St. Ann's Warehouse Secures Permanent Home in Brooklyn Bridge Park
After many years in donated and rental space, St. Ann's Warehouse has officially secured a permanent home in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Mayor Bloomberg announced that the Brooklyn Bridge Park Board of Directors has approved a long-term lease with the internationally renowned arts organization to develop a year-round performing arts facility and community hub in the Tobacco Warehouse, an iconic structure on the waterfront in Brooklyn Bridge Park. The announcement follows the recent completion of the federal conversion process enabling St. Ann's Warehouse to activate the space. The organization will break ground later this fall (date TBA), beginning the process to preserve and adapt the historic pre-Civil War building. St. Ann's Warehouse hopes to begin presenting in the Tobacco Warehouse in the fall of 2015.
St. Ann's Warehouse Founder and Artistic Director Susan Feldman said, "After activating found spaces for cultural use in downtown Brooklyn since in 1980, we are excited to do so once more-this time making a permanent home for the arts and community events on the Brooklyn Waterfront in one of the city's most awe-inspiring locales. We look forward to transforming the Tobacco Warehouse into a welcoming place where artists, audience members, city residents and visitors can gather all year long."
Joseph S. Steinberg, Chairman of the Board of Directors of St. Ann's Warehouse, said, "We are thrilled to realize our longstanding dream to rebuild the Tobacco Warehouse as a home for St. Ann's Warehouse."
Originally constructed in 1861, the Tobacco Warehouse, in its current, roofless state, assumes a trapezoidal footprint made up of a rectangle and an adjacent triangle. The St. Ann's Warehouse design, created with Marvel Architects PLLC, envisions an 18,000 SF enclosed building with a flexible performance space the size and signature style of St. Ann's previous warehouse theaters; a second, 1,000 SF multi-use space that will be used as a Community Room for local artists, educational and community groups; artists' support spaces; and a waterside lobby with many archways and access points to Brooklyn Bridge Park. The original brick walls are to be preserved and visible throughout the foyers, theater and Community Room. The Community Room, a glass-enclosed vestibule, artists' dressing rooms, audience restrooms, storage, administrative and Production Offices are self-contained in a two-story "bulkhead" with mechanical systems on its roof.
The 7,600 SF triangle space will be left open-air, and is imagined as a walled birch tree grove, to be landscaped by Michael Van Valkenberg Associates and open to the public, through its many open arches, during Park hours. The original walls for the Triangle Garden will be experienced first-hand by park visitors seeking shelter from the wind or shade from the sun. It may also serve as an entranceway for theatergoers and Community Room attendees from New Dock Street.
St. Ann's Warehouse has undertaken a $27 million capital campaign to preserve the walls and activate the Tobacco Warehouse. To date, the organization has secured $24.2 million from public and private sources.
St. Ann's Warehouse began as Arts at St. Ann's, a program for the National Historic Landmark Church of St. Ann and the Holy Trinity in Brooklyn Heights from 1980-2000. As The St. Ann Center for Restoration and the Arts, Inc, the organization evolved to oversee the restoration of the church's historic staiNed Glass windows, wood frames and brownstone façade in association with the New York Landmarks Conservancy and World Monuments Fund. In 2001, the Walentas family donated use of a former spice-milling warehouse at 38 Water Street in DUMBO, where The St. Ann Center became St. Ann's Warehouse, artistic home for American avant-garde companies (The Wooster Group, Mabou Mines) international companies and artists of distinction (Enda Walsh, Daniel Kitson, Kneehigh Theatre, TR Warszawa, National Theatre of Scotland), and emerging artists (Cynthia Hopkins, Dan Hurlin). St. Ann's Warehouse has built a global reputation over the last twelve years presenting an eclectic body of innovative theater and concerts. When 38 Water Street was to be demolished last year, St Ann's built a temporary home in its current warehouse at 29 Jay Street, thanks to landlord Forman Ferry LLC.