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Brooklyn plays big role in NYC initiative to grow advanced manufacturing jobs

March 4, 2016 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
New York City Economic Development Corporation will invest $13 million to build a new Advanced Manufacturing Center at the Brooklyn Army Terminal as part of a $150 million initiative to boost advanced manufacturing jobs in New York City. Photo courtesy of the Brooklyn Army Terminal

Brooklyn is looking like a winner in a new initiative to grow industrial and advanced manufacturing jobs in New York City.

The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) on Friday announced the launch of a $150 million fund to provide financing for industrial real estate development projects in New York City.

The public/private NYC Industrial Developer Fund is designed to jumpstart investment in 400,000 square feet of new or renovated industrial real estate workspace across the city.  The goal is to create as many as 1,200 “quality and accessible” industrial jobs by 2020, the city said.

In a related initiative called Futureworks NYC, the city will invest up to $13 million to build a new Advanced Manufacturing Center at the Brooklyn Army Terminal and to offer a network of services such as access to prototyping, fabrication and production equipment.

The Advanced Manufacturing Center will provide as much as 40,000 square feet of shared workspaces and equipment, such as 3D printers and robotics, for new entrepreneurs and established manufacturers.

The city is aiming to create a manufacturing cluster around these services. NYCEDC has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) seeking organizations to submit their ideas for supporting this cluster.

NYCEDC also announced the six winners of the Futureworks NYC Growth Initiative, each of which will receive $30,000 of funding over a two-year period to finance their growth in the advanced manufacturing space.

Four of these winners are based in Brooklyn.

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These are Adam Frank Inc., located in Carroll Gardens; Poursteady, in Gowanus; The Crated, Inc., based in Bedford-Stuyvesant; and Pensa, located in DUMBO. The two other winning companies, Bot Factory and Sun House, are located in Long Island City.

Adam Frank manufactures devices that manipulate light and shadows for home décor and high-tech artistic installations. Poursteady makes automated pour-over coffee machines that allow one barista to make five cups of coffee simultaneously. The Crated creates wearable technology. Pensa designs high-tech devices such as a desktop wire bender, a wireless “Gotenna” for locations with no cell service, a luxury razor, and sleek cooking tools. Bot Factory manufactures devices for desktop electronic circuit fabrication; Sun House is a music tech company.

The initiative includes a number of other manufacturing boosts, such as expanding the Brownfield Jumpstart Program and establishing career centers.

The twin programs stem from Mayor Bill de Blasio and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito’s plan to modernize the city’s industrial policy, according to the NYCEDC. The City Council has advocated for industrial jobs as “Engines of Opportunity” to grow middle class employment.

“Manufacturing isn’t just our past, it’s our future,” de Blasio said in a statement. “Clean, modern, hi-tech manufacturing is creating thousands of good jobs across this city.”

“Industrial and manufacturing jobs have long been the backbone that has helped New York City’s economy stand tall, and I am pleased that EDC is committing the financial and logistical resources to make this sector stronger in the years ahead,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.

Adams added that Brooklyn was “leading the nation in innovation.”

The initiative received praise from a number of Councilmembers, including Brad Lander, Stephen Levin and Carlos Menchaca, who represent districts from Red Hook to DUMBO.

The NYC Industrial Developer Fund includes approximately $60 million in public funds, leveraging $90 million in private financing. 

The council seeks to reinvigorate the city’s manufacturing zones by increasing land use protections of core industrial areas, creating new mixed-use zoning tools, and supporting nonprofit industrial developers, according to the NYCEDC.

As part of this protection, the city will limit new tourist hotels and personal mini-storage facilities in core industrial areas.

Residents of other formerly industrial neighborhoods, such as Williamsburg, have complained for years that rezoning brought a proliferation of hotels.

The city will invest a total of $442 million in city-owned industrial properties as part of the 10-Year Capital Plan.

 

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