Real estate partnership chosen for Governors Island climate hub

Buttermilk Labs partnership planning facility at historic schoolhouse site

Building 301 on Governors Island and Trust for Governors Island CEO Clare Newman (Gov Island)
Building 301 on Governors Island and Trust for Governors Island CEO Clare Newman (Gov Island)

New York City’s work against climate change could have a new center of power at Governors Island, where a partnership of real estate and consulting companies is set to open a research and training facility.

The Trust for Governors Island on Monday announced the arrival of Buttermilk Labs to Building 301. The partnership is set to redevelop the 23,000-square-foot building for use with projects related to environmental sustainability and climate change, according to Crain’s.

Buttermilk Labs includes real estate firm North River Company, developer BJH Advisors and climate consulting firm Barretto Bay Strategies. The partnership won the $15.4 million project through an RFP process and is signing a 55-year ground lease for the former schoolhouse.

The value of the ground lease is unclear.

The development will include 10,000 square feet of office space and 2,000 square feet of event space. The city is partially footing the bill for the project, contributing $4 million in funding, and another $2.5 million is coming from the state agency Empire State Development.

“This project will support New York City’s leadership in climate policy and green jobs while restoring one of Governors Island’s most treasured historic structures,” said Clare Newman, the Trust for Governors Island CEO.

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Barretto Bay and Greenwood Strategies will serve as anchors for the project, opening venture space for startups centered on renewable energy research, low-carbon economies and climate change engineering. Several firms have expressed interest, Crain’s noted, including Duro UAS, Rebuild by Design and the Waterfront Alliance.

The development is expected to be completed in early 2024 and create at least 150 jobs.

The Trust for Governors Island last year unveiled a wide-ranging plan for a massive hub dedicated to the fight against climate change. The proposal included the development of office space, hotels and dormitories, but did not specify a construction timeline.

The South Island permits a hub up to 3.775 million square feet.

[Crain’s] — Holden Walter-Warner

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