Brewster Building (Queens)
The Brewster Building is a 400,000-square-foot (37,000 m2) building at 27-01 Queens Plaza North in Long Island City, Queens, New York City. Once an assembly plant for Rolls Royce cars and Brewster cars and Brewster Buffalo airplanes, it is now the corporate headquarters for JetBlue.
The building designed by Stephenson & Wheeler opened in 1911 to handle the assembly of the chassis for the Brewster cars that were being built since 1905 at 47th Street and Broadway in Times Square in nearby Manhattan. The building was one of the first major developments at the foot of the Queensboro Bridge, opened in 1909, which reduced car transport from Queens to Times Square to a matter of minutes. In 1915 it began building the Brewster Knight.
In 1925, the company was bought by Rolls-Royce of America, which had been operating out of a plant in Springfield, Massachusetts. In 1931, the Rolls Royce Springfield operation ended. From 1931 to 1934, Rolls-Royce Phantom II chassis were shipped directly to the Long Island City plant when Rolls Royce terminated its United States assembly program.
From 1934 to 1936, under J. S. Inskip, Brewster automobiles using Ford chassis were built at the plant. The Brewster operation ceased in 1936. The Brewster Aeronautical Corporation manufactured the Brewster F2A Buffalo and a version of the Vought F4U Corsair known as the F3A-1 during World War II at the plant. The multi-story layout of the building limited airplane production efficiency. The aircraft were flown from Roosevelt Field (airport) in nearby Mineola.
The building fell into disrepair following the war and its landmark clock tower was dismantled in 1950. A series of garment manufacturers occupied the building until 1996. In 1996, Brause Realty extensively remodeled the building and an adjoining 12-story tower and it became an operational center for Metropolitan Life Insurance with 1,500 employees.
In 2010, JetBlue announced it would combine its existing large Kew Gardens, New York and existing small 70-person Darien, Connecticut office staff members into the building, bringing 1,000 employees to it. JetBlue is the only major airline headquartered in New York City. The new headquarters is 6 miles (9.7 km) from the previous one. JetBlue, looking for a new corporate headquarters, had also considered Orlando, Florida. As part of taking on the moniker of being the hometown airline of New York City, JetBlue announced it would be joint branding the "I Love New York" logo. JetBlue stated in 2012 that it plans to construct a 40-foot (12 m) lighted sign stating "JetBlue" on top of the 8th floor, adjacent to the outdoor terrace.
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