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Brewery looking for new home - Local business eyeing other parts of borough to make hometown beer

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The borough’s hometown brewery squeaked and now it appears the city is applying some grease.

Brooklyn Brewery co-owner Steve Hindy said last week the city’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC) has contacted the business about finding another location in the borough.

“The city’s showing us a lot of sites now. We’re looking at sites in Red Hook and some in Gowanus and I’m hoping we’ll be able to find a new home,” said Hindy, a former AP Middle East correspondent, who now lives with his family in Brooklyn.

The city acted following a story Hindy wrote for the Center for the Urban Future detailing the breweries plight to find a suitable space in the borough to expand their brewery.

Hindy and his 35 employees have outgrown their North 11th Street facility in Williamsburg and has informed the city of their wishes to expand for several years.

In spring of 2004, the EDC proposed the company move to Pier 7 in Red Hook, where they could share the site along with distributor, Phoenix/Beehive Beverages, the largest Heineken distributor in the world.

However, Pier 7 was controlled by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PA), which in turn leased it to American Stevedoring, which was using the pier to store cocoa beans.

The company did not want to budge from their use of the pier and the owner, Sal Catucci, had some powerful friends in Congress member Jerrold Nadler and Council member David Yassky, who opposed the mayor’s plan in full, wrote Hindy.

Eventually, American Stevedoring won and the PA backed away from its plan to transfer the piers to the city. Instead, they negotiated a long-term deal with American Stevedoring.

Meanwhile, other plans for the Brooklyn Brewery to relocate to the Gowanus Canal area fell through.

Additionally, loopholes in the industrial use rezoning of Williamsburg, which Hindy supported, made that area unaffordable as well.

Following Hindy’s story, several newspapers picked it up and in the last week the brewery has been besieged with offers to move.

Among the calls were from a congress member from the Bronx, the Queens borough president and a Nassau County executive, Hindy said.

Hindy said he has also fielded calls from some 50 real estate brokers, including an email from a New Jersey broker, noting that the New Jersey Giants and the New York Times printing and distribution plants moved to the Garden State.

Additionally, Chase Bank, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch all have offices in Jersey City, the real estate agent emailed him.

“If Bruce Ratner had not done MetroTech in Downtown Brooklyn, Jersey City would be even bigger,” said Hindy. “That’s something people don’t understand. New Jersey had an incredible head of steam until Ratner turned the tide with MetroTech.”

The stories also caught the notice of the EDC, which apparently marched to the new music.

“EDC values the Brooklyn Brewery as an important part of the city’s industrial sector,” said EDC Vice President Andrew Genn. “We will continue to work with Steve Hindy and are dedicated to finding a new home in Brooklyn where the Brewery can prosper and expand.”

Hindy said despite looking for a new site in the borough for the past four years, he is not one to play one municipality against another.

“We are committed to Brooklyn. That’s where we want to be,” he said.

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