Bushburg and the Moinian Group have secured a $105 million construction loan for their mixed-use residential project in East New York. The loan, provided by Valley Bank and Cross River Bank, will help the developers finish their 14-story, 320-unit renovation of a landmarked former dairy factory.
The project, at 2840 Atlantic Avenue, will also bring a 52,000-square-foot community space and 14,000 square feet of retail to the neighborhood, one of New York’s least developed areas.
Bushburg — its name a portmanteau of Williamsburg and Bushwick — has made its bones building higher-end residential and commercial projects in areas not commonly known for luxury product.
Work is well underway at the development, which will gut the former factory while preserving historic elements as mandated by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. The factory will hold the retail space, and foundation work is already in process for what will be an attached 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 rooftop terrace, the new building will feature a co-working space, tenant lounge, children’s playroom and fitness center. Atlantic Avenue figures to be the site of several new developments in coming years as the city and Council member Crystal Hudson plan a comprehensive rezoning for 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. “Although we don’t have many landmarks, the East New York community loves the neighborhood,” Then said. “Just to know that we have something so special in our community, it’s exciting.”
The largely industrial area went into a tailspin as manufacturing withered in New York City and crime rose in the 1970s and ’80s. Its 75th Precinct was the murder capital of the city when homicides peaked in 1990, but things have steadily improved since, although the poverty rate remains among the city’s highest. A major rezoning early in the de Blasio administration raised hopes as well as controversy, with some property buyers derided as “speculators.”
Given East New York’s relative lack of amenities and distance from central business districts, market-rate development there is not for the faint of heart. But it does have a Long Island Rail Road station, and Bushburg and Moinian’s site is within walking distance of two subway lines and a short ride from John F. Kennedy Airport.
“Our mutual desire to develop in East New York and restore one of the only landmark buildings in the area makes this opportunity particularly exciting,” said Joseph Hoffman, founder and CEO of Bushburg.
“Bushburg buys and builds right,” said Joseph Moinian, founder and CEO of Moinian Group.
Bushburg and Moinian previously partnered on PLG, a 26-story project in Prospect Lefferts Gardens that opened in 2020. At 520,000 square feet, it is one of the largest high-end apartment buildings in the neighborhood.