With the infusion of $1 billion in private investment, a long-neglected property on the Brooklyn waterfront will become a leading center of innovation and manufacturing, spurring jobs for nearly 20,000 people.
Details of the plan for the redevelopment of Industry City – the largest privately-owned industrial complex in New York City – were made public on Monday at an event sponsored by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.
Industry City CEO Andrew Kimball unveiled details of the plan to transform the 16-building, six million-square-foot waterfront industrial complex in Sunset Park into one of the country’s premier centers for today’s rapidly emerging “innovation economy.” Implementation of the plan requires a rezoning to be considered through a public review process.
The strategic redevelopment of the property – launched just over a year ago by a partnership consisting of Belvedere Capital, Jamestown Properties, Angelo Gordon, along with Cammeby’s International and FBE Limited – included an initial $100 million investment that led to the leasing of 850,000 square feet of space and the creation of 1,500 jobs at Industry City.
Encouraged by the success of this initial investment, the property’s owners are now prepared to move forward with the larger redevelopment program. To fully actualize the plan for the innovation-era industrial complex, the private-sector consortium is seeking permission from the City of New York to introduce new uses such as complimentary university-based academic facilities, additional retail amenities, and a new hospitality center with meeting space and hotel rooms to serve Industry City’s growing Kimball – who played a leading role in the successful transformation of the Brooklyn Navy Yard – said the 30-acre site would become an innovation ecosystem with high-employment, productive uses supporting innovation economy companies.
The innovation economy captures the full arc of making a product, from initial research and development, to engineering and design and the actual manufacturing and production by both traditional manufacturers and tech-driven “makers.”
The industries that comprise the innovation economy – art and design, film and TV, fashion, tech and food – are New York City’s fastest growing sectors and offer good-paying jobs that are highly accessible to people with a wide range of educational backgrounds and skillsets.
“The $100 million pilot implemented over the last year demonstrates that with new investment, Industry City can again be a major driver in the regional economy,” said Kimball.
“This forward-looking initiative will transform Industry City into a wellspring of creativity, opportunity and economic expansion that generates tens of thousands of good jobs for New Yorkers.
“Within the foreseeable future Industry City will become a national template for urban innovation economy transformation.”
“Modern innovation economy businesses are locating in urban, mixed-use areas near other complementary businesses, and they thrive on such critical amenities as transportation, retail, academic and research facilities,” he said.
“Building upon this strategic model, Industry City is today poised to regain its status as a major economic driver for Sunset Park, Brooklyn, and the City of New York.”
The plan will fully activate the long-dormant complex and spur creation of 13,300 direct, on-site jobs at the Sunset Park campus within 12 years. An additional 5,800 indirect jobs are expected to be generated off-site, benefiting Sunset Park, Brooklyn, and the other boroughs.
If approved, the full redevelopment will generate an annual economic impact of $6 billion and annual City revenues of $97 million. The $890 million investment by the property’s owners will spur an additional $150 million investment by tenants, bringing the total private capital investment to over $1 billion.
When completed, two-thirds of Industry City will house high employment “innovation economy” tenants, with the remainder used for community, academic, hospitality, retail and warehousing purposes.
To bolster local hiring and expand the project’s reach beyond its walls, the plan includes an on-site employment center offering local residents pre-screening and job placement resources, entrepreneurship and small business services, and technology training. The center will include all of Industry City’s local workforce development partners, as well as an academic partner that staffs the training facility.
“Our vision for Industry City restores and re-imagines a long underutilized relic for today’s innovation economy, opens the doors of opportunity for thousands of New Yorkers, and serves to revive Brooklyn’s working waterfront for generations to come,” said Mr. Kimball.
“Brooklyn’s innovation economy has been a driving force behind the rebirth of the borough, and Industry City’s groundbreaking plan will take us to a whole new level,” said Brooklyn Chamber President and CEO Carlo A. Scissura. “Not only will this proposal create almost 20,000 jobs, but it will provide an incredible home to Brooklyn’s world-renowned makers for decades to come, and employ community residents from Sunset Park, Brooklyn and all of New York. Congratulations to Andrew Kimball and
Industry City, and I look forward to continuing to work with them to put Brooklyn at the forefront of the manufacturing world.”
Notable tenant acquisitions since the partnership’s initial investment include MakerBot, which is leasing more than 250,000 square feet for 3-D printer design and manufacturing, a wide range of artisanal food makers, including Li-Lac Chocolates and Liddabit Sweets, a growing number of fashion and accessories designers, including Alexis Bittar, Malia Mills and Steven Alan, and tech and media companies such as Film Rise and Media 3, as well as the Brooklyn Nets, which is currently constructing a new practice facility at the property.