Brooklyn Navy Yard Unveils $2.5 Billion Expansion Plan

John Jordan | February 2018

An aerial photo of the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

NEW YORK—The Brooklyn Navy Yard announced on Jan. 31st ambitious plans to significantly grow manufacturing operations at the complex that would add 10,000 new middle-class jobs there.

The plan, valued at $2.5 billion, would increase employment at the Brooklyn Navy Yard to 30,000 workers.

The plan is the culmination of a two-year process that examined what industries are growing across the five boroughs, what industries are compatible with the city’s vision for the future, what industries create high-quality, accessible jobs and what these industries need to sustain their growth.

“This plan is the transformative next step in the decades-long investment by the Brooklyn Navy Yard to grow New York City’s manufacturing sector,” said David Ehrenberg, president of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corp. “We are at the start of a multi-generational period of growth that in the years ahead will return employment at the Yard to its highest levels since the 1940s while fueling a continued surge of manufacturing across the city.”

The plan will add 5 million square feet of space, with at least 75% dedicated to both traditional and advanced manufacturers representing industries including food, apparel, tech, home goods and construction. The remaining space will accommodate complementary businesses in the creative, technology and innovation sectors, the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corp. stated.

Development is expected to begin following the completion of the $1-billion expansion already underway that is increasing employment at the Brooklyn Navy Yard from 7,000 to 17,000-20,000 by 2020 and adding more than two million square feet of space. The current initiative is thought to be the largest expansion of manufacturing in New York City in more than a century. Together, the two phases of growth will more than double the usable space at the complex.

With BNY having rehabbed and renovated all major existing space—culminating in 2017 with the $180 million rehabilitation of the one-million-square-foot Building 77, which opened more than 80% leased—the new plan will create a national model for how to build new vertical manufacturing facilities in dense urban environments. The new plan will focus on ground-up development at three sites within the Brooklyn Navy Yard: Kent Avenue (approximately 13 acres), Flushing Avenue (approximately 6.5 acres) and Navy Street (approximately 5.0 acres).

Each site will be transformed through innovative urban design into a number of integrated, efficient, state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities that provide platforms for manufacturers to start, relocate and grow their businesses, while creating points of connection for tenants to collaborate and integrating the local community.

An extension of BNYDC’s mission, the planned growth is focused on providing current and potential tenants the tools necessary to grow their business. This includes connecting tenants and members of the community with the Yard’s onsite Employment Center, providing training and support to help businesses grow, enhancing accessibility and introducing new amenities designed to support and sustain businesses.

In November, the Brooklyn Navy Yard reported that Transmitter Brewing signed a 8,165-square-foot lease at Building 77. In early 2017, a 68,000-square-foot lease deal with local fashion brand Lafayette 148 was announced. Other reported tenants at the building include Abby Lichtman, Sebastian Kim, Crye Precision, Justin Paul, Catbird Jewelry, Accurate Knitting, Hip Hop Closet and Pen + Pistol.

The building will also include a 60,000-square-foot public Food Manufacturing Hub on the ground floor that will be anchored by Russ & Daughters.

Boston Properties and Rudin Management are co-developing Dock 72, a 675,000-square-foot building that will feature WeWork as its anchor tenant when it opens later this year. The $375-million project is expected to bring 4,000 jobs to the Navy Yard.

In addition, Steiner NYC is leading the Admiral’s Row redevelopment that will be anchored by a 74,000-square-foot Wegman’s. The project is slated to feature 78,000 square feet of retail space, 126,000 square feet of light industrial space and 7,000 square feet of community space. Steiner Studios is also working on an expansion project involving 180,000 square feet of sound stages that will support 1,000 jobs at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

The Brooklyn Navy Yard is now home to more than 400 businesses. The complex leased 440,000 square feet in 2017, representing 1,000 jobs. The Yard has remained at near full-occupancy for years with a waiting list of businesses looking for space, the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corp. noted.

John Jordan
Editor, Real Estate In-Depth