07/28/14 9:00am

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The push to redevelop Sunset Park’s waterfront industrial spaces into a thriving manufacturing center for artisanal goods along the lines of the Navy Yard continues. The de Blasio administration has pledged to invest $100,000,000 into making over 500,000 square feet of the city-owned Brooklyn Army Terminal, pictured above, The Wall Street Journal reported. (more…)

07/15/14 11:30am

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Not a single biotech firm has taken space in the BioBAT biotech facility conceived eight years ago in part of the Brooklyn Army Terminal, although one company is reportedly close to signing a contract. The Sunset Park facility houses two other biotech firms, although not in the BioBAT space specifically created for biotech firms, according to a story in The Wall Street Journal. (more…)

07/14/14 10:45am

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“Lander’s whole process was rigged to create a forced consensus to give the developers a green light to go forward,” said an 11-year resident of Gowanus at the Take Back Gowanus meeting Wednesday, referring to Councilman Brad Lander’s series of public meetings earlier this year.

Proposals from speakers at the meeting were wide ranging. Some mentioned in a story in the Brooklyn Eagle:

*An end to residential development on the banks of the canal.
*Designating the first few floors of any new residential building as manufacturing.
*Upgrading infrastructure, whether tied to new development or not.

Some of the proposals aimed to reform the political process: (more…)

07/08/14 9:30am

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A surprising group of allies, in particular housing advocates, are urging Mayor de Blasio not to turn the city’s protected industrial zones — including hotspots in Gowanus, above, Williamsburg and Bushwick — into housing. There has been a tug of war over these areas for years, particularly in areas such as Bushwick and Williamsburg where illegal loft dwellings are common, and in Gowanus, over new developments in industrial areas. (more…)

06/30/14 12:01pm

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This weekend we caught the Kara Walker exhibit in the otherwise empty landmarked Domino factory in Williamsburg — already an active construction site, according to the waiver we had to sign to get into the free exhibit. The room smelled of molasses. The show will be up through July 6. Has anyone else checked it out? Click through to the jump for lots of photos. (more…)

02/26/14 9:30am

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.

The 28,000-square-foot property is currently home to a knitwear manufacturer called Rags Knitwear. Other Brookland Capital projects include 531 Vanderbilt Avenue, 735-737 Bergen Street, 691 Marcy Avenue and 1255 Bushwick Avenue, among others.

Got Milk? Brookland to Build 36-Unit Condo in East Williamsburg [TRD] GMAP

01/21/14 11:30am

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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.

Is it possible to do both, do you think?

Artists Battle Rent Increases [WSJ]
Deputy Beep wants jobs over housing [Brooklyn Paper]
Photo of 14 Verona Street by Eugene Ilyayev for PropertyShark

01/17/14 9:00am

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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]

11/06/13 2:00pm

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.

What I Have Learned From Kickstarter [AVC] GMAP
Kickstarter Is Moving to Landmarked Factory in Greenpoint [Brownstoner]
Leaving the Ruin at Kickstarter HQ [Brownstoner]
Conversion Plans in a Greenpoint Historic District [Brownstoner]
Photo by nycscout

11/06/13 9:30am

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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.

Film, Food and Artisanal Businesses Quietly Thriving in Gowanus [DNAinfo]
Photo by quiggyt4

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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.

City Planning Commission Approves Massive Rental Project in Bushwick [NY Daily News]
Controversial Bushwick Rezoning Approved by City Planning Commission [DNAinfo]
Closing Bell: City Planning Met on Rezoning of Rheingold Brewery Site [Brownstoner]
Rendering from Read Property via New York Daily News (more…)