Bushburg and the Moinian Group have secured a $105 million construction loan for their mixed-use residential project in Eastern New York. The loan, provided by Valley Bank and Cross River Bank, will help the developers complete their 14-storey, 320-unit renovation of a heritage-listed former dairy.
The project, at 2840 Atlantic Avenue, will also bring a 52,000 square foot community space and 14,000 square foot retail space to the neighborhood, one of the least developed areas of New York.
Bushburg – its name is a portmanteau of Williamsburg and Bushwick – has made its mark building higher end residential and commercial projects in areas not widely known for luxury goods.
Work on the development is underway, with the former factory to be gutted while preserving historic features, as directed by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. The factory will contain the retail space and foundation work is already underway for what will become an adjacent apartment building.
The factory produced milk for the Empire Dairy Company and later Borden, a food producer and the inventor of Elmer’s glue. It sat vacant for decades until Bushburg acquired it in September 2018 for nearly $17 million.
In addition to a roof terrace, the new building will have a co-working space, a tenant lounge, a children’s playroom and a fitness centre. Atlantic Avenue is reportedly the site of several new developments in the coming years as the city and councilor Crystal Hudson plans extensive repurposing of the thoroughfare.
The dairy building has been a neighborhood landmark since it was built in the early 1900s, according to Zulmilena Then, founder of Preserving East New York. “While we don’t have many landmarks, the Eastern New York community loves the neighborhood,” Dan said. “Just to know that we have something so special in our community, it’s exciting.”
The largely industrial area spiraled downward as production in New York City withered and crime rose in the 1970s and 1980s. The 75th district was the city’s murder capital when the murder rate peaked in 1990, but it has steadily improved since then, although the poverty rate remains among the highest in the city. A major repurposing early in the de Blasio administration sparked both hope and controversy, with some property buyers being mocked as “speculators.”
Given East New York’s relative lack of amenities and its distance from central business districts, market-based development is not for the faint of heart. But it does have a Long Island Rail Road station, and the Bushburg and Moinian location is within walking distance of two subway lines and a short drive from John F. Kennedy Airport.
“Our mutual desire to develop in Eastern New York and restore one of the few landmark buildings in the area makes this opportunity particularly exciting,” said Joseph Hoffman, founder and CEO of Bushburg.
“Bushburg buys and builds well,” said Joseph Moinian, founder and CEO of Moinian Group.
Bushburg and Moinian previously collaborated on PLG, a 26-storey project in Prospect Lefferts Gardens that will open in 2020. At 520,000 square feet, it is one of the largest high-end apartment buildings in the area.