Faced with a slow recovery, rising fuel prices, a conservative consumer, changing shipping lanes and increasing urbanization, industrial property owners must cope with a dramatically changing landscape.
Urban industrial space, in particular, sometimes sits vacant as big box retailers take more space in the suburbs.
Rather than falling prey to the wrecking ball, these properties can inspire creative redevelopment.
Kalmon Dolgin Affiliates, Inc. (KDA) has been taking a unique approach to solving the problem of the city’s empty storage space by converting former manufacturing buildings into attractive mixed-use destinations.
Case in point, the 87,500 s/f former commercial bakery building situated at 33 Nassau Avenue in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn, on the northern edge of trendy McCarren Park.
In 2008, the KDA team completely gutted and converted the building into offices, light manufacturing and retail use, and it began leasing up the 33 Nassau LLC-owned property the following year. By July 2011, KDA had successfully filled the entire building, only 24 months after renovations were completed.
The site, which is located near a string of high-end residential buildings, now boasts a wide range of tenants from Vespa motor scooters, web site designer Blenderbox and City Aquarium, a custom manufacturer and installer high-end aquariums, to a trendy restaurant/bar by restaurateur Robert Shamliam, renowned chocolatier Mariebelle Chocolates and SBK Florists.
Other retailers at the historic property include physical trainer Human@Ease, children’s clothing and play area Phoenix and Nola, Brazilian Jujitsu, jewelry designer VS Collective, Studio G and Mechanical East.
In addition, 33 Nassau is garnering considerable attention from office users, including start-up companies as well as New York City-based entrepreneurs in search of a trendy location, but without Manhattan’s steep rental rates.
Already, the property’s lower rents combined with its central location, less than five minutes from Manhattan, have attracted Fresh Space of Williamsburg LLC, a company that offers ready-to-lease, flexible small office suites, which began leasing space on the second floor in May.
“Numerous attributes make many vacant urban industrial buildings attractive redevelopment candidates, including proximity to major transportation hubs and thoroughfares, architectural interest, potential for open-plan layouts and high ceilings,” said Neil Dolgin, co-president of KDA.
What’s more, this renovation project saved an icon that had fallen into disrepair. “Once a blight on the landscape, vacant or dilapidated industrial buildings now offer opportunities for innovative developers such as Kalmon Dolgin.
“Whether it’s converting these buildings into retail, office, multifamily or mixed-use, we have firmly positioned ourselves at the forefront of this trend as both owners and brokers.”