Brooklyn warehouses avoid residential fate

TRD New York /
Aug.August 08, 2012 01:30 PM

Nearly all of Brooklyn’s large manufacturers have left the borough, chasing locations with less regulation, and cheaper labor and real estate. Sometimes, the massive warehouses and factories they leave behind are renovated into luxury apartments, as will be the case at the former Domino Sugar factory. But, according to the New York Times, there is a flowering niche manufacturing industry in Brooklyn that is keeping some of these forgotten buildings in their original industrial state.

The scale of the manufacturing in Brooklyn’s industrial buildings has become smaller and more specialized. One building, at 1205 Manhattan Avenue in Greenpoint, has been divided into more than a dozen micro-factories, producing everything from specialty metal and wood pieces to artisanal glass.

The small scale gives entrepreneurs an affordable alternative to outsourcing their product’s manufacture, keeping production costs low. “We think this is the future of urban manufacturing,” Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center CEO Brian Coleman, said. “There is a highly skilled work force making products for local consumption.”

However these tiny factories are not employing anywhere near the number of New Yorkers the traditional factories employed. In 2011 Brooklyn businesses averaged 11.2 workers per business in 2011. The average in 2000 was 16.8 workers. [NYT] — Christopher Cameron


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