens, who represents the owners.
The incubator, which would serve emerging chefs and help train young restaurant workers, would share 1000 Dean's ground floor with a hotly anticipated food court and beer garden run by Brooklyn Flea.
"Of course we want a kitchen use in there," said Havens, who added that he's been approached by several groups who are applying for a grant from the city's Economic Development Corporation for a new culinary hub in Central Brooklyn and hope to work with 1000 Dean. "The only thing I have to warn people is that with the beer garden and the kitchen incubator, this is going to be a fattening building."
One of the organizations drawn to 1000 Dean is Union Kitchen, a Washington, D.C.-based culinary incubator that is hoping to open in New York.
"The space is raw — it's open," Union Kitchen co-owner Eban Singer said of 1000 Dean. "The grant money would go to building it out."
The EDC initially awarded a $1.5 million grant last year to Bushwick's 3rd Ward to develop a culinary incubator at 1000 Dean St., but the plans fell through when 3rd Ward went bankrupt in October and lost its lease.
The EDC reissued the request for proposals in November, seeking a replacement for 3rd Ward, and applications are due Jan. 22. The EDC could award a grant for a space anywhere in Central Brooklyn, but several of the applicants hope to secure 1000 Dean St.
The building will also house City Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo's office starting Feb. 15, and Brooklyn Flea offshoot Berg'n Beer Hall will launch a Smorgasburg food court there —including Ramen Burger and Asia Dog — in March.
Regardless of who wins the RFP for the culinary incubator, Community Board 8 hopes that the new test kitchen will hire locally and serve the community.
"3rd Ward was interesting and exciting, but it was everybody else coming to Crown Heights," said Atim Oton, chair of Community Board 8's Economic Development Committee. "There’s nothing wrong with that concept, it’s an investment, but we need both."
Singer and his group recently approached CB8 to talk about their proposal for 1000 Dean St., where they hope to transform 20,000 square feet of space into an enormous communal kitchen and 12 smaller private kitchen for about 200 members.
"People go into the food industry to make food, but when you’re actually running a food business, making food is the smallest part of what you actually do," Singer said, listing licensing, marketing and distribution among the hassles many food entrepreneurs are ill-equipped to manage on their own. "Union Kitchen wants to take on all that other responsibility."