Hotels, Retail Push out Makers in Brooklyn

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This long look at industrial space in North Brooklyn’s rezoned areas kicks off a new series of reported long-form stories at Curbed.

The tale follows wood and metal worker Michael Smart, whose rent on his Greenpoint workspace more than doubles from about $7,400 to more than $16,000 a month. Luckily, he is able to find a new, affordable space at the Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center, a nonprofit industrial developer, for his antiques restoration company, Urban Aesthetics.

The story notes that even in specially designated and protected industrial areas such as the Williamsburg IBZ, factories and workshops are being pushed out by hotels and retail. In fact, Williamsburg retailer The Brooklyn Denim Co.’s new Greenpoint store is opening in Smart’s old space.

When we visited the Williamsburg IBZ recently, the area of mostly low-slung warehouses around North 12th near the water where the Wythe Hotel and Brooklyn Bowl are located and more hotels and nightclubs are going in, above, just about every building had a new sign on it saying “available.”

It seemed like a strange coincidence that so many buildings would have vacancies at once, just as property values are shooting up in the area. Well — the Curbed story said a landlord on Berry Street cut a hole in the roof of his own building, purposefully flooding it to get the manufacturing tenants to leave.

The story suggested the city should eliminate these loopholes and keep these areas industrial. Some Curbed commenters ridiculed the idea, saying there is no lack of manufacturing space elsewhere in the city, such as in East New York and the Bronx. What do you think?

How a Decade of Rezoning Changed the City of Industry [Curbed]