If all goes to plan, the Brooklyn Navy Yard will be home to 15,000 new manufacturing jobs by the year 2020. To reach that number, officials plan to expand or develop four operations at the yard — The Green Manufacturing Center, Building 77, Admirals Row and Steiner Studios.
“It’s a microcosm for Brooklyn’s growth, opportunity and future. That’s the Brooklyn Navy Yard,” Carlo A Scissura, president of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, said at a press conference this morning.
For Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation CEO David Ehrenberg, the key to the development of the yard — not to mention Brooklyn’s overall growth and economic opportunity — lies in manufacturing.
Restoring The Navy Yard to its glory days is what Ehrenberg says has been the focus of his two years serving as its chief executive. Wanting to create a “balanced industrial ecosystem” within the borough, Ehrenberg says it begins by preserving the heritage of the Navy Yard while continuing to innovate, looking towards the future.
The Navy Yard is a 300-acre city owned property along the Brooklyn waterfront that currently houses 330 businesses that collectively employ 7,000 people. With roots going back 214 years, the Navy Yard has a rich history connecting it with the the manufacturing industry in Brooklyn. During the second World War, it reached a peak of employing 70,000 people, which was nearly one percent of the country’s work force at that time, according to Ehrenberg.
To restore the Navy Yard, the Brooklyn chamber has planned a 1.3-million square feet expansion within the next two years. Although the current economic impact is an estimated $2 billion, the Navy Yard wants to use its expansion plans to become an economic powerhouse for the city.
Building 77 is slated to be the largest expansion to the Navy Yard in the past 70 years. Spanning nearly one million square feet and reaching 17 stories high, it will house more than 3,000 permanent jobs and will offer most companies a lower-market rent. While rent ranges depending on size, Ehrenberg said two floors will be competitively priced in order to cross subsidize the lower floors at a cheaper cost.
“We have some debt-service to pay, and the goal is to have the lower floors pay a dramatically lower rent,” Ehrenberg said.
Amenities to the building include a public space at the bottom named “Yard Commons”, where in addition to food manufacturing, employees can eat lunch, network or hold informal meetings. Upper floors will offer private roof top space and unobstructed panoramic views of lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. The Building 77 project will cost approximately $140 million, with funds coming from the New York City Council, BNYDC Capital, New Market Tax Credits and possibly the Regional Council as well.
The Green Manufacturing Center is a $60 million adaptive re-use project of a former machine shop building. Seeking to house approximately 800 jobs in 250,000 square feet, industries such as food, design, apparel and high-tech are welcomed along with two anchor tenants — Crye Precision and New Lab. Cyre Precision, a company which produces high-tech body armor for the army, will consolidate its growing number of employees into a single wing, along with New Lab, which is a product design incubator.
Affordable grocery options near the Navy Yard will be met with the expansions to Admiral’s Row, the longest running project at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Finally expected to be completed by 2018, filling out the existing 287,000 square feet will be supermarket Wegmans as well as light industrial space with retail.
Steiner Studios, the third largest movie studio in the country, will also be expanding its square footage by an additional 960,000 square feet. New sound stages and a New York City backlot will be within nine historic structures and new buildings and is projected to create 2,200 permanent jobs within Brooklyn.
Although the movie industry isn’t traditionally thought of as manufacturing, Ehrenberg points to jobs such as carpentry and design that will be made with the expansion of the studios.
The Navy Yard chose to invest in manufacturing due to the “high quality jobs and a pathway to the middle class.” Officials pointed to data that shows how the manufacturing sector pays 40 percent more than the retail service sector and offers more opportunities for advancement.
“It’s the center of what makes Brooklyn, Brooklyn,” said Ehrenberg, calling the Navy Yard a “multi-generational project” that’s worth investing in.
The Navy Yard is apart of the trend of manufacturing in Brooklyn, including Andrew Kimball’s privately owned Industry City in Sunset Park. Once re-developed, it has an expected economic impact of $6 billion.