At first glance, 199 Cook Street looks like a typical three-story warehouse in Bushwick. But wait, is that a fire escape that’s actually up to code? A wheelchair ramp? A concrete grotto? What’s happening here?
The Mann Group is happening. Last year we told you about the Greenpoint-based real estate firm’s plan to turn a 35,000-square-foot warehouse, purchased for $6 million in 2013, into an “industrial arts complex.” Now, the company is putting together a below-ground food hall featuring multiple vendors and an outdoor space. A representative enthused that it would be the only one of its kind in Bushwick.
Moving on up, the first floor has offices, events space, and a rentable gallery space. The building’s second and third floors contain office and studio spaces.
Clients began moving in on November 30; Eyebeam was holding an opening party the night I visited.
Opened in 1998 and previously located in Sunset Park, Eyebeam is a residency program that gives artists access to some nice tech gear so they can explore new possibilities without being obligated to produce work. The non-profit also uses artists for its educational programs, and has previously worked with Shirin Neshat, Cory Arcangel, Mary Mattingly, and Buzzfeed co-founder Jonah Peretti. Its public programs are expected to launch in spring of next year.
Eyebeam’s most recent addition is BUFU, a collective of queer, femme and non-binary, black, and East Asian artists and organizers.
The studios at 199 Cook are said to be around 75 percent booked, even though the building is still under construction.
The Mann Group decided not to run plumbing through the studio spaces, making it more difficult for people to try to live there. “[Tenants] are tired of having people drinking and smoking in the hallways,” explained Eitan Earnest, Director of Acquisitions at The Mann Group. “They are looking for ‘nice, professional, clean,’ and they need to know no one is going to be living there.”