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June 13, 2008


In case you're not familiar with us, we're the "People Magazine" of local business, with eight newsletters in DC, and now starting in NYC. Send us your story suggestions!


Everyone knows the Brooklyn Navy Yard, a 300 acre waterfront shipyard dating from 1801 where WWII era battleships like the Missouri were built. Decommissioned by the Navy in 1966, NYC bought it for $24M to create an enterprise zone, which finally got going in the 90s to the point where it today its 4M SF house 230 businesses employing 5000. Now high-energy CEO Andrew Kimball, who took over in 2005, has put in on a trajectory to grow by 40% and 1.8M SF in the next three years. We talked with him yesterday about the plan.


Here's a map of the Yard's 40 buildings, 4 dry docks and 5 piers. Andrew's got a lot going on: He recently opened up competitive bidding for the first time to developers for a 135k SF admin building for the NYPD on Sands St that's currently its tow lot. He also sees completion this month of a 90k SF Steven Kratchman-designed building on Perry St to be used by Surround Art, which restores fine arts and whose clients include MOMA and the Smithsonian. He's dredging a bay to create 4 more acres of developable land on Kent Avenue. And he's overseeing big changes for two major tenants: B&H Photo and Steiner film studios, each of which has a $50M expansion underway. Do you know that Steiner is the largest film and TV complex outside Hollywood? Andrew's favorite movie shot there: Spike Lee's The Inside Man.


Andrew was previously ops director for the NYC 2012 Olympic bid and got to know Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff, which helped lead to his appointment. The Yard is home to electronics distributors, architectural designers, jewelers, and even 50 different  furniture manufacturers, many of whom have less than 5k SF and produce high end products from lamp shades, beds, and chairs, to fancy spiral metal staircases. Duggal Visual Solutions, which makes posters for Abercrombie & Fitch, is adding 30k SF; another growing tenant is Agger Fish, high end supplier to restaurants. Andrew wants to rebrand the Navy Yard as a "sustainable industrial park," with all new buildings required to be LEED; and upgraded roads, sewers, and waterline systems, solar powered trash compactors, and new landscaping to deal with storm water runoff.


Since 2006, Mayor Bloomberg (who visited most recently in November) has directed $200M of the city's capital budget to fix the Yard and preserve its history. Dry Dock One, a Civil War landmark Andrew's pointing at above, has been kept up to continue repairing ships the size of the Empire State building on its side. A nearby pier that was sinking into Wallabout Bay has been resurrected. And the PayMaster building (where over 70,000 shipyard employees once picked up their checks) is getting its windows de-cemented so it can again be occupied. Andrew says he operates by the "if we build it, they will come" philosophy. What's driving the market? He thinks the growth of the city from 8-9 million, and demand for industrial users to be near their end users. Not to mention that space is going for $20 or so a foot in the Yard and 25-50% more in what's left of industrial space in lower Manhattan (yet you can get to the city via either the Manhattan or Brooklyn bridges in 10 minutes). He says the Yard still has 40 acres of developable land, and by end of year hopes to roll out announcements. Until then, it'll be a busy summer except for a few days when he takes his kids up to northern Vermont and play as much tennis as he can.

Arent Fox
Leo A Daly
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