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Kaboom! $80M ammo depot rehab fuels explosive Navy Yard growth

An aerail view of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, taken from the ORO condominium. Eagle file photo

Brooklyn Daily Eagle

The Brooklyn Navy Yard on Wednesday announced that a 1 million-square-foot warehouse building will be renovated to the tune of $80 million.

Known as Building 77, the 16-story former ammunition depot will be transformed into a modern, sustainable hub for manufacturing and technology innovation, anchoring the new Brooklyn Technology Triangle.  

The reuse of the building will result in the creation of up to 1,500 new jobs at the Navy Yard over the next five years.
 
To launch the redevelopment of Building 77 – which contains approximately 25 percent of Brooklyn Navy Yard’s built space – Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation (BNYDC) will lease 240,000 square feet to Jack Basch, a Brooklyn-based developer and entrepreneur.  

Basch is the owner and CEO of Shiel Medical Laboratories, the Navy Yard’s fastest-growing business and job creator, which will occupy at least one floor.

“A redevelopment of this magnitude being funded 100 percent with private sector money is proof positive that the innovation economy in Brooklyn is thriving,” said Alan Fishman, chairman of the board of directors of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation.

In addition, Shiel will receive up to $2.8 million in Excelsior tax credits from Empire State Development (ESD) should its workforce grow from 450 permanent jobs to 750 over the next five years.  Shiel has several hundred part-time workers.

In keeping with the Navy Yard’s commitment to sustainability, Building 77 will be built to LEED Silver standards.  Construction is set to begin in the Spring 2013 and will be completed in 18 months.

In a separate development, a report issued earlier this week by the Pratt Center for Community Development, a research and advocacy arm at Pratt Institute, identified successful strategies implemented at New York City’s Brooklyn Navy Yard as a model for economic development in other U.S. cities.

The report highlights “best practices” that transformed the declining 300-acre Navy Yard into one of the country’s fastest-growing green manufacturing centers.

In 2011, the Navy Yard had an overall economic impact of $2 billion on the local economy, sustained 10,000 jobs, and had $350 million in earnings. This is a staggering improvement from 10 years ago, when the Navy Yard had an estimated economic impact of  $516 million, sustained 2,700 jobs and had approximately $100 million in earnings.

The report findings are based on a two-year study by the Pratt Center, “Brooklyn Navy Yard: An Analysis of its Economic Impact and Opportunities for Replication.”

Pratt Center surveyed 187 Navy Yard tenants to calculate direct, indirect, and induced impacts. The report documented key elements of the Navy Yard’s success:

* New York City’s strategy of retaining ownership of the Navy Yard after its purchase from the federal government in 1969;

*  Creating a mission-driven, nonprofit organization to provide on-site leadership and management; and

*  Investing a total of $250 million in city capital funds in the Navy Yard’s infrastructure since 1996.

Executive Director of Pratt Center Adam Friedman, who serves on the board of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation said, “Fifteen years ago the Navy Yard was in a state of disrepair. Pratt Center documented its turnaround, so that cities could replicate the successes of this model and rebuild their local economies.”

“Pratt Center’s study has demonstrated that under the right conditions a new and sustainable kind of manufacturing can thrive in dense urban areas. The Brooklyn Navy Yard is proud to become a national model. Support from the public sector has been critical to leveraging enormous private investment in manufacturing facilities,” said Andrew Kimball, CEO of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation.

Pratt Center’s report calls for new financing tools to support nonprofit industrial developers, similar to the Navy Yard Development Corporation. These approaches include the establishment of an Industrial Development Fund and the reformation of the current Industrial Revenue Bond to help developers acquire land and renovate older industrial buildings to appeal to today’s modern urban manufacturer.

March 6, 2013 - 2:20pm


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