A coalition of Brooklyn organizations is spearheading an effort to bring Brooklyn’s multi-billion dollar tech scene to new heights.
The Brooklyn Tech Triangle coalition – led by the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, the DUMBO Improvement District and the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation – has issued an RFP asking for proposals that would provide infrastructure, workforce and transportation innovations to help Brooklyn’s tech seen reach its true potential.
“As the economic development community in the greater Brooklyn area, we’re coming together on a grassroots level to develop a strategy to support the growth of the tech sector,” said Tucker Reed, president of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership. “The growth that we’ve seen to date has been very organic – a combination of enlightened landlords and companies that have discovered the potential here. What we want to do is bring in some public resources and really turn it up a notch.”
In March, the coalition hired Urbanomics, an independent consulting firm, to study Brooklyn’s tech scene, which ultimately found that the sector employs 9,628 people and generates $3.1 billion annually, Reed said. But Brooklyn could realize exponential growth if existing gaps are closed and new links are developed within the Brooklyn Triangle, organizers said.
The RFPs should aim to improve infrastructure; to better link DUMBO, Downtown Brooklyn and the Navy Yard, both figuratively and literally, and from a pedestrian and a public transportation standpoint; and to facilitate programs that encourage local participation in the sector.
Responses will likely come from a consortium of experts in a range of industries who specialize in workforce development, urban design and land use, economic development consulting, and academics, Reed said. While the Brooklyn Tech Triangle coalition feels “affection towards Brooklyn-based firms,” there are no limitations on applicants’ location, he added.
“We are looking for creative, tangible actions that we can take to meet the high demand for office space in DUMBO and ways we can grow these companies throughout the area,” said Alexandria Sica, executive director of the DUMBO Improvement District, in a statement. “DUMBO has become the destination for the tech industry in New York City and the master plan will be important to ensuring Brooklyn can keep growing its tech scene… from street level, to virtual connections, this is a major opportunity.”
Organizers hope to alleviate the pressure in areas where the tech scene is busting at the seams. The Brooklyn Navy Yard, for example, is a modern industrial park with a range of tenants in industries as diverse as construction, theatrical set design, computer supply, contracting, media communications and promotions, metal fabrication and electronics distribution.
But with more than 40 buildings, 275 tenants and nearly 6,000 workers amid its four million square feet of leasable space, getting around isn’t always easy.
“Whether it’s computer operated machinery, film post-production, or high-end design, 21st century manufacturing at the Navy Yard is being driven by technology innovation,” said Andrew Kimball, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, in a statement. “Our growth is only confined by the lack of space and access to mass transit.”
Proposals are due by August 10.