Brooklyn Boro

Brooklyn scores more than $15 million in regional economic development awards

Beneficiaries range from Brooklyn Bridge Park to St. Nicks Alliance

December 22, 2016 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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Brooklyn institutions and companies will be receiving more that $15 million from the state in competitive grants awarded by the New York City area Regional Economic Development Council (REDC).

The money will fund projects that reflect exciting new developments in Brooklyn — from tech startups to an ice skating rink along the East River waterfront — along with repairs to historical institutions and neighborhood upgrades.

Award winners include Steiner Studios, 1776 Global Inc., Brooklyn Bridge Park, the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Click Therapeutics, Medgar Evers College, the Brooklyn Industrial Development Center, NYU, the Reformed Protestant Dutch Church of Flatbush and many more.

The awards range in size from $25,000, awarded to Smack Mellon Studios in DUMBO, to Medgar Evers College, which will receive a total of $1.5 million through three grants.

The REDC funds are meant to create jobs and stimulate the economy “from the ground up,” according to a release from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office. The 10 regional councils are public-private partnerships made up of local stakeholders from business, academia, local government and non-governmental organizations.

In Brooklyn, these representatives include state Sen. Martin Golden; Monique Greenwood, CEO of Akwaabe Bed & Breakfast Inns; Steve Hindy, chairman of Brooklyn Brewery; Carlo Scissura, former president of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce; and Douglas Steiner, chairman of Steiner Studios.

Across New York City, 121 projects were awarded $80.2 million (Click here to learn more.).

Some highlights

  • Brooklyn Bridge Park will use its $1,240,000, awarded via two grants, to fund electrical services for an ice skating rink in the park’s final section, Brooklyn Bridge Plaza.
  • The Brooklyn Navy Yard will use a $1 million grant to help put together a shuttle system to help people commute to work at the site.
  • The Prospect Park Alliance will use its grant of $394,473 to fund a pilot program aimed at eradicating toxic algae blooms in its lake. The algae impact the ecological health of the entire park and deny access to the lake. The project will study reducing phosphorus loading in the lake through an unusual technology.
  • The 1796 Reformed Protestant Dutch Church of Flatbush will use a $500,000 grant to restore the oldest building within their complex. The church was designed by architect and master builder Thomas Fardon and is an “extremely rare example” of Federal-style architecture in NYC.
  • 1776 Global, a Washington, D.C.-based tech incubator, plans to use its $1 million grant to help build a co-working space for startup companies and a venue for training, mentoring and public programming.
  • Brooklyn Botanic Garden will use its $500,000 award to help create “a new feature for the Garden,” which it says will draw more attendees, a new location for education classes and new handicap-accessible routes.
  • The Brooklyn Historical Society will use its grant of $176,283 towards an educational exhibition that will be housed in a new satellite museum in the Empire Stores complex on the Brooklyn waterfront.
  • Medgar Evers College will put its $1.5 million towards its STARTUP NY site. The college is renting space at the Brooklyn Navy Yard to accommodate three startups — Selfiepay, Tuki and Derbywire.
  • Evergreen, a nonprofit local development organization, will use its $1 million grant to help develop the North Brooklyn Industrial Center 5 at 180 Morgan Ave. in East Williamsburg. The project will provide workspace for small Brooklyn manufacturers in the areas of specialty woodworking, specialty metalworking and food production.
  • NYU will put a $1 million grant towards rehabbing its eSTEAM Commons Building in Downtown Brooklyn that will become a hub of schools focused on applied science, education and research. (NYU’s business incubator will also receive $125,000.)
  • Steiner Studios will receive a $1 million grant to renovate two historic buildings to accommodate academic partners and media companies, as well as construct a parking facility.
  • St. Nicks Alliance will be awarded two grants totaling $100,000, which will be used towards Skilled Build, an employer-linked skills training program for low-income residents leading to entry-level construction jobs in large-scale development projects.
  • The Pitkin Avenue District Management Association will use its grant of $250,000 to assist in the restoration of storefronts, interior commercial spaces and apartments on Pitkin Avenue in Brownsville.
  • UrbanFarmers, a Swiss-based rooftop aquaponics developer and operator, will build an aquaponics and hydroponics greenhouse on rooftop space at the Brooklyn Army Terminal using its grant of $375,000.
  • The Brooklyn International AIDS Vaccine Initiative will receive $200,000 to upgrade its equipment in a SUNY Downstate Biotech Incubator facility. Downstate’s Biotech Incubator will also receive $125,000.
  • Voodoo Manufacturing will use a $200,000 grant to expand its 3D printing factory.


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