Boaz Gilad’s Brookland Capital, which has cut a swathe through Brooklyn from Prospect Heights to Flatbush with more than 40 active projects, is now expanding to East Williamsburg. The firm is in contract to purchase a former condensed milk factory at 850 Metropolitan Avenue, which it plans to convert into a 36-unit condo building, The Real Deal reported.
Brookland will pay just under $10,000,000 for the 28,000-square-foot factory, which currently houses knitwear manufacturer Rags Knitwear. “It’s got a great industrial feel,” the paper quoted Gilad as saying of the building.
A group of artists living in a converted industrial warehouse in Red Hook, above, are suing the landlord to make the building rent stabilized retroactively, The Wall Street Journal reported. At the same time, Brooklyn Deputy Borough President Diana Reyna has been speaking out about the importance of maintaining Brooklyn’s industrial spaces for manufacturing use to keep jobs in the area, while Borough President Eric Adams is saying his No. 1 priority is encouraging the growth of more below-market rate housing, according to The Brooklyn Paper.
Reyna is pushing to have the Pfizer building complex on the Williamsburg Bed Stuy border designated part of an Industrial Business Zone that cannot be converted to residential and with incentives for manufacturing. Though as we noted last week, manufacturing tenants are moving out of industrial buildings in the IBZ in North Williamsburg as they are turned into more lucrative hotels and stores.
“We’ve got to keep Brooklyn affordable, that’s the No. 1 thing,” the Brooklyn Paper quoted Adams as saying.
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?
Successful tech startup Kickstarter — the crowd-funding company quickly turned a profit — is moving into its newly renovated headquarters in one of the landmarked pencil factory buildings in Greenpoint within the next couple weeks, according to a blog post from venture capitalist Fred Wilson.
As previously reported, the company bought the former Eberhard Pencil Factory building at 58 Kent Street for $3,600,000 using capital from a round of funding. Tech startups don’t usually buy buildings with their vc money, but considering the state of Brooklyn real estate, it was probably an inspired move.
Architect Ole Sondresen’s plans included building a glass box on the inside for the company’s offices and using sustainable and recycled materials, such as insulation made out of recycled jeans.
The latest study out on Gowanus finds industrial and commercial businesses thriving there, even if all the activity isn’t always visible from the street. Food, film, arts, and artisanal manufacturing are the most popular categories, said DNAinfo, which reported ob the study.
The report found more than 420 businesses located there, accounting for about 3,500 jobs. “Many of the businesses are almost invisible because they’re hidden inside unmarked buildings that can look derelict at first glance,” said DNAinfo. “But the quiet exteriors mask interiors humming with entrepreneurial activity.”
Unsurprisingly, food was a biggie with 41 businesses, but amazingly, there are 27 film-related businesses located in the area. Some of the more unusual manufacturers include a neon sign maker, a glass blower, a caster of metal sculptures, dozens of art studios, an antique instrument repair shop, a soap maker, and a clothing designer.
The research was conducted by Starr Whitehouse and funded by New York State’s Brownfield Opportunity Area Program, which identifies opportunities in environmentally contaminated areas. Part of the research included a door-to-door survey.
The number of jobs in the area increased 83 percent between 2002 and 2011, the report said. The study also mentioned a 2006 rezoning, which allows hotels, gyms, restaurants, and nightclubs in the area, all of which are coming in and may make it harder for industrial businesses to thrive there, the report said.
The City Planning Commission approved a rezoning for a mostly empty industrial site covering at least five large blocks in Bushwick despite residents being upset that the local community board had voted on it behind closed doors. Community Board 4 approved the proposal in June but asked for more affordable housing.
The rezoning will permit 10 eight-story “70-and 80-foot towers, 977 apartments (many of them luxury units), retail, added streets, a school and additional open space,” according to DNAinfo. Only 24 percent, or 242, of the rental units would be “affordable,” said the Daily News. Retail, courtyards, and a garden would take up 54,000 square feet.
A new group called the Northwest Bushwick Community Group has formed to lobby for affordable housing and plans to meet with developer Read Properties, according to the Daily News. The development site is the old Rheingold brewery, which closed in the 1970s.
The rezoning still has to be approved by the City Council. The complex is supposed to be finished by 2016.
Industry City is wasting no time realizing its vision for a new era of local manufacturing in Brooklyn since Jamestown Properties came on board as managing partner in September. They’re bringing on artisanal and local manufacturers as tenants, such as Alexandra Ferguson, who makes eco-friendly pillows out of recycled materials, reported NY1. Industry City chief executive officer Andrew Kimball, formerly chief executive of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corp., said he hopes to double the number of tenants, currently about 400.
To that end, Industry City is repairing broken windows and other damage caused by Hurricane Sandy to its 16 buildings over 30 acres. Industry City is also flinging open its doors to the public, confident that a mix of retail, manufacturing, food and other attractions, such as art, will bring jobs, revenue, and new commercial tenants to the area. Already on offer are tours and, starting this past weekend, an art exhibit and retail pop-up market. The art exhibit, “Come together: Surviving Sandy” focuses on art about the resilience of the community in the face of Hurricane Sandy. Above, a sculpture outside one of the buildings in Industry City.
A huge pop-up market for New York City designers and makers will take place this weekend and next at Industry City in Sunset Park. Factory Floor, as it is being called, will include furniture, lighting, wall coverings and home accessories over 22,000 square feet in the old Bush Terminal manufacturing complex. There will also be DJs, food trucks and games for children. For a list of designers, go here.
The market is being presented by Industry City, BKLYN Designs and the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, with support from Made in NYC and the Pratt Center for Community Development.
“The creative and innovative makers community in Brooklyn and across the city is the key to moving the city’s innovation economy forward through production of sophisticated, high-quality products,” said Andrew Kimball, CEO of Industry City and former chief executive of the Navy Yard Development Corp. in a prepared statement. “Factory Floor will give these local manufacturers an opportunity to showcase and sell their designs to a larger consumer audience.”
The market will run Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am to 6 pm starting October 19 at 241 37th Street.
“Our goal is to remove the bottleneck that exists between design-savvy local consumers and the tremendous cache of indigenous talent creating their products in Brooklyn and city-wide,” said Carlo Scissura, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. “Factory Floor provides a new opportunity to elevate Brooklyn as a worldwide epicenter of design and boutique manufacturing.”
New businesses, particularly in small-scale manufacturing and craft goods, have shot up in Gowanus since 2000, according to a report cited in the New York Daily News. Wholesalers and crafts makers producing specialty items such as custom wedding dresses, coffee and vinyl furniture covers explain much of the neighborhood’s 44 percent increase in new business over the last 13 years. The report, conducted by the Bloomberg administration, also shows rapid gentrification of the area: Property values have soared 83 percent since 2004, as the median income has risen from $46,116 in 1999 to $99,543. What’s more, the population is up by 2,600 in the last three years, and 25 percent of residents are aged 25 to 34.
Andrew Paul Smith, a broker with Ideal Properties Group, told the Daily News, “I have a lot of clients in their late 20s who want to move here because places like Park Slope have more families and strollers around. Here they can continue to be cool.”
New management at Sunset Park’s Industry City industrial complex on the waterfront plans to refashion it into a hub for new-Brooklyn manufacturing (tech, artisanal, food) that the public can visit. The investors hope this strategy will raise the value of the complex, which was appraised at only $136,000,000 last year, reported The Wall Street Journal.
The strategy is modeled after the highly successful Chelsea Market in Manhattan, developed by Jamestown LP, also one of the new owners of Industry City. The former National Biscuit Co. factory houses retail space on the ground floor where tenants manufacture and sell to the public. The new owners plan to do the same here. The upper floors of the complex house Google and Scripps Networks offices, also the kind of new economy companies Industry City hopes to attract.
Demand at the similarly revamped industrial waterfront space the Brooklyn Navy Yard exceeds supply, said Industry City chief executive officer Andrew Kimball, formerly chief executive of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corp. Industry City management plans to upgrade the electrical system, damaged in Hurricane Sandy, and the industrial spaces, as well as seek other improvements in the area, such as ferry service and bike lanes, said the story.
Recently added tenants include maker of three-dimensional printers MakerBot; Red Rabbit, maker of “healthy school lunches”; and artisanal ice cream manufacturer Blue Marble. Space ranges from $4 a square foot for storage to $12 a square foot for manufacturing. At its peak, about 25,000 people worked there, said the Journal, but efforts to revive the facility stalled during the financial crisis.
“Occupancy slid to around 60 percent, from 87.2 percent in 2007, and the property’s loan went into default in 2011. Superstorm Sandy delivered another blow by flooding parts of the property last year,” said the paper. The new group of investors, which includes Jamestown LP, Belvedere Capital Real Estate Partners and Angelo Gordon & Co., took a half stake and promised to invest $35,000,000 and take on part of the $300,000,000 debt. “For the new investors, the deal pays off only if they can significantly raise the property’s value,” said the story.
“What is interesting is a sort of redefining of what manufacturing is,” said Kimball. “You’ve got a tremendously well-educated creative class that wants to make cool things again near where they live.”
Chelsea Market developer and owner Jamestown Properties and two partners are in contract to buy a stake in Sunset Park’s waterfront manufacturing and artist loft complex Industry City, Crain’s reported. The former chief executive of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Andrew Kimball, who left the Yard for Jamestown earlier this year, will become chief executive of the complex, according to the story. The complex, also known as Bush Terminal, has 17 buildings over 6.5 million square feet, and is owned by Industry City Associates, according to the company’s own web site. “The deal appears to be a bet that the emergence of Brooklyn as both a hip global brand for food, culture and merchandise, and the headquarters of a homegrown manufacturing movement in the city that has transformed spaces like the Brooklyn Navy Yard will continue to scale up. The city-owned Brooklyn Army terminal, just south of Industry City already boasts dozens of tenants in its 4 million square feet of space,” said Crain’s. Or, in the words of Jamestown’s chief operating officer quoted in the story, “there’s a variety of different uses, from food manufacturing to clothing to technology to media that all want to come together and be near each other where their creativity feeds off of one another in this kind of space. The definition of manufacturing has changed and there’s a broader base of tenants who can use these types of spaces.” The complex was damaged by Hurricane Sandy. About 60 percent of the space is currently occupied, much of it for storage. Jamestown said it would invest in renovations. The story did not say whether plans are afoot to introduce retail or community space into the mix. The deal is expected to close in October.
After a furniture store tenant left last year, a small developer and property manager gutted and redesigned this space into a live-work loft in Sunset Park for a visual artist. Hernco Properties has owned the property since 1985. The building’s original style became the inspiration for the redesign. “Since the property was built with early 20th century details, we wanted to keep that aesthetic,” particularly in the kitchen and bath, said Hernco Property Manager Keith Hernandez. In other areas, they exposed the beams and brick. Work started in December and finished in March. The artist who is now renting the space saw it before construction started and planned to use it as a live-work studio. So accordingly, Hernco placed the bedroom, kitchen and bath in the rear, leaving the front of the space open to be used as a work area. Most of the building materials came from local lumber yard Sunrise Lumber, Lowe’s and Ikea. Hernco chose a porcelain tub, farmhouse sink and subway tiles in keeping with the early 20th century feel. The bathtub came from Vintage Tub & Bath online. The kitchen cabinets are from Sunset Park’s Modern Building Supply. Mason and chimney expert Manuel LaSalle installed the salvage mantel and got the fireplace in working order. Ruben Flooring Co. put in wood flooring. Family operated Hernco owns more than 20 properties in Sunset Park, including mixed-use buildings, multi-family brownstones and apartment buildings. Check out more photos after the jump. (more…)