Gretsch Musical Instrument Factory

Brooklyn is full of history with so many factories turned that have been converted to condominiums. Here’s a little history lesson for ya’ll on the building where we currently have a $1.45 million dollar listing at…

Before Williamsburg was known for vinyl and glamour. Williamsburg was an important neighborhood in manufacturing. A lot of factories were located in Williamsburg because it was near the waterfront. If you happen to walk by the famous Domino Sugar Plant and start walking towards Broadway from South 6th street you will come across to the Gretsch Musical Instrument factory. The Gretsch is probably better known as a pioneer in the luxury loft conversion in South Williamsburg and being redesigned by the infamous Karl Fischer.  The 10 story building was built in 1916 to replace the previous Gretsch factory building which was located at 104 at 114 South Fourth Street. This was actually the fourth Gretsch factory built to keep up with the demands of production.

Gretsch building 1916

Friedrich Gretsch, established the company in 1883 when he opened a little shop at 128 Middleton Street in Brooklyn. There he and a few workmen made drums, banjos, tambourines, and other musical items. His son, Fred Gretsch Sr. took over the company became in charge of the company after Friedrich Gretsch Sr passed away. He was only fifteen years old when he took over and  did a pretty damn good job turning the business into the largest instruments manufacture in the United States. This building is probably more famous than the other buildings since it was used appear on the pages of Gretsch catalogs, flyers, and advertisements. This building specialized in the production of guitars and drums, then only to guitars when the beatles started to use the company guitars it became an epidemic. In the late sixties the  company wasn’t doing so well and it was sold to another instrument company Baldwin Piano Company. Which also resulted in the company moving from Brooklyn to Arkansas. In 1985, the founder’s great grandson Fred W. Gretsch, buys back the company and returns it to the family. He locates the company in South Carolina.

In 1999, the family sold the building to a developer, which converted the factory into a condominium. Like I stated earlier, the factory was one of the earliest factories to fall into the conversion trend. The 200,000 square foot manufacturing building was converted into 120 loft condominiums. The building obviously has a great view of the Manhattan skyline since it’s two short blocks from the waterfront. The ceilings varies from twelve to fifteen feet high. It also has a gym and roof deck.  The building has a low-key appeal to anyone new to the area because of the building exterior you wouldn’t guess it’s a condominium. But the building isn’t anything, but low-key it’s an OG when it comes to the world of abandoned factories converted to condominiums. Rapper Busta Rhymes lived here.

A special thanks to Elias Marte for writing today’s blog – Team Armstrong’s newest team member and Brooklyn native. Click here to check out his blog “Stay Crispy My Friends.”

Check out our current listing in The Gretsch Building!

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