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Artisanal Brands cheese first to sign on with Chelsea Market developer’s LIC spot

Photo by Bill Parry
By Bill Parry

The developer behind Manhattan’s Chelsea Market is busy transforming an old Long Island City warehouse, and one premium cheese maker said he has already inked a deal to move in.

Jamestown Properties acquired The Falchi Building, at 31-00 47th Ave., last year for more than $80 million, property records show. The former Gimbel’s warehouse has more than 650,000 square feet of mixed-use office space and takes up an entire city block. Filings with the city Department of Buildings show plans to install a new store font in the building’s lobby and renovate several floors.

Jamestown is in talks with vendors from Long Island City’s food-production incubator Entrepreneur Space to take up residence within the location, Queens Economic Development Corp. spokesman Rob MacKay said.

One big name to sign a long-term lease is Artisanal Brands Inc., makers of the Artisanal Premium Cheese brand popular in many city restaurants, according to the company’s founder.

Artisanal will move its entire headquarters into The Falchi Building and open a ground floor retail space, with a cheese aging facility, as well as the first artisanal cheese cafe, according to company founder and CEO Daniel Dowe.

He expects the retail facility to be open in time for the holidays this year with the cafe to follow at year’s end.

The two-year-long search for a property that was suitable for Artisanal’s headquarters led its founder to the warehouse section of Long Island City, just south of LaGuardia Community College.

Dowe said he is not concerned the location might intimidate cheese enthusiasts.

“We’re going to bring a whole new dimension to the neighborhood,” he said, adding, “it’s a transformational neighborhood that’s changing and gentrifying quickly.”

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.

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