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 as Somers Brothers Decorated Tinware Co and after 1901, as American Can Co which built several new buildings and upgraded the original ones. By the 1930’s, portions of the complex were no longer used for manufacturing cans but the facilities generally remained in operation through World War II. In the early 1950’s, when the buildings were sold, and through the 1970’s, the complex had fallen into disrepair, and a small variety of tenants occupied most of the complex, including several renown artists.
In 1983, six of the seven buildings were acquired by its present 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 its reconstruction and restoration. In 1991, XØp moved its offices to The (OA) Can Factory, and in 1996 took over management of the complex. In 2003, XØp assumed its role as developer, and over the next several 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 grow 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