City pledges $20M for Brooklyn Navy Yard incubator

50K sf facility to include office, research lab and programming spaces

A biotechnology incubator is headed for the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

Mayor Eric Adams announced wide-ranging development plans in his second State of the City address this week, including a $20 million pledge for the development of a 50,000-square-foot incubator. The City first reported the plans.

Expected to open in the next few years, the facility will include office, research lab and programming spaces for biotech companies and startups.

Partners in the project include the city’s Economic Development Corporation, Empire State Development, the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, the Partnership Fund for New York City and Newlab. The city funding comes from the $1 billion committed to the LifeSci NYC initiative started under Bill de Blasio.

The EDC released a request for expressions of interest for the project in conjunction with the mayor’s address on Thursday. It is expected to choose an organization to lead the project later this year.

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Life sciences has been the focus of a major push in the city in recent years as the sector’s real estate market boomed, giving way to the Alexandria Center, a 550,000-square-foot life science campus on Manhattan’s East Side.

Despite a banner year for life sciences leasing in 2021, the city still lags behind San Francisco and Boston in terms of demand for space in the sector. Partnership Fund for New York City president Maria Gotsch told the New York Business Journal last year it was critical for the city to bolster its pipeline.

The Brooklyn Navy Yard has been slow to secure office tenants. Design firm Huge last summer inked a 71,000-square-foot lease at Dock 72, a co-development between Rudin Management and Boston Properties. The agreement came months after Vice Media backed off plans to relocate to 675,000 square feet at Dock 72, choosing to remain in Williamsburg instead.

Dock 72 opened in October 2019 as the first ground-up office building constructed in more than a decade in Brooklyn. WeWork leases roughly a third of the building and provides programming to other tenants.

— Holden Walter-Warner