Butler Brother’s Warehouse Next on PAD Chopping Block

The 1905 Butler Brother's Warehouse in Jersey City's powerhouse arts district

The 1905 Butler Brother’s Warehouse may be the next razed building in the formerly historic Powerhouse Arts District. The owner of the warehouse says the building is ready to collapse, mirroring arguments made by Lloyd Goldman, owner of the former Lorillard warehouse.

The fight over 111 First Street began when the city refused to allow a tower to rise from the center of the structure. That set off a series of lawsuits, including those filed by artist tenants, and counter suits by the developer. Eventually Goldman claimed the warehouse ready to collapse due to structural problems.

The city settled the dispute by allowing the warehouse to come down; starachitect Rem Koolhaus announced a design for the site further appeasing city officials who enjoyed the wave of national attention from the announcement. The ambitious Koolhaus design with multiple cantilevers may not be built for quite sometime, if at all. The developer is currently using the property as a staging area for the under construction 110 First Street. But more importantly, the cantilevers may add high costs the developer is unwilling to bear, particularly in a slowing economy.

Next up was the Manishevitz factory bought by the Toll Brothers for three high rise towers. The city capitulated to their request to rezone the property, setting off fears in the preservationist community that they were opening the flood gates to high rise development in the former warehouse district. Apparently, they were right.

The Butler Warehouse is one proposed location for the Port Authority’s substation that is currently adjacent to the Powerhouse. Work cannot commence on renovating the Powerhouse until the substation is moved. Another possible location is a parcel of land next to the Powerhouse that originally was planned as a park.

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