Wheels turning and tech firms churning at the Brooklyn Navy Yard

Industry in the city
By Brendan O’Connor | January 02, 2015 01:00PM

Rendering of the Brooklyn Navy Yard

In the past few years, the Brooklyn Navy Yard has quietly become one of the busiest places in an increasingly busy borough. It is now home to tenants ranging from traditional manufacturers like Sweet’N Low to the Kings County (whiskey) Distillery, and from film producer Steiner Studios, to the Brooklyn Grange rooftop farm. “Having that diversity of manufacturing, design, [and] artists is important to us as a real estate holding, but also because that’s why people live in New York,” said David Ehrenberg, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation. But Ehrenberg is interested in more than simply appealing to the artisanal class. “The most important thing for our mission is jobs,” he said. “At the core, we are an industrial park.” The goal is for businesses in the city-owned Navy Yard to provide quality jobs for New Yorkers with a range of education levels. “What we try to do as a mission-driven, not-for-profit is to create, for manufacturing and industrial companies, a stable place to do business,” he said, one that is “not as exposed to real-estate pressures.” The problem with this Utopian vision? “We can’t keep up with demand of our existing tenants as they grow, much less accommodate new tenants,” Ehrenberg said. Right now, the goal is to bring as much space online as possible, as quickly as possible. “There’s a ‘By the Numbers’ for you,” he said. “Zero: square feet available to rent at the Navy Yard.”

3.5 million

Total leasable space, in square feet, currently online at the Navy Yard. About 20 of the Yard’s 300 acres remain undeveloped.


Square footage of the soon-to-be-completed Green Manufacturing Center, the site of a former machine shop building. The $55 million center has drawn $18 million in grants.


Number of people currently employed by the Navy Yard’s 330 tenants, one-tenth of the peak employment during World War II. The number of jobs is expected to increase to 14,000 in the next five years. At its low point in the 1970s, it employed about 700 people.


Square footage in the Green Manufacturing Center dedicated to the New Lab, a high-tech design and prototyping center created by real-estate developer Macro Sea. New Lab includes 12 companies, including one (of the two in the Navy Yard) working on technology to be used in outer space.

$140 million

 Total city investment into the renovation of the 1-million-square-foot Building 77. The building represents one-quarter of the Navy Yard’s total building stock.


Number of requests for proposals issued by the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corp. to redevelop the once-grand Navy Yard’s Admiral Row, which deteriorated into a mess of moldering townhouses. The project will cost an estimated $120 million.


Square footage of Building 77 to be leased to Jack Basch, CEO of Shiel Medical Laboratory, the Navy Yard’s top job creator with more than 630 workers. There are more than 100 companies on the waiting list trying to expand or ink a lease there.


Asking price, per square foot, for Building 77’s penthouse floor. Lower floor rent is expected in the $20 per–foot range, but city and state incentives could trim that to $18.


Number of leases renewed at the Navy Yard since the beginning of last year. About 70 percent of the Yard’s tenant base has been there for more than a decade.


Rent per square foot — about a third the going rate — paid by Capsys, a modular apartment manufacturer in danger of losing its lease. Capsys has operated at the Yard for 18 years and has 70 unionized employees.

13 million

Pounds of recycled glass used by Yard tenant countertop manufacturer IceStone, since its start in 2003. NYC recycles about 490,000 pounds of glass each day.


Number of people the Navy Yard’s Employment Center has helped find jobs since opening in 2011. Seventy percent are Brooklyn residents.