The Old American Can Factory is an historic, six-building, 130,000 sq ft industrial complex in Gowanus, Brooklyn that houses a curated community of more than 300 artisans, visual/performing artists, poets/writers, filmmakers, architects/designers, publishers, non-profit organizations and others working in the creative industries.
The (OA) Can Factory was developed and is operated by XØ Projects Inc (XØp).
The (OA) Can Factory complex was built in phases between c. 1884 and c. 1910, first by Somers Brothers Decorated Tinware Co and after 1901, by American Can Co, which added several new buildings and upgraded the older ones. By the 1930’s, portions of the complex were no longer used for manufacturing cans, and generally remained in operation through World War II. In the early 1950’s, American Can Co. sold the the complex and from then and until the early 1980’s, the buildings had fallen into disrepair, with a just a few tenants occuping much of the complex, and which consisted of just 15 very large spaces.
In 1983, six of the seven buildings were acquired by the current ownership, and modest improvements were made to stabilize and improve the buildings. In 1989, after a major fire destroyed most of the rear mill building, XØp was engaged to lead the mill building’s reconstruction. In 1991, XØp moved its offices to complex, and in 1996 took over management of the complex and named it “The Old American Can Factory.” In 2003, XØp assumed the role as developer, and over the following years, completed the redevelopment of all six buildings with a focus on serving the arts and culture industries.
To that end, XØp has produced and presented hundreds of exhibitions, performances, markets, lectures and other cultural events in and around the complex, often in collaboration with other institutions, to audiences totaling more than 100,000 persons.
In 2013, XØp initiated a comprehensive planning process to explore growing The (OA) Can Factory community by building an additional ~200,000 sq ft to accommodate a mixed-use development and continuing its focus on art, design and cultural uses. The expanded facilities would allow for additional artisan manufacturing and office space, and also accommodate work-live units for artists, designers and artisans, especially for those that are aging, in addition to providing Mandatory Inclusionary Housing. The complex will be known as INDUSTRIANA®GC at The (OA) Can Factory.
The plan for INDUSTRIANA®GC was guided in part by Bridging Gowanus, a community-wide visioning process initiated by Councilman Brad Lander in 2014. Currently, XØp is working with city agencies to confirm an ‘as-of-right’ path to realizing that development plan within the city’s broader Gowanus re-zoning process.
Additional information about The (OA) Can Factory and its future is available upon request.
For information about XØ Projects Inc, go to XOPROJECTS.COM