Brooklyn Boro

Andrew Kimball, longtime Industry City CEO, named CEO of the EDC

February 23, 2022 Jaime DeJesus,
Industry City CEO Andrew Kimball in the Innovation Lab. Photo by Andy Katz
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Andrew Kimball, longtime CEO of Industry City, was named CEO of the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) by Mayor Eric Adams on Wednesday. Kimball also was a former president and CEO of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corp. before his tenure with Industry City.

At NYCEDC, Kimball will be responsible for delivering on the mayor’s economic development vision; creating good jobs in burgeoning fields, such as cybersecurity and life sciences; and creatively using the city’s assets to promote equitable growth.

“New York City has everything we need to recover from the pandemic-induced economic downturn and to build a truly vibrant, inclusive, economic future — an unmatched spirit, an invaluable workforce, and now, a vision that can and will become a reality,” said Kimball. “I am grateful for the opportunity to work with Mayor Adams, Deputy Mayor [Maria] Torres Springer, and all in both the public and private sectors who share that vision of New York City.”

In December 2021, Industry City reported that it has leased 800,000 square feet of space — office, light manufacturing, studio and retail — since March 2020, the pandemic’s local low point.

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Deals with new tenants brought the complex to being more than 80 percent leased. Recent and new arrivals include 60,000 square feet for Porsche and Volvo, with showrooms as well as service centers; West Elm, the furniture and home-décor chain, which added a 10,000-square-foot retail store; and production company The Garage, which specializes in commercials for brands such as Coca-Cola, Hershey’s and Cadillac.

Industry City. Photo: Paul Frangipane/Brooklyn Eagle

“It’s truly astonishing,” Kimball said at the time. “Of 4 million square feet we’ve leased since 2013, the 800,000 in the past 18 months are the most we did in any 18-month period. And this was during the global pandemic.”

He attributed this success partly to $450 million that the complex has invested in new infrastructure for the historic, century-old buildings at the site, a former shipping and heavy-manufacturing center. Among these improvements was the creation of five acres of open-air public space.

One well-publicized effort for Kimball in Industry City was the attempt at a rezoning plan that included $1 billion in private investment and expansion to 6.6 million square feet of rental space, with the promise of creating 20,000 jobs and a technical high school.

It was withdrawn in 2020 in the wake of political opposition, especially from then-Councilmember Carlos Menchaca and U.S. Rep. Nydia Velázquez.

“There wasn’t a citywide focus on the need for this kind of project right now, which is disappointing,” he said in 2020 after the plan was withdrawn.

Kimball was originally named CEO of Industry City in 2013. During his tenure, he touted significant growth in jobs and business.

In 2019, he told this paper that back in 2013, “We had about 1,900 jobs, and now we’re at about 7,500. That’s the equivalent of 100 jobs a month, and that continued through the last year.”

Some of the jobs have come from businesses that have relocated to Industry City and continued to grow, while others are created by start-up businesses that are hiring.

A key to the job growth, said Kimball, was Industry City’s Innovation Lab. “What we’ve tried to do through [it] is create a community portal and physical space in Industry City where people from the neighborhood who are looking for jobs can come,” he said.

Al Wiltshire, former president and board member at the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, was pleased that Kimball will be leading the EDC.

“For years Andrew has worked tirelessly to foster the development of meaningful relationships, which have provided countless opportunities for workforce development in the communities he has been devoted to,” he said.

CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez highlighted Kimball’s economic development and area revitalization.

“The meaningful collaborations he forged with the University — as CEO of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation and Industry City, respectively — have benefited our students and their communities immensely,” he said.

“These include employment opportunities for CUNY students with Brooklyn Navy Yard-affiliated companies; the unparalleled location of Brooklyn College’s Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema on the Steiner Studios film lot in the Navy Yard; and the Innovation Lab at Industry City, which provides career training and job placement services and includes New York City College of Technology as a founding partner,” Rodriguez added.

“Andrew recognized early on that film and TV production could be a huge economic driver for New York and serve as the catalyst for putting the Brooklyn Navy Yard on the map,” added Doug Steiner, chairman of Steiner Studios. “He knows his way around city government, and because he’s well-liked and respected, he knows how to ‘Get Stuff Done.’ The same way he transformed the Navy Yard, he then did in the private sector at Industry City.”

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