Years ago, a local developer turned an old Studebaker building in Crown Heights into low-income housing, an unlikely redevelopment that was hailed at the time for marrying preservation and affordable units. Today, it was announced by the Wall Street Journal that the other Studebaker building in the neighborhood, the former service station at 1000 Dean Street just west of the shuttle tracks, is also slated for a radical transformation. Jonathan Butler, the creator of real-estate blog Brownstoner and the Brooklyn Flea and a guy who knows about as much as one blogger can about the changing shape of Brooklyn neighborhoods, has put together a mega-deal to pour $30 million into three industrial properties along Dean between Franklin and Classon. The WSJ reports that much of the space will be used for "mixed-use office space to house a mix of small businesses like Internet start-ups, food makers and light industrial manufacturers," hopefully employing 400-500 people in a couple of years. (no word on how much local hiring is in the works). Additionally, Butler and his partners (who include Goldman Sachs and the guys who brought you the Toren) plan to set aside some space for good times. Writes the Journal, "one section of the property will be used for cultural events and another section will have a food and beer hall that will feature food vendors from the Brooklyn Flea, a flea market held on weekends in Fort Greene and Williamsburg. Mr. Butler envisions that the 9,000-square-foot food hall will have five or six different food vendors."
About 15 months ago, with new businesses including Thirst Bar and Compare Foods opening up in the area, Nostrand Park described the hitherto-light-industrial-but-starting-to-develop area bounded by Prospect, Atlantic, Washington, and Franklin as Four Corners (so named for its location, at the juncture of Crown Heights, Prospect Heights, Bed-Stuy, and Clinton Hill). At the time (as it does now), the area that still had many working junkyards, auto body shops, and live poultry butchers, but was also attracting wine bars, high-end residential development, and increasing numbers of creative-class types. With Butler's big-time investment getting under way this summer, one can only imagine that "Four Corners" will be turning a corner as all of these trends accelerate. Readers, any prognostications?