Brooklyn’s Offerman Building was built for Henry Offerman, a wealthy sugar magnate, who envisioned a department store in the building. It was constructed in two phases from 1890 to 1893. The building was designed by Danish-American architect Peter Lauritzen, who lived near Offerman and was also active in community life in Brooklyn. The Offerman Building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, currently houses both retail and residential spaces.
Located on the Fulton Street Mall, the Offerman Building was the work
of Henry Offerman, who was president of the Brooklyn Sugar Refining Company. Offerman
made a fortune in the sugar industry, but eventually branched out into real
Danish-born architect Peter Lauritzen was commissioned to design the
building. Lauritzen was, like Offerman, a resident of Brooklyn and designed numerous
buildings in the borough, including the Union League Club building in Crown
Heights and several firehouses. The building was constructed in two phases,
from 1890 to 1893. It is a striking building constructed in the Romanesque
Revival style and features a rotunda and ornate terra cotta ornamentation on
the façade. At the time of its construction, the building was one of the
tallest in Brooklyn.
Numerous retail outlets have occupied the building over the years, but
the most well-known tenant was Martin’s Department Store, which operated in the
building for more than 50 years before closing in 1979. Martin’s was a high-end
department store which specialized in bridal wear.
Recently, the Offerman Building has been transformed into the Offerman
House. The ground floor houses several well-known retailers, including Nordstrom
Rack and Old Navy, but the top five floors have been converted into apartments.
The building was named a New York City Landmark in 2005 and was added to the
National Register of Historic Places in 2017.